Sasha Issenberg’s The Sushi Economy

Book Cover
Book Cover

Here’s an interesting book about globalisation – explained through the evolution of sushi (寿司), going from a local delicacy in Japan to become a worldwide dining phenomenon.

A generation ago, sushi had a narrow reach due to the nature of the cuisine which is entirely reliant on the freshness of the fish or seafood. This meant that fish caught locally had to be eaten locally. Sports fishermen who caught tuna in most parts of the world sold the meat for pennies as cat food.

Today, the fatty cuts of tuna known as toro are among the world’s most coveted luxury food, worth hundreds of dollars per kilogram and capable of losing value more quickly than any other product on earth, by the minutes, due to the perishable nature of the gourmet food item.

What made this possible was globalisation and the advent of modern transportation. There are now cargo planes with built-in fridge to specially fly tuna from one end of the world to the other, just to make sure you get your toro sushi served fresh, with tuna caught from the ocean just a day or even hours before.

The Sushi Economy is a riveting combination of culinary biography, behind-the-scene restaurant detail and a unique exploration of globalisation’s dynamics. A must-read for sushi fans. 🙂

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