All About Sushi – Japanese Vinegared Rice

Sushi Set and Chopsticks

It’s a common misconception with Japanese cuisine that sushi means raw fish, and while the jokes about eating it for the first time can be funny, it’s also misleading.

Like this old chestnut: A couple walk into a Japanese restaurant and pause to admire a tank full of tropical fish. They ask the waiter what the fish are called. “Sushi,” the waiter replies. But as any good waiter would know, sushi actually refers to the vinegared rice, with which raw fish – called sashimi – is often served.

Sushi actually refers to the vinegared rice, with which raw fish – called sashimi – is often served.

Sushi is believed to have started 14 centuries ago, when a common method of pickling fish and rice gained popularity in Japan.

Bamboo Sushi Roller, two hands, rice

The fish was slit open and packed with rice, and as the whole thing fermented for anything up to two years it took on a tangy pickled flavor. Later this process was speeded up, and later still, 19th century food stall owner Hanaya Yohei started creating sushi dishes with vinegared rice and raw fish in Tokyo.

In the 1970s, sushi travelled to the US and other parts of the world, and became part of a new age food revolution. Out of the simple seaweed, rice and raw fish combinations came the California Roll, characteristically bigger than the Japanese delicacies and packed with fish, meat and vegetables and wrapped in a sheet of seaweed, or presented ‘inside out’ with the rice on the outside and the seaweed tucked away with the filling.

California Roll

But Japanese sushi chefs continued to evolve the delicacies known collectively as sushi into ever more graceful art forms.

There are several different forms of sushi, including:

  • maki-sushi, which is the ‘inside out’ sushi that evolved into the California Roll;
  • Nigiri Sushi, which is vinegared rice shaped by hand into a small bed for seafood;
  • oshi sushi, which is sushi rice shaped into squares or rectangles and covered with a variety of toppings;
  • chirashi sushi, which is vinegared rice scattered on a plate and served with toppings.

To make sushi at home you need to buy the right ingredients.

There are only two of them – Japanese short grain rice and sushi rice vinegar. You can get them both from an Asian grocery store.

  1. Rinse two cups of rice in a colander under a running tap to remove the starch and ensure the rice is sticky when cooked.
  2. Put the washed rice into a large pot, and add two cups of water, or into a rice cooker following the manufacturer’s instructions. If in a pot, bring it to the boil, turn down the heat and simmer until the rice has absorbed all the water.

Japanese Short Grain Rice

Your Asian grocery store may stock sushi rice vinegar, pre-mixed and ready to use.

If not, buy rice vinegar and mix half a cup of vinegar with three tablespoons of white sugar and 1 teaspoon of salt in a small pan.

Heat until sugar dissolves, and sprinkle over the rice in a non-metal bowl. Mix thoroughly with a spatula, and your sushi rice is ready to roll and shape, using a sushi fan as you work to cool the rice. Store any leftover sushi vinegar in the fridge.

Whether you choose to make maki, nigiri, oshi or chirashi sushi, it is important to have the freshest ingredients possible.

Raw fish, such as tuna and salmon, are among the most commonly used ingredients, but if you cannot obtain these really fresh from the ocean, you will be better off using canned, smoked or cooked fish.

Avocado is a popular ingredient in California Rolls and most sushi sold today, but you can also include carrot sticks, celery, prawns, crab, chicken, lettuce strips, tomato and cucumber.

cutting sashimi in kitchen

If you are rolling the sushi in seaweed sheets, a bamboo hand rolling mat (see photo above) will make the job easier.

This won’t stop people making jokes about raw fish, of course, but at least while you are laughing, you can gently correct them as you hand them your own delicious sushi creations.

Bonus: How to Make Sushi [Video]

More Heroic Adventures

The Best Attractions in Lima’s Miraflores District [Peru]

Things to do in Miraflores District Lima Peru

Although many travelers visit Peru to explore its pre-Columbian heritage, most travelers passing through the nation’s capital, Lima, prefer to stay in the city’s most modern neighborhood: Miraflores.

Travelers choose Miraflores for its proximity to the Pacific Ocean, its vibrant arts and entertainment scene, and its wide range of attractions that appeal to every kind of traveler. 

