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9 Etiquette Tips for Eating Sushi Like a Real Japanese

Sushi is one of the best-known Japanese dishes in the world, and it has numerous variations. The traditional form of the delicacy is composed only of rice and raw fish, however, in its internationalization process, each country tried to create new sushi options, according to the public’s taste. Here in Brazil, for example, the version with cream cheese and chives is usually very successful!

What you may not know is that Japanese cuisine has very specific rules, and we, from awesome.club we decided to research more about them, sharing with you everything we discovered.

1. Clean hands

If you haven’t mastered the technique of eating with chopsticks (wooden sticks), the Japanese recommend eating with your hands. So, it is essential that they are very clean.

2. Food order is very important

Whether it’s an all-you-can-eat restaurant or an à la carte restaurant, it’s important that you know in what order you should eat your sushi. In Japan, people typically start with sashimi, which is basically raw fish or seafood. Then, usually comes the nigiri, which is the piece of rice and fish joined by a strip of seaweed. Then it’s time for the makizushi, which is the famous seaweed roll with rice. And to top it off, they usually eat temaki, a cone of nori seaweed stuffed with rice, fish and seafood.

3. Moderation in Shoyu

Before starting to taste your sushi, it is essential to put some soy sauce (shoyu) in a small container. This sauce can be prepared by the same “Itamae” (cook) and must come separately. In some parts of the world, shoyu is mixed with wasabi (horse root), but according to Japanese chefs, this should never be done, as it changes the taste of the dish.

4. All at once!

Each sushi must be eaten at once. You can dip the piece in soy sauce (shoyu) on the fish side (never rice), bringing it directly to your mouth. Please note that, according to the etiquette, sushi cannot be bitten into several pieces. Sushi pieces are usually small, and even though it may seem difficult to chew them whole, this is perfectly possible. Not to mention that, in this way, the flavors of the delicacy are more perceived by the palate.

5. No shaking!

Dipping a piece of sushi in soy sauce and then shaking it is considered to be in poor taste. In addition to being seen as impolite, it can dirty the table or worse: stain the clothes of people who are around. The right thing is to pass the sushi lightly through the shoyu and eat right away.

6. Don’t forget the ginger

Typically, ginger is served alongside the wasabi or in the same container as the soy sauce. It has a very particular purpose, which is to cleanse the palate between one piece of sushi and another. That’s why ginger should never be used in soy sauce.

7. Order only what you will eat

Thanks to the popularity of Japanese restaurants, customers often order two or more sushi dishes at the same time, often ignoring the right order of food. It is very important to know that the ideal is to order one dish at a time, ordering another only after finishing the first one. This way, the sushi comes out fresh. Not to mention that leaving food scraps is a big lack of manners.

8. Some tricks for toothpicks

The chopsticks (hashis) should always be made of wood, as the material helps to preserve and enhance the flavor of the food. Between one sushi and another, the ideal is to leave the sticks “resting” together and parallel to each other on the ceramic support called hashioki. Never leave toothpicks lying around on the table. Do not bite or play with them.

9. To eat in a group

If you have decided to eat sushi with a group of friends, the ideal is to use the widest part of the sticks to remove the pieces from the main course to place in your individual. Never pass food from one container to another with the same toothpick you use to eat or with your hands, as for the Japanese, this is reminiscent of the funeral rite that is performed when someone’s remains are passed from person to person. It’s not just bad taste, it’s also offensive.

As a last tip, we advise that, if it is possible to speak with the sushiman who will prepare your meal, greet him and ask what he suggests. That way, you’ll have a unique, fresh, and probably more thoughtfully prepared lunch or dinner.

Do you know any other facts about sushi? Leave a comment with your tip!

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