Our hungry friends over at Foodbeast have just unleashed a great new how-to video that outlines a number of errors both Japanese and non-Japanese alike often make when eating sushi. Not only that, but it teaches us the correct way to eat the stuff, introducing one piece of dining etiquette in particular that even regular sushi eaters often forget. Be sure to check this one out!
Ready to take notes, grasshopper?
See anything you didn’t already know there? Let’s take a closer look and see what we’ve learned.
- Rule #1: No stabby-stabby, please
Your fish may well be fresh from the sea, but it is in no danger of swimming away. Never use your chopsticks to spear your sushi (or any food for that matter); it’s inelegant, and simply makes it fall apart. Don’t be tempted to bite or break it into pieces, either; sushi is made to go in your mouth in one, whole piece.
- Rule #2: Don’t dip the rice in soy sauce
Nigirizushi like that shown above is made up of two parts: a bed of slightly vinegared rice and topping, or “neta“, of some sort, often with a smidgeon of wasabi placed between them. The rice is slightly compacted when shaped by the chef but can easily fall apart if you mess around with it too much, and getting it wet by dunking it in soy sauce only ensures that the neta and rice separate and that you’re left picking grains of rice out of the soy sauce between morsels.
- Rule #3: “Do you actually want a slap there, son!?”
Mixing and mashing up your sushi in with soy sauce is, obviously, a big no-no. And if you did this in any decent sushi restaurant, particularly in front of the chef that prepared the food, you might even be told to leave there and then. Also, bear in mind that while soy sauce is provided, it’s not essential, and that one should use it sparingly so as not to overpower the taste of the sushi. So, avoid an E. Honda-style hundred hand slap keep a respectable distance between your sushi and your soy for the most-part of your meal.
- Rule #4: Take a hands-on approach
You might think that eating food with your hands would be considered rude in Japan, and for the most part you’d be right, but when it comes to sushi, eating with your hand (note the lack of a plural ‘s’ there – this isn’t a hamburger after all) is not only considered acceptable but many people believe it to be the only way to eat the stuff. This also makes it far easier to avoid the problem that may have occurred to you during point #2, namely how to dip sushi in soy sauce without getting the rice wet. Simply turn the sushi upside-down or on its edge and dab (not dunk) it in the soy sauce.
- Rule #5: Fish-side in, that’s a win
Many of us know to dip our sushi in neta-first, but did you know that there’s also a correct way to insert it into your mouth!? The reason we dip our sushi on the neta-side only isn’t just to keep the rice from falling apart; what we’re doing here is prepping the topping, i.e. the most important part of the sushi, so it only stands to reason that this is the bit we want to introduce to our taste buds first. So after applying that dab of sauce, keep your fish on the underside of the rice and pop it in you mouth (in one go, remember). Prepare for a taste explosion and quite possibly a nod of approval from your chef on being one of the few people out there who actually knows how to eat sushi properly.
Now you’re ready to embark on your next sushi adventure! Just make sure it’s not poisonous fugu…
Thanks to our partners Foodbest for the vid!