Go ahead, wear that nice white shirt to the sushi restaurant.
By this point in time, the international foodie community has largely moved past its phase of thinking of sushi as a “challenging” food. Sure, certain specific types of sushi, like, say, fish sperm, are still terrifyingly intimidating, but the simple willingness to eat sliced raw fish is no longer the testament to one’s courageously adventurous palate that it was in the past.
The cultural barriers of eating sushi have also become much lower, as the rest of the world wises up to the fact that eating in a sushi restaurant is not the minefield of potential faux pas that the West once assumed it to be.
There is, however, one difficult challenge that remains when eating sushi. Each individual morsel is meant to be dipped in a dish of soy sauce before being eaten, and with so many opportunities to dribble some of the dark-colored condiment on yourself, it’s really only a matter of time until a drop falls onto your clothing, especially if you’re not used to using chopsticks.
You could remedy the problem by simply wearing the same shirt every time you go out to eat sushi, in hope that eventually you’ll spill so much that you’ll have a uniformly soy sauce-colored shirt. Or you could take the advice of Japanese Twitter user @komage1007, who was let in on a soy sauce stain-removing strategy by an employee at a sushi restaurant he was dining at.
こまげ(ラブグラフ) (@komage1007) August 03, 2017
“I went out to eat sushi wearing a white shirt when some soy sauce splashed on me. I didn’t know what to do, but without my saying anything an employee came up to me and asked “Did you get soy sauce on your clothes? If you put some carbonated water on it, then wipe it with a wet towel, it’ll come right out.”
Most Japanese restaurants, as a matter of course, give customers a moist hand towel, called an oshibori, when they’re seated, and with the mixed drinks called chu-his or “sours” (a mixture of shochu, soda water, and fruit flavors) a nearly ever-present menu fixture in Japan, soda water is pretty easy to come by as well.
The employee swiftly brought over a tea cup filled with soda water, @komage1007 followed the recommended procedure, and the soy sauce stain disappeared completely, just as promised. “It’s the perfect way to handle a spill,” @komage1007 tweeted.
He also added that the restaurant he’d been at was the branch of popular chain Sushi Zanmai in the Susukino district of Sapporo. As Hokkaido’s largest entertainment and bar district, the restaurant no doubt gets many tipsy, less-than-dexterous customers, and so @komage1007 probably isn’t the first, or the last, customer whose wardrobe has been saved by the stain-removing trick.
Follow Casey on Twitter, where he can usually finish a sushi meal without spilling any soy sauce on himself, but makes no promises about the table.