It doesn’t matter if you use chopsticks, your hands or even a knife and fork. Actually, no don’t use a knife and fork, you will bring shame to your ancestors and future generations to come. Tokyo sushi master Naomichi Yasuda has been kind enough to share his expertise with us. Here are the dos and don’ts of eating sushi.
1. Naomichi advice: rice is ichiban (number one)
It’s a common misconception that the fish is the most important component in sushi but this is incorrect. The answer is in the name sushi, which translates to Vinegared rice (su-meshi, reduced later on to sushi). Chefs in Japan make special rice blends in the hope theirs is the best.
2. Your wasabi may not be wasabi
Wasabi root is only native to Japan and hard to source. Its natural taste is also quite sweet with a late kick back of fire, so if you chomp down on some green stuff and your head is blown off, you are probably eating horse radish and mustard coloured green instead of wasabi.
3. You can use your hands
Sushi wrapped in seaweed, nori, maki etc. can be consumed with your hands. The seaweed stops your hands contaminating the delicate flavours.
4. Use your chopsticks for nigiri and other sushi not wrapped in seaweed
Turn the nigiri on its side with your chopsticks so when you pick it up, there’s minimal spillage. It’s a great disgrace to drop sushi at the table, as you can imagine.
5. Dip sushi fish-side down into soy sauce
Treat this action similar to when you dip your toe in water you’re not sure about; cautious, but confident enough you won’t plunge in.
6. Never shake off excess soy sauce from your sushi
In Japanese culture, you might as well be getting your bits out at the table.
7.Don’t combine ginger and sushi/ ginger and soy sauce
Ginger is meant to be a palate cleanser in between bites.
8. Some sushi changes taste depending on temperature
Handling raw fish with different fat contents, combined with the slightly warmer temperature of rice can really influence the flavor extravaganza in your mouth. Be wary of ice cold bites or slightly-too-warm pieces.
Have you been doing sushi disastrously wrong? Hopefully, with these tips, your sushi etiquette improves massively. If all fails just remember: you can use your hands.