What we, in the West, consider sushi was invented in Tokyo in the beginning of the 19th century. The Dirt provides the story, as told by professor Jordan Sand, Georgetown University, at the recent Food & The City symposium at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C.:
"With the need for "fast food," usually eaten on the run by Samurai and their short-term mates out on the town, new variations of sushi came into being. To fit the need, "restauranteurs first made street food fancy and then they made it fast," said Sand. By the 1820s, these early innovators stopped the pickling process and Nigirizushi (or sushi as we know it in the West) became a "hit" among the Samurai and commoners alike. What made sushi interesting, and perhaps transgressive, was that it combined elite foods of the Samurai and street foods of the common classes, creating a new form."
The story doesn't end there. Read on for more about the food's impact on the built and natural environments.