Sushi is a delicacy that few can resist. But do you know how to eat it correctly? With help from accounts and recommendations from digital creators Sachi Tanaka and Let’s Ask Shogo, we’ve compiled these five things you should never do when eating sushi, especially if you’re doing it in Japan.
Not two bites
Sushi is eaten in one sitting. According to YouTuber Shogo, Let’s Ask Shogo, “part of the experience of eating sushi is how it looks, but also the relationship between the diner and the cook.” For the Japanese, “destroying sushi before eating it is disrespectful”.
That’s why he and Tanaka insist that you should always eat it in one bite. Of course, Shogo specifies: “if it is too big for you, you can always ask for a smaller piece of fish or less rice.”
Do not soak the rice
There are three reasons that Shogo says make brushing rice with soybeans a complete taboo in Japan, his home country. The first is that you can accidentally put too much soy in your sushi and ruin it.
But you also risk the rice falling apart before you put it in your mouth. Or that the rice crumbs end up swimming in the bowl of soy.
The Kyoto native recommends, to simply dip the fish, to “first flip the piece of sushi onto the plate itself, then pick it up with chopsticks and dip it in the soybeans.” Additionally, Shogo advises “not to overdo it with soy” because “it can change the flavor of the sushi.”
Do not mix wasabi with soy
Wasabi, Tanaka explains on his Instagram, is never mixed with soy; something we are very used to seeing. Instead, you can place a little on the fish to enhance its flavor.
Something similar happens with pickled ginger or gari: don’t eat it with sushi, because you’ll completely kill its flavor. Gari is used to cleanse the palate and prevent flavors from mixing in the mouth. Grab a bite between pieces to enjoy the different flavors of the sushi.
Do not use a fork or chopsticks
“Even if you don’t know how to use chopsticks, don’t use a fork,” advises Tanaka. And he recommends that, in this case, you use your hands. To do this, remember that you have the oshibori or otefuki, a wet, cold or hot towel, which is offered in restaurants and teahouses in Japan.
Also, don’t stick your chopsticks in rice or any other food. According to Shogo on his YouTube channel, “this act makes you look like you don’t know how to eat and are an immature person.” Also, again, “it is a way of destroying food before eating it and is considered disrespectful to whoever cooked it.”
But not only that: the gesture of sticking the chopsticks into the rice is also considered a call for bad luck. And in Japan, during funerals, a bowl of rice in which a few sticks are stuck is left as an offering to the dead.
Do not separate the rice from the fish
Shogo explains that, even among the Japanese themselves, there is a growing tendency to eat only fish and leave rice on the plate to “eat fewer calories”. However, he recalls that it is “somewhat disrespectful to the leader”. And he insists: “You should always eat rice and fish together“, because if you don’t want rice, “for that you can order sashimi” and avoid offending anyone.
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