Sushi, can easily be regarded as one of the most well know Japanese foods throughout the world. So famous that Sushi has grown to be part of other cultures and adapted worldwide, and although Sushi can be regarded as one of the world’s most popular foods, the fact that is most often overlooked specially for foreigners outside Japan or just coming to Japan is that there is a special etiquette when it comes to eating Sushi.
When I was living in America I would love to buy Sushi, specially the famous California Roll (that doesn’t exist in Japan) and eat it with or without soy sauce. Soy sauce for me was more of an optional plastic bag that came with my Sushi, oh boy was I missing out! When I did decide to eat the Sushi with the soy sauce I figured it was just like a dipping sauce where I would dip the Sushi until the soy sauce was soaked up and dripping soy sauce, or the term the Japanese people would use to describe this would be “becha-becha.”
Photo: Samson Loo on Flickr
Accompanying the soy sauce to my list of unknowns would be the ginger, and wasabi bags that came along with my Sushi. Wasabi is spicy so it is probably just like a Japanese hot sauce, but green right? No problem, I would just add as much as I can to my Sushi to compliment the ocean of soy sauce already dripping and add a piece of ginger to the top.
Now in Japan I was guilty of continuing my previous improper way of eating Sushi, until that one day I went to eat Sushi at my girlfriend’s mom’s house. This is the day my eyes were opened to this new etiquette and more proper way of eating this delicious meal!
The proper way to eat Sushi is not complicated with many rules, it is very straightforward and easy to learn.
First, you begin by picking up your Sushi with your chopsticks or your clean hands; hands are actually the more traditionally way of eating Sushi until recently. (Sashimi and Ginger are picked up with chopsticks.) You then bring the Sushi to your plate and turn the Sushi sideways and pick it up again.
Photo: Jon on Flickr
Next, you dip the Sushi in the soy sauce. You only dip the fish in the soy sauce just slightly, avoid too much soy sauce a hint of soy sauce is perfect and also avoid putting soy sauce on the rice.
The hard part is now over! Next, you put the Sushi in your mouth the same way you added soy sauce to it, which is fish down, rice up.
Photo: Maya Puspita on Flickr
This way you can fully appreciate the Sushi chef’s masterpiece and really taste everything perfectly.
The Sushi chef already added the perfect amount of wasabi between the fish and the rice but if you feel the need to add a little extra to your Sushi the way you do this is by using your chopsticks and applying just a dab on the top of the fish.
Photo: Andreas Nilsson on Flickr
The ginger is then ate only between Sushis to clear your mouth of the previous Sushi’s taste and allow you to enjoy the next Sushi to it’s fullest potential.
Now that you have read this and know the proper etiquette when it comes to eating Sushi, you can now impress your Japanese friends by following these simple rules! Let me know in the comments if you already knew the Japanese proper etiquette to eating Sushi or if this was the first time you heard about it!