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Sushi: Healthy and Tasty

The start of a new year usually brings plenty of “get fit” resolutions, new gym memberships and unsavory diet food. However, eating healthy does not mean sacrificing tasty food. As more people are trying to eat nutritiously, sushi is becoming a more popular choice. Rich in omega-3 fatty acid and often low in calories, sushi can be both wholesome and delicious.

The sushi that we have become accustomed to in the states is like a distant cousin to the original sushi of China and Japan. The creation of sushi started out with the practical purpose of preserving fish with salt and rice. But, around the mid-19th century, Japanese sushi became a fast food item that people could easily hold while on the go. This was the first time that vinegar was used in the rice and created so that both the fish and rice are eaten simultaneously. The fish used was marinated in soy sauce, heavily salted, or cooked because there wasn’t a good way to store meat. But, the advent of refrigerators allowed for the raw fish in sushi and nigiri that we enjoy today in the 20th century.

So, sushi beginners, there is no need for anxiety when presented with a confusing menu at the local sushi bar. There are two different forms of sushi. The first is maki and temaki. Maki is the more popular, hand-rolled sushi with nori, or flattened seaweed, on the outside. The maki rolls usually have six to eight pieces to a roll, but this can vary. Temaki is also hand-rolled, but the nori is wrapped like a cone with a wide, open end.

The second type of sushi that can make beginners apprehensive is nigiri. The rice is formed into an oval shape and has a slice of fish positioned on the top. The fish is bound to the rice with a thin strip of nori. The most common types of nigiri are octopus, eel, crab, squid or sweet egg.

Health Benefits

Sushi is rich in protein and nutrients. The tofu, fish and vegetables used contain varying levels of nutritional value, but are all low calorie. Nori, or seaweed, is rich in essential nutrients like calcium, iodine, magnesium, and antioxidants.

Fish are naturally low in fat and what fat is in them is the Omega-3 unsaturated fat. Salmon, tuna and herring are especially high in this fatty acid. Omega-3 is beneficial for heart health and stroke prevention.

Avoid tempura rolls, like a crunchy shrimp roll, which can contain over 500 calories. Other additions to avoid are cream cheese and mayonnaise. An occasional treat of a tempura roll is perfectly alright, just like a dessert or side of fries.

Local Sushi Restaurants

Several sushi restaurants in Murfreesboro have perfected the art of sushi. Sumo Thai and Japanese Cuisine combines eastern and western flavors and styles. They offer 40 different types of maki rolls along with nigiri sushi.

A unique roll at Sumo is the sushi pizza. It contains smoked salmon, crab, tempura and scallions on a flattened bed of sushi rice and nori. And for the school spirited, the MTSU roll is also a favorite with salmon, avocado and cream cheese.

This restaurant is close to campus so one can go in between classes to grab a sushi combo lunch, or order food to go and take it back to the dorm.

Fulin’s Asian Cuisine has only been in Murfreesboro less than a year, but it is quickly becoming a popular sushi destination with signature rolls like the Honada, Volcano and American Dream. The Honada roll contains a unique pairing of spicy tuna that has a kick, with a sweet sauce that is a nice compliment to the heat.

A hidden gem in Murfreesboro is Sushin Japanese Restaurant. The shoji screens and oriental artwork create an authentic Japanese atmosphere while enjoying a Yummi Yummi roll or Murfreesboro roll.

So sticking to that resolution to get healthier can be easier than expected. Stick to vegetables and fish when it comes to sushi and make 2009 your healthiest year yet!

THE DISH

Sumo Thai and Japanese Cuisine

Location: 2053 Lascassas Pk.

Phone: 615-848-2999

Hours: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Prices: Sushi Pizza-$8.75; MTSU Roll $4.95

Fulin’s Asian Cuisine

Location: 2615 Medical Center Parkway in the Avenue

Phone:615-849-8868

Hours: 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. Sunday thru Thursday, closes at 11 p.m. Fri. and Sat.

Prices: Honada Roll $8.95; Volcano Roll $8.95

Sushin Japanese Restaurant

Location: 528 N. Thompson Ln.

Phone:615-895-7585

Hours: Mon. – Fri.; Lunch: 11 – 2 p.m.; Dinner: 5-10 p.m.; Sat. Lunch: 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.; Dinner 5-10 p.m. Sun. Lunch 12 – 3 p.m.; Dinner 4:30 – 9:30 p.m.

Prices: Yummi Yummi Roll, $7.50; Murfreesboro Roll, $7.50

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