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Setsubun: The day you can eat Ehomaki sushi rolls for good luck

Sat 3rd February, by Annem Hobson

If you’re feeling like you could do with a bit of luck in your life, today is the day to reap the rewards by taking the time out to eat sushi. In Japan, they eat Ehomaki on the evening of Setsubun  – which happens to be today! (3rd Feb 2018). Setsubun is a religious festival which welcomes the beginning of Spring, and this year I decided to get involved!

Setsubun Ehomaki sushi rolls good luck

Beautiful artwork at SushiHeads, Tottenham.

SushiHeads is one of my favourite Tottenham based places to eat, and last year I nearly became addicted to their Pumpkin Croquettes. They are celebrating Setsubun with a special offer on Ehomaki all day.

So what’s Ehomaki?

It’s a long sushi roll filled with seven different ingredients to represent the seven gods of happiness. SushiHeads are serving up one with grilled eel, cucumber, carrot, asparagus, tamago, fried tofu and pickled radish. If those ingredients don’t tickle your fancy, they’ve made substitutes with teriyaki chicken, kimchi and more!

Setsubun Ehomaki sushi rolls good luck

One roll will fill you up!

Legend has it, that when Toyotomi Hideyoshi was fighting for the rulership of Japan, one of his samurai ate a rolled sushi on the night before the battle – and then, the warriors won! Because of this, it is now traditional to eat the rolls in order to bring out good luck when driving out pesky demons at the time of Setsubun.

Other people say it actually comes from Osaka and the Kansai area, where rolled sushi was eaten in the hope for prosperity in the coming year. Either way, I am down! I adore sushi in all shapes and form, so any excuse will do.

How do you eat it?

There are rules, which you should carefully follow – otherwise you may risk your luck.

First and foremost, DO NOT CUT THE ROLL. I REPEAT – DO NOT CUT THE ROLL. You may cut off your luck! It’s best to eat the whole thing in one sitting.

Secondly, you must face the lucky direction (the eho), which changes every year. This depends on the zodiac symbol. For 2018, it’s the year of the dog which makes the lucky direction South-South-East. (Use the compass on your iPhone!)

Setsubun Ehomaki sushi rolls good luck

Find the right direction!

Lastly, eat your roll in total silence, in one sitting and don’t stop eating. Whilst you do this, wish for what you want in the coming year.

Setsubun Ehomaki sushi rolls good luck

Nice and quiet.

SushiHeads make all their food, fresh and on the day. It is the finest sushi in North London, and well worth a visit if you’re a fan of Japanese food. They serve a range of dishes, from katsu curries and more. If you’re a keen cook, they have a wonderful shop selling traditional ingredients, ice cream, drinks and more.

Check out their Instagram, or Twitter page!

About the author

Annem Hobson

Annem Hobson

Blogger-in-Chief, So Wrong It’s Nom

@SoWrongItsNom

Inventor of the world's first Cheese Advent Calendar & Cheester Egg. You’ll find me talking all things food on talkRADIO and occasionally BBC Regional Radio.

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