When you visit Lima, make sure to check out some of the very best that Miraflores has to offer.

1. Casa Museo Ricardo Palma

Ricardo Palma was a Lima-born writer and thinker who oversaw the country’s National Library from 1883 to 1892.

Today, the government has preserved his long-time home as a museum where visitors can see the original furnishings, paintings, documents and art that he cherished during the last years of his life.

Currently, the museum is open Monday to Friday from 9:00 to 5:00, but is closed for a lengthy daily lunch from 12:45 until 2:30.  Entrance is six soles ($1.75 USD).

For updated information and opening hour, visit their website>>>

2. Huaca Pucllana

huaca pucllana Miraflores Peru

If your trip to Peru doesn’t include time in Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley, you can visit this sacred historic site that has been preserved on its original location in the Miraflores neighborhood.

It features a typical pyramid crafted from adobe and clay, surrounded by a central square and walls.

At press time, Huaca Pucllana is open daily from Wednesday to Monday, and regular entrance fees are twelve soles ($3.50 USD).

For updated information and current opening hours, visit the Huac Pucllana official site here>>

3. Larcomar

Larcomar Upscale Mall Miraflores Peru

Larcomar is Miraflores’ most famous, and most architecturally interesting, shopping center.

It is carved into the seaside cliffs at the south end of Avenida Jose Larco and features several open-air and glass-walled viewing decks offering panoramic views of the sea. 

Larcomar is home to several upscale restaurants and coffee shops, as well as the best selection of international clothing shops in town.

There are eight shops where you can stock up on high-quality athletic and outdoors apparel and equipment before your Inca Trail trek.

For updated information and current opening hours, visit Larcomar’s official site here>>

4. Malécon

Area of Malecon near beach in Miraflores Peru

The malécon is a six-mile stretch of oceanfront parks, walking paths and cycling routes that runs along the Pacific Coast from the artsy Barranco neighborhood in the south all the way to the north end of Miraflores.

Active travelers will love going for a jog or bike ride beside the ocean, adventure travelers will want to try paragliding (buy your tickets from the booth at Block 2) and creative types will want to take in the many different sculptures erected along the walkways.

For updated information about the park (in Spanish only), visit Miraflores Parks page here>>

5. Parque del Amor (Lover’s Park)

El Beso (the Kiss) statue in Love Park Lima Peru

Also known as the “Park of Love”, Parque del Amor is Lima’s most romantic park.

At the center of the park is Victor Delfin’s gigantic red statue El Beso (The Kiss), shown above, that features two loves entangled, horizontally, in a kiss.

The park also has some of the best sunset views in the city, making it the perfect place to snuggle up with the person you love.

6. Parque Kennedy

Parque Kennedy

Situated in central Miraflores, away from the ocean, Parque Kennedy has become a controversial tourist attraction that often pits frustrated locals against wide-eyed tourists.

The park was named after John F. Kennedy and is frequented by buskers, shoe shiners and the elderly.

It is also frequented by the one hundred (or more) stray cats who call the park home.  There are cats on the grass, cats on the benches and even cats in the trees.

While some consider the cats to be a public health hazard, other consider them an adorable addition to the neighborhood.

You’ll have to visit and decide for yourself!


Whether you want to explore the history of Lima, have an active holiday or simply relax with a cup of hot chocolate while you pet a stray cat, Miraflores has something for you.

It is also well-connected by bus rapid transit (BRT) to the historic center of Lima, so you can see the very best of old and new Peru during your stay.

Bonus: The Best Sites in Lima Peru [Video]

More Heroic Adventures

10 Intimidating Facts About Scaling the Seven Summits

Everest Header Image

If you don’t think you have the strength, willpower or mental fortitude to climb the highest peaks on every single continent, you’re not alone–only around 350 people, as of January 2012, have actually had the guts–and money–to accomplish this formidable task.

Adding to the challenge is the fact that, depending on whom you talk to, there are actually eight summits to climb if you want to have truly mastered this feat. If you dream big about mountaineering, wait a tic–scaling these majestic peaks is much more intimidating than you might have ever imagined.

