Rice vinegar with Japanese and English labels

What is it?

Rice vinegar (su) is golden and less harsh-tasting than regular white vinegar and cider vinegars, which suits the generally delicate flavours of Japanese salad dishes. Sushi su is simply rice vinegar with sugar and salt pre-added for convenience when making sushi.

How do I use it?

Su is famously used to season sushi rice, but its most common use is to flavour and preserve foods in sunomono and pickle preparations.

What should I buy?

For versatility, I recommend buying regular rice vinegar. Sushi su is preseasoned and convenient for making sushi or as a shortcut in sunomono preparations or salad dressings. However, sushi vinegars often contain high-fructose corn syrup and chemical additives rather than simple sugar and salt, which are easy enough to add on your own.

A powdered form of sushi vinegar, sushinoko is probably the most popular method used by housewives in Japan. It has a stronger flavour than liquid vinegars and is simply sprinkled onto rice while hot and mixed in. Be careful when using it – it stings if you breathe it in or get it in your eyes.

Storage: Keep tightly capped in a cool, dark place or in the fridge.