Masuzushi: Toyama’s Trout Sushi Wrapped in Bamboo Leaves
Now, here in Japan we have the Buddhist festival called “Obon (お盆)”, during which it is believed that our ancestral spirits return home. So we usually go and visit our ancestors’ graves during the period Obon ranging from August 13 to 15.
Accordingly, when I went shopping at a supermarket near my house yesterday, a wider variety of foods than usual, like assorted dishes and Niigata’s neighboring prefectures’ specialties, were being sold.
Out of those, at that time, I grabbed this Toyama’s specialty sushi “Masuzushi (ます寿司)” for lunch. By the way, Toyama is one of the neighboring prefectures of Niigata where I live.
Masu-zushi (鱒寿司) or Masu no Sushi (鱒の寿司)
Masu-zushi, also called Masu no Sushi, is a kind of “Oshizushi (押し寿司: pressed sushi)”. As “Masu (鱒)” means trout in Japanese, the sushi consists of vinegared rice topped with a thin slice of vinegared trout sashimi.
Masuzushi Bento (鱒寿司弁当)
Generally, Masuzushi has a thin round shape, and is famous as a local “Ekiben (駅弁)” bento (boxed meal) of Toyama in Japan.
When you remove the wooden lid of the Masuzushi bento, as shown above, folded bamboo leaves appear.
Further, when you unfold the bamboo leaves, you can see the Toyama’s trout sushi is a single round piece of sushi wrapped in bamboo leaves.
Thus, before eating, we usually cut the sushi into bite-size pieces.
Seasoned mainly with vinegar, Masuzushi can be eaten as it is, and some Japanese people like to eat the trout sushi with soy sauce, like usual sushi.
Based on the ingredient list of the Masuzushi I bought this time, the Toyama’s regional specialty mainly consists of rice, trout, vinegar seasoning, salt, and amino acids.
Where to Buy
In Japan, Masuzushi is famous nationwide as a souvenir of Toyama, so it is widely available at train stations, supermarkets, convenience stores, and souvenir shops in the prefecture. It is also sold on trains locally.