Basic Japanese sushi (and sashimi) etiquette
Greg Rodgers is a Kentucky-based freelance writer and photographer. He has been covering all things Asia for TripSavvy since 2010.
While you won't get kicked out of your average Japanese restaurant for handling your fish, knowing how to eat sushi correctly can greatly enhance the experience. Eating sushi correctly starts with washing your hands, putting some soy sauce on the plate, and using chopsticks to put the sushi in your mouth upside down so that the fish is on your tongue.
Learning how to eat sushi correctly can turn your next sushi outing into a cultural lesson. Sushi is not a cheap hobby, so why not have some fun and learn some culture along the way?
Serious sushi chefs study for decades to master these tasty morsels. Applying basic sushi etiquette and enjoying your creations shows respect for the efforts of generations. What was once considered fast food has become a popular culinary art all over the world.
Disclaimer:The following tips only apply to oneTRUESushi experience in an authentic Japanese restaurant, not a restaurant that has General Tso's pizza and chicken elsewhere on the menu.
Interaction with the chef.
First of all, sitting at the counter is the place to be if you want to take the experience seriously. Walk forward and in the middle. You should only go to your sushi chef when necessary, but ask what they recommend right away. He probably picked up fish from the market, knows what looked good that day, and will reward your trust in him with extra care. Simply choosing a menu and choosing randomly shows that you are not interested in their opinion. Even if you don't follow his suggestions, we appreciate his interest in what goes on behind the scenes.
However, never distract the chef later with questions or conversations about food, weather, or Japanese customs. The chefs are artists and wield sharp knives. Let them work!
If the meal is an unforgettable experience, you can even offer to pay the chef a shot.Interest. If he accepts it, you must have one with him. Never try to give the chef money, not even a tip; They process raw fish all day and are never allowed to touch cash. And what is moreTipping is rare in Japanese custom.and it must be done carefully.
Cima:The correct way (in Japanese) to pronounce sake is not "sah-key" but "sah-keh".
At formal sushi restaurants, you may be directed to speak to a concierge before your session begins. This ensures that if the chef doesn't speak English, you have a chance to mention foods you want to avoid or any allergies you may have. Ideally your orders should be routed from the assistant chef to avoid this.loss of prestige for both parties.
Prepare to eat sushi
The wet towel is used to wipe hands before eating, especially since maki and nigiri sushi are traditionally eaten with the fingers. Use the towel to wipe your fingers and set it aside; Do not use on face to cool off!
Just pour a small amount of soy sauce into the bowl. You can always add later if needed. Wasting soy sauce is taboo in the serious environmentjapanese food label. Also, if you overwater, you suspect that the fish is old and needs a lot of "treating" before you can taste it.
Follow basic etiquettehow to use chopstickspolite to eatsashimi- Slices of raw fish without rice. If you only eat nigiri sushi, you don't even need chopsticks.
Don't add wasabi to your little bowl of soy sauce! While it's common in the West to dip sushi into this dirt, it's not the best way to enjoy it. If you run out of rice in your bowl of soy sauce, don't pick it up with your chopsticks, and definitely don't suck the sauce off the ends of your chopsticks.
When not eating, chopsticks should be placed in the holder next to the plate, neatly and parallel to the table, not the plate or bowl. Leaving your chopsticks somewhere else could be a sign that you're done eating! It is polite and acceptable to place chopsticks between pieces of sashimi.
Using wasabi and ginger with sushi
Believe it or not, no matter how much you enjoy the burn, turning your soy sauce into a cloudy mess by mixing it with wasabi is not the way to eat sushi. Depending on the type of fish, the chef has already added small amounts of wasabi to each piece to enhance the flavor.
Japanese restaurants offer extra wasabi for those with big interests; However, adding too much wasabi not only obscures the natural flavor of the carefully selected fish in the eyes of the chef, it is also offensive. It's like pouring ketchup on a piece of meat at an expensive steakhouse in front of the person who cooked it perfectly for you!
If you must add wasabi, apply a little to the fish with a toothpick or piece of ginger. Don't leave ginger as a garnish on sushi! Sucking more wasabi from chopsticks is also considered bad behavior. Treat chopsticks like a fork in the West - it's just not good to suck on your utensils or use them to sharpen them.
Fresh ginger is used to cleanse the palate between bites and should never be eaten with a piece of sushi. You can always ask for extra ginger if you need it.
How to eat sushi correctly
Fortunately, there are no pretentious guidelines for what type of sushi you should eat first, and it doesn't follow a strict order. The chef can have his own plan of which pieces will come in which order. If you particularly like something from the chef, tell him and order another piece.
Sashimi (slices of raw fish) is usually eaten with chopsticks, but the traditional way to eat sushi (dishes served with rice) is to pick up a piece between your thumb and middle finger. Picking up the sushi with your fingers allows you to feel the texture and hold it together instead of damaging it with wooden skewers. Still, you'd be forgiven for using chopsticks if you had to.
Nigiri is often the standard type of sushi served. Flip the piece by turning it counterclockwise and dip only the fish in the soy sauce, never the rice if you can help it. Apart from the fact that rice absorbs a lot of soy sauce and changes the texture of the bite, leaving rice on the plate is a hobbyist task. The correct preparation of rice with vinegar is also part of the art of sushi.
like pieces of sushiunagui(eel) and those with sauce should not get wet.
To be a true sushi pro, the pieces must be placed face down, so that the fish is against your tongue. Let your tongue absorb the complex flavors before swallowing the bite. Ideally, you should be able to eat the entire piece in one sitting. Trying to make a piece in two bites often results in it falling apart. Sometimes Nigiri piecesit istoo big to eat all at once, another good reason to eat with your hands so you can keep everything together.
The last and most important rule of how to eat sushi correctly is to enjoy every bite. Chances are it's the check and not the wasabi that's giving you a bit of heartburn later!
Exit tip:brandsbow deeply and respectfullythe cook leaving the house.