Sushi Etiquette

Candy sushi is my kind of sushi [Via]

Candy sushi is my kind of sushi [Via]

I don’t even like sushi that much, so I might not be the best person for this, but when has that ever stopped me? Where we lived in California growing up, there was a sushi place that had a bar with a little channel of water and the sushi came by on little boats. It was great and I don’t know why more places don’t do it.

Luckily, most Americans will never go to Japan so we can enjoy sushi like the heathens that we are in nice, moderately priced Japanese restaurants. Or even better, via Seamless in the privacy of our own homes. However, if you want to show off your good manners or start planning a trip to see that guy in Jiro Dreams of Sushi, here are some tips:

Basic tips:

  • Don’t rub your chopsticks together because it implies that they are cheap. While you are at it, also don’t stand them up right in a bowl of rice (or anything else) because it is considered bad luck.
  • Don’t ask if something is fresh or ask for what’s fresh because it insults the chef that it isn’t all fresh.
  • Do eat sushi (the items with rice) with your fingers. Only eat sashimi (just fish) with chopsticks.
  • Do dip the fish side of nigiri (rice with fish on top) into the soy sauce, never the rice side, as that picks up too much soy sauce.
  • Do try to eat each piece in one bite (might be more difficult in some places, so two bites is okay too)
  • The pickled ginger shouldn’t be put on any sushi, but rather eaten between pieces as a palate cleanser.
  • Better sushi places put exactly the right amount of wasabi already on the sushi, so you shouldn’t add it to your soy sauce (except for sashimi)
  • If you order soup and aren’t giving a spoon, drink it from the bowl

Advanced tips:

  • Sit at the sushi bar and order your sushi directly from the chef (get drinks and sides from the waiter)
  • Eat each piece directly as the chef hands it to you because it is at it’s peak and will taste the best
  • Order omakase which is the chef’s choice if you are adventurous. However, it’s a bit rude to leave food on your plate, so be aware of how hungry and experimental you are.
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