There are more complexities to eating sushi than what meets the eye.
If you’re the type of eater, who’d dip sushi in a pool of wasabi and soy sauce before eating it in bites, then we’ll tell you now that you’re doing it all wrong and this sushi-eating crash course is definitely for you.
Whether you are about to enjoy some good sushi at Tokyo’s famous Tsukiji Market or successfully made a reservation at one of top chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s world-renowned restaurants, here are some pointers on how to eat sushi—the right way:
DO clean your hands with a wet towel
If you’re given a wet towel, use it to clean your hands. This is because maki and nigiri are traditionally eaten by picking a piece with one’s thumb and middle finger. Moreover, eating sushi with your fingers will keep it intact and give you better control compared to when you’re using chopsticks, which can also damage the form of the sushi.
DON’T dip the rice in soy sauce
Have you ever tried to salvage a nigiri sushi (a slice of fish on top of a small mound of rice) when it came undone in a pool of soy sauce? Frustrating, right? Well, you can avoid this culinary blunder by turning the sushi counter-clockwise to its side before picking it with your chopsticks. Make sure to dip the fish part lightly in soy sauce, so as not to overpower the natural flavors of the fish and rice.
DO cleanse your palate with ginger
See the thin slices of ginger? They’re not an extra topping to your sushi. Take a piece of ginger after eating a piece of sushi to cleanse your palate and prepare it for the flavors of your next piece.
DON’T mix wasabi and soy sauce
It may be common practice to mix wasabi and soy sauce, but if you are to eat sushi the proper way, you would want to skip this. If the chef hadn’t smeared wasabi on your sushi yet, you can add some directly on the piece before dipping it in soy sauce.
DO eat your sushi by color
You might find this tip a bit strange, but hear us out on this one! If you are not being served sushi by the piece, eat the pieces from light to dark. In terms of flavor, light-colored fish taste milder than those that appear darker. Eating your sushi in order will truly make you appreciate and enjoy the flavors better.
DON’T eat your sushi in bites
Eat it nice and whole in one bite!
DO show appreciation to the chef after your meal
If you are eating at the counter, with a sushi chef preparing the food before you, show them respect and appreciation after enjoying your meal by giving them a deep bow as you leave the restaurant.
Other things you should know…
If you are wondering how long sushi lasts, you should know that sushi is best enjoyed immediately, as it mainly makes use of raw fish. Letting sushi sit for a long while will not just ruin its flavor and quality but may also potentially upset your stomach.
You may also be asking “Is sushi good for you?” And we totally understand why—sushi is delicious and indulgent, you might enjoy a bite too many. Don’t worry, though, because Sushi is actually healthy! The fish is packed with omega-3 fatty acids and the sushi itself is low in calories. So go and treat yourself to some good sushi today!