When talking about Japanese food, the first thing that comes to your mind is probably sushi. It’s popularity is not surprising at all. Sushi is delicious, healthy and inexpensive.
But in spite its widespread popularity, it seems that most people do not eat sushi the right way, according to the owner of the world-famous Nobu restaurants, chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa. He says people should not put the soy sauce on the rice side of the sushi or to mix wasabi into the sauce. Instead, one should put only a little bit of soy sauce to the fish side of the sushi, and to use your chopsticks to put a bit of wasabi onto the center of the fish.
Knowing the right way to eat sushi can actually elevate your dining experience. Moreover, Japanese sushi chefs spend many years learning and mastering the art of making sushi. Isn’t it only right that we apply some sushi etiquette and show them the respect they deserve for all the effort they put into their creations?
Here are some basic guidelines to remember when eating sushi:
- Use the wet towel on your table to clean your hands and fingers. Don’t use it for your face! In Japan, the traditional way to eat sushi (maki and nigiri sushi) is by using your fingers – not chopsticks.
- Pour a little amount of soy sauce into the sauce bowl. Wasting soy sauce is a no-no. Besides, sushi chefs prefer you use as little soy sauce as possible.
- As mentioned earlier, don’t put wasabi in your soy sauce. Instead, put only a bit of it onto the center of your sushi using chopsticks.
- When you’re done eating, place your chopsticks on the holder located beside your plate, parallel to the table.
- Don’t put a lot of wasabi on your sushi. There’s already a small amount of wasabi in each piece. Adding too much of it will hide the fish’ natural taste and at the same time, chefs may find it offensive. It’s akin to putting ketchup all over a dish.
- Use the fresh ginger to cleanse your palate after a bite of your sushi. Don’t use it as a topping.
How to Eat Sushi
The traditional way to eat sushi is actually with your fingers. You lift a piece of sushi between your middle finger and thumb. Not only will you make sure the fish and rice are kept together but also, it enables you to feel the texture. Of course, these days people now use chopsticks to eat sushi and it’s perfectly acceptable.
Often times the sushi that is served in restaurants is Nigiri sushi. When eating it, turn each piece upside down in a counter clockwise direction and lightly dip the fish side into your small bowl of soy sauce. For sushi that has unagi as well as those that already have sauce, don’t dip them in soy sauce. And lastly, when placing the piece in your mouth, make sure the fish side is against your tongue so you can taste its complex flavors properly.
Be mesmerized watching Sushi Saito prepare sushi here: