Japan Australia Pages

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Rules of Sushi

Like most things in Japanese life there are precise codes and formalities involved with eating the national dish of sushi. Its preparation, presentation and consumption are subject to a surprising number of rules.

Here are some of the most important sushi etiquette


Wasabi 

To mix or not to mix? The correct technique is to place a small amount of wasabi on each piece of sushi with your chopstick before eating. These days it is quite common for people outside of Japan to mix their wasabi in soy sauce as a dipping sauce for the sushi. I tend to do this myself and although not technically correct, it is acceptable.

Dipping 

What is the correct way to dip sushi into soy sauce? The rice part of the sushi should not touch the soy sauce as it has already been flavoured and will tend to fall apart easily in the sauce. Only the fish, seafood or other part of the sushi should touch the sauce.

How many bites?

Sushi is meant to be eaten in one bite. It is considered rude to bite it in two. If the sushi is too big, ask the chef to cut it in half. They will not be offended and are happy to oblige.

Fingers or Chopsticks? 

Sushi was traditionally eaten only by hand. These days most people eat sushi with chopsticks. How can I tell which to use? If you visit a restaurant where you are given a specific hand towel to wipe your fingers then the restaurant is recommending that you eat using your hands.

Where to Start? 

Yes, believe it or not there is a correct order in which to eat sushi. Start first with the most delicately flavoured fish and gradually proceed to stronger flavours or fattier fish such as tuna or eel, and finish with the sweet egg sushi.

Why is there ginger? 

The beautiful pink ginger is meant to be eaten between mouthfuls of sushi to refresh the palate, so it’s ready for a new flavour and to aid in digestion.

The 3 Golden Rules

Don’t forget these 3 keys rules: don’t stick your chopsticks upright in the rice; don’t cut a piece of sushi in half with your chopsticks; and don’t mix wasabi in your soy sauce.

These are formal rules of etiquette and while correct as long as you enjoy your sushi that is fine with me.

How to make Sushi Rolls

15 comments:

  1. Concerning the wasabi, you shouldn't do anything with it.
    As you mentioned, definitely don't mix it with the soy sauce (this is for sashimi only), but you shouldn't put any on your sushi either.
    If your sushi was prepared properly, there should be just the right amount of wasabi in between the fish and the rice, put there by the chef. That's all the wasabi you need.
    If your sushi doesn't already have wasabi inside, may I advise to never go back to that restaurant, they don't know what they're doing (which is very common outside of Japan).

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    1. Thanks David, Some good advice there. Yes, the sushi if prepared correctly should contain the right amount of wasabi. If you like a bit more than you can add it as advised above in the post.

      John

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  2. Good post for those venturing to eat sushi for the first time. :)

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    1. Thanks Lina, As always, appreciate the positive feedback. A great guide to the person trying sushi for the first time as well as those of us who want to follow the correct formal etiquette :)

      John

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  3. Have you ever seen this very funny video? There's a series of 'em, but this episode is about sushi:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDL8yu34fz0

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Rurousha, I don't think I've seen this one. I'll check it out :)

      John

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    2. I love it! Started out pretty serious but had me rolling on the floor with laughter. Thanks for sharing this little gem :)

      John

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  4. Wasabi is my favorite but most children eat "Sabinuki". :)
    Nice tips.

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  5. Thanks Cocomino, Yeah, I'm a big fan of wasabi as well :) Definitely need sabi-nuki for the kids ;)

    John

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  6. I'll try to follow those rules when eating sushi... Whether by hand or by chopstick, sushi is really a good Japanese delicacy. :)

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    1. Thanks Steve, It is a great Japanese delicacy that can be enjoyed by the whole family. I mostly follow these rules but as long as you enjoy sushi that is the main thing :)

      John

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  7. Hi J-A, thanks for the guide on sushi etiquette. I am also pleased to report I have discovered a second Mos Burger outlet in Brisbane City - EXCITED!!!!! Any tips on Mos Burger etiquette :)

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    1. Hi rObfOs, Thanks for stopping by and glad you enjoyed the guide. Great to hear that there is a second Mos Burger in Brisbane. We are still waiting for the first in Melbourne. No real Mos Burger etiquette required, just enjoy the great burgers :)

      John

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  8. Thanks. Great tips, sOme of them even I didn't know after having lived in Japan for around 8 years total over 20 something years and being married to a Japanese woman, lol

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Thomas, They are very useful and practical for just about any place. I've been using these for awhile and they have helped me find some great deals :)

      John

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