1. The Eight Summits (Or Is It Nine?)

Disputes about geographical boundaries mean that the Seven Summits have evolved into eight summits–when Dick Bass first completed the challenge in 1985, he climbed these seven peaks:

  1. Aconcagua (South America)
  2. McKinley (North American)
  3. Vinson (Antarctica)
  4. Kilimanjaro (Africa)
  5. Kosciusko (Australia)
  6. Elbrus (Europe)
  7. Everest (Asia)

This is known as the “Bass List.”

However, Pat Morrow, another climber to scale the mountains early on, determined that another peak, Carstensz Pyramid (also known as Puncak Jaya) was the highest point on the Australian continent–not Kosciusko.

Puncak Jaya 4884 meters tall Papua New Guinea

Carstensz is reputed to be significantly more challenge due to its steep vertical incline.

Morrow justified his decision by saying that the continental shelf on which Carstensz Pyramid resides is part of the Australian continent.

Reinhold Messner, a noted mountaineer, agreed with Morrow, and this variation become known as the “Messner List.”

Of the 350 people who have laid claim to completing the Seven Summits, just 30 percent have climbed both Kosciuszko and Carstensz–meaning they’ve done all eight summits. The latter is a more technically challenging climb and at 4,884 meters (16,023.6 feet), it’s more than double Kosciuszko’s 2,228 meters (7,309.7 feet). 

There’s another controversy about the European mountain; however, it’s not widespread enough to make a switch on either of the official lists:

Mount Elbrus, Europe’s highest peak at 5,642 meters (18,510) feet, is located on the Asia-Europe border as part of the Caucasus Range.

The majority of geographers place the peak in Europe; however, a few claim it’s actually in Asia–and that would make Mount Blanc Europe’s highest peak at 4,810 meters (15,781 feet). Therefore, you might someday have to scale nine mountains to truly be victorious.

Mount Elbrus

Mount Elbrus, Europe’s highest peak at 5,642 meters (18,510)

2. You Need Around $200K

The total sum to climb all Seven Summits varies widely based on your approach, your gear, your team and other factors. Generally speaking, though, it’s a pretty hefty chunk of change — a ballpark resides anywhere between $130,000 to $220,000.

The most expensive peak to climb, by far, is Mount Everest, which the website estimates at around $60,000 to $87,000. Time magazine places the price tag even higher at up to $100,000. The least-expensive is Aconcagua at just $850 to $5,000.

Aconcagua

Aconcagua, reputedly the most affordable of the 7 summits to climb.

However, that’s just for the luxury of stepping foot on the mountains; don’t forget to add in $8,000 to $13,000 worth of gear, not just hiking poles, and clothing, another $5k to $8k for training and $9,000 to nearly $23,000 in airfare, depending on where you’re coming and going from.

On top of the costs, it takes a lot of your time to go on these expeditions.

Mount Everest alone takes an average of six to seven weeks to climb, even though it only takes five days to reach the summit–you must acclimate to the thin air for safety purposes.

Therefore, holding down a job can be quite difficult unless you have the most understanding of employers–or a whole lot of vacation time.

4. You Just Might Die

There’s no official report as to how many people have died climbing all Seven Summits.

However, as of 2013, nearly 250 people had died trying to ascend Mount Everest alone–and then in April 2014, another 16 were killed in one day in one horrific avalanche.

Africa Mt Kilimanjar Summit Sign

Kilimanjaro summit, the roof of Africa.

Every year, 10 deaths are reported on Mount Kilimanjaro, though the numbers are conflicting. In January 2009, five people died climbing Aconcagua. In other words, these mountains are deadly.

Death comes from altitude sickness, falls and hypothermia, to name a few possible maladies.

On some mountains, such as Everest, the risk and cost of recovering a dead body is too high–meaning future climbers can still see the eerie forms lying in the ice as they make their own ascent.

In fact, more than 200 dead bodies are still on Everest. Climbers have to maneuver past them on their way to the summit.

