Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Is onigiri the same thing as sushi?
Though they may seem similar, onigiri is not the same thing as sushi. Onigiri is made with plain or lightly salted rice, while sushi rice is seasoned with a special formula of vinegar, sugar, and salt. Also, sushi often includes raw fish, but if onigiri has a seafood or meat filling, it will be cooked (e.g. kara-age fried chicken, grilled salmon). It may come as a surprise to Americans, but onigiri are by far more commonly eaten than sushi in Japan. Onigiri is an everyday food eaten for lunch and as a snack, while sushi is more of a restaurant delicacy usually prepared by a specially trained chef.
Q. Is rice healthy?
As the staple food for more than half the world’s population, rice provides nourishment to billions of people around the globe every day. Recently, there has been some criticism of white rice, specifically because the milling process removes some nutrients and fiber. However, this is not a very nuanced understanding of the benefits of white rice. In fact, due to its lower fiber content, white rice is an easy-to-digest source of fast energy. This makes it ideal for athletes and those with sensitive digestion. Compared to other fast energy sources like granola bars and bread products, rice—both brown and white—is free of high fructose corn syrup, white sugar, gluten, and chemical preservatives. As a source of amino acids, rice is also a good choice for vegans and vegetarians. In short, both white and brown rice can be an integral part of a healthy, balanced diet.