Inside a Japanese sushi bar, a long train of plates passes before the eyes of customers. The elegant and colorful arrangements are a feast for the eyes, just as the sushi is a delight to the taste buds. While enjoying the wide variety of seafood creations, customers may wonder how this delicious treat ever came to be.
It took centuries of Japanese innovation to turn Asia’s staple foods，rice and fish，into Japan’s national cuisine. Prior to the days of refrigerators and sushi bars, fresh fish were wrapped in cooked rice and pressed between rocks insgroupsto ferment them. This process preserved the fish, but required many months and made the rice wrappings inedible.
Long waits and wasted rice were unacceptable to the Japanese, who began wrapping their fish in vinegar-soaked rice. Adding vinegar improved flavor and greatly reduced the time needed for fermentation. Best of all, the new process didn’t spoil the rice wrappings, which meant they could be eaten with the fish: Sushi was born!