5. The Summits Total 150,000 Feet

The total elevation of all the eight summits put together equals 45,592 meters (149,580 feet). That’s approximately five times the height of the average airliner’s cruising altitude of 30,000 feet.

The highest elevation is, naturally, Mount Everest at 8,848 meters (29,035 feet), while the lowest is Kosciuszko at 2,228 meters (7,310 feet). If you exclude this mountain from the list, the lowest is Carstensz Pyramid at 4,884 meters (16,024 feet).

6. It’s Pretty Cold Up There

You know that $8,000 to $13,000 you spent on gear and clothing to climb? It just might be worth it, as you’ll need warm clothing in these conditions.

It’s best to climb Mount Elbrus in July and August, but even then temperatures at night average a balmy 18 F (minus 8 C)–but that’s downright warm compared to some of the other peaks.

At night on the Carstensz Pyramid, the summit can be around 14 F (minus 10 C) and it rains for several hours a day.

On Everest, summit temperatures range from minus 4 F to minus 31 F, with wind speeds of up to 175 mph.

At Mount McKinley, also known as Denali, temperatures in early May–the earliest time of year you can begin to safely climb–can hover around minus 50F.

7. Getting to the Mountain

In some cases, it’s no easy feat to simply arrive at the base of the mountain to begin to climb.

To reach Carstensz Pyramid, for example, you have to make your way through West Papua New Guinea’s tropical jungle.

Add in government issues, political instability and tribal wars and it’s no wonder that it’s one of the least-climbed of the Seven Summits.

Even the trek to the base camp of Everest means getting to 17,590 feet–higher than the summit of some of the other mountains on the list. Some climbers choose to simply make the journey to the base camp, a difficult hike with a rewarding payoff that’s significantly less dangerous than going to the very top.

Everest Base Camp

Everest base camp, some climbers only venture this far and have no intention of reaching the peak.

So many of the mountains are remote, as well, meaning that getting medical help in an emergency can be difficult. As you might expect from its location in Antarctica, the area surrounding Mount Vinson is entirely undeveloped. While Vinson’s not a technically challenging climb, the cold and location make it extremely risky.

8. There’s actually a “Death Zone”

That’s right–a death zone.

This is where the altitude is so high that the risk of death increases substantially.

It’s found on Mount Everest above approximately 8,000 meters (26,246 feet). Your body cannot replenish its oxygen store at this height, as there’s only one-third as much oxygen in the air as at sea level. If you have asthma, you might want to skip this one.

9. You Won’t Be the Youngest

If you thought you might be able to break a record due to your age, think again.

After scaling Vinson in Antarctica on December 24, 2011, then-15-year-old Jordan Romero became the youngest person to officially scale the seven peaks. The American-born Romero beat the previous record, set earlier in 2011 by a 16-year-old Brit.

Moun Vinson

Mount Vinson, one of the Seven Summits located in Antarctica.

Setting records wasn’t new to the teen; he conquered Mount Everest at age 13.

Unlike some other climbers, Romero has scaled both Carstensz Pyramid and Kosciuszko.

It took Romero six years to achieve all Seven Summits, compared to the record-holding 134 days achieved in 2010 by Vern Tejas–who once held the record as the youngest Seven Summits climber.

10. Next Up: The Second Summits

The final intimidation factor of climbing the Seven Summits is realizing that, despite this achievement, some serious climbers might still scoff at you for not having done the harder versions–that is, the more technically challenging, albeit slightly lower, second-highest summits on each continent.

This is comprised of the following more difficult and deadly mountains:

  1. K2 (Asia)
  2. Ojos del Salad (South America)
  3. Mount Logan (North America)
  4. Mount Kenya (Africa)
  5. Mount Tyree (Antarctica)
  6. Dychtau (Europe)
  7. Puncak Trikora (Australia)

However, you’ll be in good company, as all seven Second Summits weren’t scaled until 2012 when Hans Kammerlander completed the challenge. He remains the only person to have completed this feat.

The difference in danger between K2 and Mount Everest, both located in Asia, is particularly notable; in 2009 and 2010, nobody attempted to scale K2 at all because of potential death. Additionally, while Everest has a 4.14 percent death rate, K2’s is 26.47 percent. That means that approximately 1 in every 4 climbers that attempts K2 loses their life doing so.

