What Is Kosher Sushi?

Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

When sushi adheres to Jewish food laws, it is known as kosher sushi. To qualify, the fish in the sushi must be prepared with kosher utensils. All of the ingredients must also be kosher. The fish used, for example, has to feature both scales and fins according to Jewish law.

Nigiri sushi assortment.
Nigiri sushi assortment.

Varieties of sushi that are considered kosher foods are widely available. Most favorite forms of sushi, such as tempura rolls, sushi rolls, and other combinations may be considered kosher. Red dragon rolls and caviar rolls may kosher products. Vegetarian rolls are typically kosher as well.

Kosher sushi.
Kosher sushi.

Spicy tuna rolls may adhere to the kosher diet. Popular California rolls are also often kosher sushi. The best way to discern whether sushi is kosher or not is to inquire with the maker or seller of the product. If he or she cannot confirm whether or not the product is kosher sushi, it may not be, and those who adhere to a kosher diet may wish to refrain from purchasing such foods. A rabbi may also be able to answer questions about kosher meals.

Kosher sushi.
Kosher sushi.

Many specific cafes, restaurants, and catering services advertise their kosher cooking styles. If a venue does not openly advertise kosher sushi and other products, one should inquire directly to ensure that the food is kosher. Some sushi products that can be ruled out as being non-kosher include shellfish, shrimp, and eel. Whether these products are prepared with kosher instruments or not is irrelevant, since the fish used are not kosher to begin with.

Hosomaki rolls underneath an uramaki roll.
Hosomaki rolls underneath an uramaki roll.

Several individual, non-fish products used in making sushi need to be kosher for the entire sushi to qualify as kosher as well. Soy sauce, ginger, and wasabi are some common sushi components that can easily be non-kosher. The nori sheets commonly used to prepare sushi can be problematic when ensuring sushi is kosher as well, due to the possibility of insects being found on the paper. Nori can also be flavored with non-kosher combinations, depending upon its manufacturing process. Some types of nori that are flavored with shrimp and cannot be kosher at all.

If one were to open a sushi bar, he or she should verify whether or not the products are made with kosher instruments and methods prior to purchasing them. Buying them from a Jewish provider with a positive reputation would likely be the simplest route for such verification. In order to ensure that kosher sushi is being prepared, he or she should also ensure that chefs on the line are familiar with kosher methods and cooking utensils.

Caviar may be used to make kosher varieties of sushi.
Caviar may be used to make kosher varieties of sushi.
Sara Schmidt
Sara Schmidt

A graduate of Southeast Missouri State University, Sara has a Master’s Degree in English, which she puts to use writing for wiseGEEK and several magazines, websites, and nonprofit organizations. She has published her own novella, and has other literary projects currently in progress. Sara’s varied interests have also led her to teach children in Spain, tutor college students, run CPR and first aid classes, and organize student retreats.

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discussion Comments

stoneMason

I love sushi but I have to have it kosher so I make it myself. I agree that this is the best thing to do for those who are strictly on a kosher diet.

It's too much of a hassle to try and find out how the sushi was prepared and what exactly is found in the ingredients. And many people do not know what kosher exactly means.

turquoise

@discographer-- I don't think that sushi is kosher unless it's specifically labeled as kosher and supervised by a Jewish authority. Kosher sushi may be available in places like New York City where there are many kosher restaurants. It can also be prepared at home so that it will be kosher. But if you eat at just any restaurant, it won't be kosher.

In order for a food to be kosher, not only do all of the ingredients need to be kosher but it must also be prepared without any contamination from non-kosher foods and kitchen tools. Although fish, rice and seaweed are naturally kosher, many sushi restaurants also prepare other sea creatures in their kitchen. Also if the rice, fish and seaweed are processed with additives, then they may not be kosher as well. Condiments may or may not be kosher depending on how they're prepared and the additives used.

discographer

So are most sushi made from fish with scales and fins at regular sushi restaurants kosher then? Is seaweed kosher? Can I eat them without worrying? And what about condiments like soy sauce, wasabi and ginger pickle?

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register: