June 17th is International Sushi Day! We hope you celebrate deliciously!
I’m a huge sushi fan and learned I was eating it improperly from an episode of the food geek show, Good Eats. I’m going to share the rules of eating sushi authentically like they do in Japan.
1. The chopsticks
I know most sushi restaurants provide you with disposable wooden chopsticks that can give you splinters. Did you know it’s considered rude to rub them together? It means that the owner is too cheap to get quality chopsticks! If you are sharing sushi, you are are supposed to flip your chopsticks around to grab from the communal dish with the thicker ends that haven’t been in your mouth.
2. The wasabi
Don’t put your wasabi in your soy sauce! Wasabi is heat and mixing it with liquid negates the spiciness. It’s also improper. If the sushi chef wants your roll to be spicy, he will put wasabi in when making it. Enjoy the subtle flavors of the seasoned rice, the quality fish and fresh vegetables.
3. The soy sauce
Don’t drown your sushi in soy sauce. A good sushi chef will season the rice properly so you don’t need added salt. Unless you are eating nigiri (a slice of raw fish on top of shaped rice) or sashimi (just the raw fish), skip the soy sauce or just use a dab. Remember, you can always add more soy sauce, but you can’t take it out.
4. The ginger
The pickled ginger doesn’t go in your soy sauce. And it also doesn’t go on your sushi or else the chef would have put it in. It’s a palate cleanser for in between bites of different fish!
It’s okay to use your hands to eat nigiri! The correct way to eat it is to dip the fish side in the soy sauce, not the rice. You are also supposed to put it in your mouth fish side down, so you can taste the fish first. If you are eating uni or fish roe nigiri, you can use the pickled ginger as a brush and swab soy sauce on your seafood. Also, you are supposed to eat nigiri in one bite. It’s considered bad etiquette to put a half eaten piece back on your plate. Of course, we do everything bigger in America, so nigiri has gotten huge! If you can’t eat it in one bite, hold the other half in your hand while you chew.
Those are easy steps to remember, right? Now you can lecture your uncouth friends on how they are doing it wrong. Of course, you don’t have to stick to these traditional rules. As long as you enjoy your sushi, you are probably a happy camper.
Learn how to eat sushi like they do in Japan!