Any time a city’s culinary scene really takes off, as it is now in Salt Lake City, sushi spots start springing up everywhere. Maybe that’s because sushi is the ultimate foodie cuisine—a combination of fresh, subtle flavors, masterful preparation, and exquisite presentation. And perhaps no appetizer preps the palate better for sushi than edamame. Read on to unwrap Groupon's study of this hearty Japanese vegetable.What is edamame exactly?Long name aside, edamame is simple: young, still-green soybeans served boiled or steamed.Ten years ago, I’d never even heard of edamame. Now it’s everywhere. How’d that happen?Edamame’s roots in Japanese cuisine go back centuries, with the first known written reference to the food occurring in 1275. However, edamame’s introduction to the United States didn’t happen until the late 1960s, when the first frozen edamame was imported from Japan. The California sushi boom of the 1980s solidified its place as a stateside staple.So is all our edamame still imported from Japan?Not all of it. Many American farms dabble in edamame production, a natural outgrowth of the widespread cultivation of soy. Most restaurants in Salt Lake City just put a bowl of edamame pods on the table when I order it. What’s the correct way to eat them?Diners use their fingers to pop the beans from the pods directly into their mouths. A dash of salt typically seasons the dish to bring out its umami flavor.But is edamame even good for me?And how! In fact, the beans are one of the more nutritious things you can mindlessly munch from a bowl, as they’re loaded with fiber, vitamin C, iron, potassium, and magnesium. They’re also low in fat and high in protein.Well, edamame tastes great and it’s good for me. So where are some good spots to get it in SLC?Since there tends to be little variation in how edamame is prepared, your best bet is to just enjoy it as an appetizer at your favorite sushi spot. If you don’t already have a go-to for maki and nigiri, Salt Lake City has a number of great options. At Takashi, Chef Takashi Gibo prizes simplicity in his rolls, including the always-popular Sunshine roll featuring fresh salmon enhanced with a thin slice of lemon. Another local favorite, Kyoto, offers up more than 20 inventive maki rolls such as the Ichigo with spicy crab, yellowtail tuna, and fresh strawberries.
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