Gari (pickled ginger) (ガリ)
Gari is ginger thinly sliced and pickled in sweetened vinegar. It is an essential relish for sushi. It has crispy touch and texture, refreshing and piquant taste, with sweet-sour flavor. As it removes fish smell, a bite of gari after eating a piece of sushi refreshes your tongue and you can enjoy the next piece. Another way to eat gari is to dip it in soy source and put it on sushi.
It is called "gari" because it has rasping touch or when you cut ginger with a knife it makes a rasping sound. The name is a jargon of sushi restaurant where they call soy sauce "murasaki," vinegared rice "shari," or green tea "agari," thus it is not originally a word to be used by customers; however, it has become popular as a common noun.
It is said that ginger kills germs and prevents food poisoning. Raw fish cools your body but 'gingerol,' a pungent ingredient of ginger has stomachic and sudorific properties and warms your body.
Gari made of newly harvested ginger turns pink without coloring due to the action of vinegar. In case of old ginger, it rarely changes its color. However, for commercial reasons, gari that is colored with natural or artificial food coloring is often sold. There is also gari of ginger with its original color.