Reader Comments

Finding Wasabi Information

by Shirleen Huey (2020-03-23)

So this really is your first time going to a sushi restaurant, or simply, you are on your first date and chose to have some sushi.

Are you concerned about the right way to eat sushi in order to avoid making your sushi chef angry?

Here is your guide to eating sushi properly.

Just smile whenever you enter - Upon entering the restaurant, you may hear chefs or staff saying, "Irasshai Mase." (or Irasshai.) No need to say anything back in Japanese. Just say hello or greet back with a grin. They can be just saying, "welcome to our establishment." It's just a Japanese custom.

Say "Itadakimasu" prior to the meal - It's Japanese equal of "Bon Appetite." It loosely translates as "I am going to eat" or "For what I am about to receive." It simply shows one's gratitude to folks who made the meal possible (farmers, chefs, nature, etc.). Nothing religious. Everybody in Japan does this before they start eating their meal.

Sushi Bar is for Nigiri - If you want sashimi and nigiri, seat at the sushi bar. If you are going to order only rolls, especially American standard like California and Spicy Tuna Roll, I would recommend seating at the table.

Nigiri tastes best when eaten immediately after when it's made. That's the reason most sushi chefs prefer customers who order nigiri at the sushi bar.

Start with appetizers if you drink - Japanese sake drinkers find eating starch like rice affects the taste of sake, thus have a tendency to avoid ordering nigiri and maki at the beginning of the meal. If you love drinking, start with appetizers and small bites first then order sushi later.

Put wasabi on fish - In place of putting wasabi in your soy sauce, put wasabi directly on top of fish, and after that dip into soy sauce when eating sashimi. This way, you may taste fish, finding wasabi and soy sauce separately, and after that they are going to start to create a good harmony of flavor when you chew in our mouth. Additionally, you may adjust the total amount of wasabi for the second and third piece of sashimi. When eating nigiri, no need for extra wasabi since it's already added.

Omakase (chef's recommendation) is generally the very best way to order. - Omakase translates as, "I leave it up to you." It simply means you are trusting the chef. Obviously, the chef knows what's best, so it makes sense to ask the chef to give you what the chef thinks the top for you. It's OK to mention your likes, dislikes, and budget.

Start with "lighter" fish and move on to "darker" ones. - As a general guideline, it's recommended to start your nigiri with lighter flavor fish such as halibut, snapper. Then, you should move on to what is called "silver shinning" fish (hikarimono) like Japanese mackerel (saba), Spanish mackerel (aji), yellowtail, tuna then toro.

Use your fingers or chopsticks - Nigiri is additionally described as Edo (old Tokyo) style sushi. It was a form of fast food originally served at stand like hot dog stand. For this reason, it is completely fine to eat sushi with you fingers. In fact, it is meant to be eaten with your fingers. Knowing this, using chopsticks is also acceptable way to eat sushi

Order soup by the end of the meal - When eating sushi, Japanese orders soup at the end of the meal. Moreover, in most cases, it is not miso soup, and clear broth soup is liked by most Japanese. However in US, most chefs do understand the main difference between Japanese and Western culture, so they often feel OK about you ordering soup before a meal.

Eat ginger between the pieces - Gari/ginger does two things: it cleanses your palette and works as anti-bacterial agent against parasites which could come with consuming raw fish. It is not meant to be a side dish that you can keep ordering for an increasing number of.

Soy sauce lightly on fish, as opposed to rice - When eating nigiri, dip the fish lightly into soy sauce. If you dip the rice, it shall start to fall apart quickly.

One bite or two bites? - From the chef's viewpoint, it's preferred to eat nigiri with one bite. Should the piece is too big for your mouth, I think it's perfectly OK to eat in two bites (do so without placing the half piece on your plate.) In addition, I realize that there are numerous sushi chefs in Japan who cuts nigiri into two pieces to ensure that it's easier for the ladies to eat them.

Chopstick rest - There can be a ceramic or wooden piece of object right by your chopsticks. If for this reason, place your chopsticks horizontally (not vertically) on. It is a chopstick rest.

Giving alcohol to the chef is never a mandatory - It is a fact that some sushi chefs love drinking. Additionally it is true that some sushi chefs dislike drinking. Consequently, it really is wrong to assume that ordering beer and sake to provide them with is likely to make them happy. In Japan, the customer never orders a drink for the chef until he/she gets to know the chef.

In the end, there's absolutely no right or wrong - As Jiro Ono says and I completely agree with him, "Eat your sushi the way you like it." I assume that is the greatest way. Begin with Toro, if you feel like it. The very first Omakase piece I had at one of the top rated sushi bars in Los Angeles was Tuna. (This goes against the traditional rule of starting off with lighter fish.) Instead of worrying about making your chef angry, my attitude is the fact that in the event the chef gets angry about small things a customer does, I say go to an alternative restaurant and find a chef who's more acceptable. The reason is there really is no right or wrong in eating sushi.