Do you have the mental fortitude to scale all Seven Summits?

Do so, and you’ll go down in history as one of just a few hundred who have been able to do so.

Adventures Await – What Mountains Will You Conquer?

STARESSO Portable Espresso Maker Machine Review

STARESSO Portable Espresso Maker Machine

​STARESSO Portable Espresso Maker Machine: QUICK OVERVIEW

​Portability

​Value for Money

​Ease of Cleaning

​Eco-Friendly

What We Like
  • ​Durable design
  • ​Great tasting espresso
  • ​Uses Nespresso capsules
What We Don't Like
  • ​A bit larger than other portable makers
  • ​Must flush with hot water for hot espresso

​Just because you're busy or traveling doesn't mean you should have to live without your daily espresso.

Portable espresso machines make this delicious liquid gold of the gods available wherever you are in just a few minutes. And they're great for small kitchens or the office, too.

Manual portable espresso presses are made to fit easily into a backpack. And because they don't require power, you can use them anywhere and at any time.

If this sounds like the perfect solution for you, the STARESSO Portable Espresso Maker Machine may be worth considering.

​STARESSO Portable Espresso Maker Machine Review

STARESSO Portable Espresso Maker Machine, Upgrade Version Manual Espresso Coffee Maker, 20 Bar Pressure

​Most portable espresso maker manufacturers choose to stay on the serious side of coffee. STARESSO, however, decided to blend fun, usability, and geeky, stylish design. The result is a cup of great espresso you can enjoy anytime.

For STARESSO, the goal was to create a portable manual espresso maker that didn't just make a great series of coffee drinks. They wanted a luxury system that was convenient to use and easy to clean, but they also wanted something that was as fun to use as it is visually appealing. They may have achieved that with the STARESSO Portable Espresso Maker Machine.

​Who Is This Product For?

​The STARESSO Portable Espresso Maker Machine was created for espresso lovers who won't compromise quality for convenience.

Its light and compact design make this model perfect for the office or job site.

It's also easy to pack along and will take a beating, so you can take it camping or on a trip without worrying.

​What's Included?

​The STARESSO travel espresso system comes with a water tank, cup, and basket.

It also includes a manual that explains how to use the system to make everything from espresso and cold brew coffee to iced cream coffee and iced cappuccino.

For extra help or inspiration, YouTube includes a helpful collection of videos you can watch and enjoy on how to get the most out of this machine.

​Overview of Features

​Outside, the STARESSO travel manual coffee system looks classy, but don't let looks fool you.

This manual espresso press is durable and compact enough to go on the roughest mountain climbs on the weekends and still look great sitting on the counter. And it has an 80ml capacity, so you get the right amount of espresso for the work.

The entire design was made to be convenient. It comes apart easily and rinses clean in seconds.

The STARESSO requires no special attention or maintenance to keep it working like new. And, it's guaranteed not to leak even when it gets bumped or banged around.

The system uses 20 bar pressure to perk everything from espresso to a cold brew to make the perfect coffee. Yet, unlike many other portable espresso presses, it only requires 50% of the human exerted force to make coffee. This means you don't have to worry about getting tired if you make more than one shot. 

And the product the STARESSO produces is consistent. You can use your favorite grounds to get just the taste you've been craving. Or, it works with a full variety of Nespresso capsules to make a full range of coffee-flavored drinks without the mess.

​How to Use

​To get started, disassemble the unit and add grounds or a capsule to the basket.

Then, fasten the top and fill the water tank to the fill line.

Screw everything together snugly.

Lastly, unlock the plunger mechanism with a twist, pull it up, and push it slowly all the way down to make the espresso shot.

​Alternative

​If the STARESSO isn't quite what you're looking for, the Nomad Portable Espresso Machine might be the ideal alternative.

​The Nomad sports a unique design that looks much like a redesign of an antique coffee grinder. To make drinks, however, it uses a small seesaw lever that, unlike the 20 bars of pressure the STARESS produces, the Nomad only reaches 8 to 10 bars of pressure.

