Earlier this winter, New Yorkers were freaking out over the newly proposed health department codes, which would require all sushi and sashimi to be frozen to kill off any dangerous bacteria. Sushi fans were afraid that their beloved spicy tuna rolls would taste bland and lose that fresh flavor.But we explained that freezing sushi prior to eating is actually a common practice in Japan. Now, we have proof that not only is frozen sushi indistinguishable from fresh sushi, but that it sometimes performs better in a blind taste test, according to a study published by the Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan.
During the study, researchers conducted a double blind test that enlisted 40 Japanese researchers and medical students to sample frozen and fresh mackerel and squid. Subjects were asked which tasted better. The study participants believed that the frozen mackerel tasted better almost half of the time, while unfrozen sushi was thought to be tastier 42 percent of the time, and participants thought that eight percent of the fish samples were “comparable in quality.” For frozen squid, participants had a slight preference for the unfrozen variety, with approximately 17 percent of participants believing that the frozen and unfrozen squid tasted the same.
“Freezing raw fish did not ruin sushi's taste,” the study’s researchers concluded. “These findings may encourage the practice of freezing fish before using it in sushi, helping to decrease the incidence of anisakidosis [a disease caused by ingestion of harmful bacteria].”