It's also a high-end portable espresso maker, but it produces a genuinely stunning espresso that will have you in awe.

The True Crema Valve on the side adjusts to make sure you get the perfect shot every time you make it. It's the ideal alternative to a traditional, full-sized espresso machine with the convenience of a portable.

​Conclusion

​The STARESSO Portable Espresso Maker Machine was designed for the coffee lover who won't settle for a sub-par morning kickstart.

This machine produces a consistent and convenient espresso time and again without a lot of work. It is priced higher than other lesser quality portable espresso presses, but serious espresso drinkers who like to have a little fun will find it's more than worth it.

How to Make Turkish Coffee: the Turkish Method of Brewing Coffee

Turkey (the country, not the Thanksgiving bird) isn’t necessarily known for their delicacies to the general population.

For connoisseurs, however, Turkey is known as one of the original coffee brewing countries. The people of Turkey have so much know-how, in fact, that they have their own method and serving style.

Turkish coffee is different than all other kinds (save a few primitive recipes for Cowboy Coffee) because there is no filter involved. Instead of filtering the grounds, Turkish coffee is ground to an almost-powder consistency and allowed to settle after brewing.

Like an espresso a Turkish coffee will be very strong and full of flavor. It is typically served with sugar and the spice cardamom, something the espresso-drinking French simply abhor.

How to Make Turkish Coffee

Start with super fine coffee grounds, even finer than espresso. The grounds should almost be a powder consistency. Use flavored beans if you like, or try a purist cup.

Next, you need an ibrik or another small metallic pot, preferably one with a narrowing at the top of the pot.

Turkish Coffee Pot

This should have a long handle and not be too wide (it’s better to have a tall, skinny pot than a short, fat one.)

You will also need a heat source (stove), some quality water, sugar that dissolves easily and the optional spices like cardamom, anise or cinnamon.

Finally, you’ll need a coffee cup.

Sprinkle between two and six teaspoons of sugar into the coffee cup. Alternatively, you could add a helping of sugar-free sweetener of your choice.

Add very finely ground cardamom, anise or cinnamon to the cup as well.

Add a little water and stir until the sugar is dissolved.

Add water to your pan or up to where the ibrik’s neck begins, careful not to fill into the neck.

Grind one heaping teaspoon of coffee grounds for each ounce of water (10 ounces of water would require five teaspoons of grounds.)

Place the grounds ON TOP of the water, do not stir them, even a little.

Turn the heat on your stove to medium-low and place the ibrik onto the burner. Stay with the coffee, as the magic happens very quickly.

It will begin to foam and the foam will start to crawl up the neck of the pot or ibrik. Just before it reaches the top of the neck, remove from heat.

Stir the coffee now then bring back to the heat source to foam again. Do this once again, for a total of three foams. The final foam should not be stirred but rather spooned into cups or dumped down the drain if you don’t care for it.

Let the coffee settle for up to a minute and then pour your Turkish coffee into cups.

Recipe for Turkish Coffee

Conclusion

As you can see, the process of making Turkish coffee differs greatly from the standard American drip or French espresso. It should come as no surprise that the resulting cup of liquid gold is unlike either of those. Rather, it is a savory-sweet cup of rich java.

Turkish coffee is a great choice if you want to experiment or enjoy a very strong cup of Joe with the chance of some floaties.

Look at second hand stores for an ibrik before shelling out the thirty or so dollars most sell for in Turkish and Russian specialty stores in large cities and online.

As you sip your Turkish coffee, remember this old saying about the beverage:

“Coffee should be as black as hell, as strong as death, and as sweet as love.”

Most purists would not even consider adding milk or cream to Turkish coffee, but it’s your cup, so do as you wish.

Portable Coffee Makers for Your Next Adventure

For the coffee connoisseurs that can’t go without a reliable caffeine source when on a far off journey, we’ve prepared a master guide to the latest portable coffee makers you’ll want bring with you on your next adventure: check out Heroic Adventure’s Complete Guide to the Lastest Portable Coffee Makers for Travelers here.

Take More Coffee Adventures