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How Do Japanese Eat Sushi?

You will never again drop a piece of sushi into your soy sauce – Having trouble with your chopsticks? What was that? The majority of Japanese consume sushi with their hands. It is acceptable, especially with nigiri sushi (individual pieces of sushi with meat or fish on top of rice).

  • Miho: “Really, you can eat all sushi with your hands.
  • Some people now use chopsticks because they believe it to be cleaner, but in the majority of Japanese restaurants, you must first wipe your hands with a hot towel.
  • Only sashimi is never consumed with the hands.
  • However, did you know that sashimi is not sushi? Sushi is anything made with rice.

Sashimi is just sashimi.”

Chopsticks or hands are used to eat sushi.

Chopsticks with Sushi? – Yes or No? Some Americans are surprised to learn that sushi is traditionally eaten with fingers. When eating maki rolls or nigiri, chopsticks are unnecessary (raw fish atop rice). Sashimi, which consists of sliced raw fish, is eaten with chopsticks.

  • How can one remember when to use chopsticks versus hands? Simply consider this: touch the rice, not the fish.
  • If there is no rice available, use your chopsticks.
  • Another tip: When you break your chopsticks apart, it is impolite to rub them together to remove any wood fragments, as this implies that the chopsticks were of poor quality.

Chopsticks should not be used to pass food from person to person when sharing a plate with friends. Pass the entire dish instead. When the plate reaches you, use the wider end of your chopsticks to transfer the food from the large plate to your own. Then, use the narrow end to transfer food from the plate to the mouth.

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A small dish is provided at each dining table for holding the sauce and dipping a bite of food. To add too much soy sauce to this dish is considered wasteful and avaricious (see mottainai ). Put in a small amount and add more as necessary. When eating nigiri-zushi, proper sushi etiquette dictates dipping the side with the topping into the soy sauce to prevent the rice from absorbing too much sauce.

  • It is considered impolite to leave stray grains of rice floating in the sauce, but it can be difficult to avoid if you have trouble using chopsticks.
  • Wasabi (green horseradish) should not be combined with the soy sauce dish.
  • Instead, apply a small amount of wasabi to the sushi after dipping it.
  • In sushi-only restaurants, it is perfectly acceptable to eat nigiri-zushi with your fingers instead of chopsticks.

It is not common for Japanese people to eat or drink while walking in public, so it is prudent to err on the side of conservatism in this regard. In Japan, drink vending machines typically have a recycling bin for used bottles and cans, so it is possible to consume the beverage at the machine.

During the summer, it is common to see groups drinking near vending machines. Some consider eating in public to be impolite, but this opinion is not shared by all. Many Japanese restaurants provide diners with wooden/bamboo chopsticks that must be separated near the top after a single use (which are thicker than the bottoms).

Consequently, the attachment area may generate small splinters. Never rub chopsticks together to remove splinters; this is considered extremely rude and implies that the utensils are of low quality. If no other utensils are available, use the smooth bottom ends to pick up food from serving dishes at the beginning of the meal.

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Then consume while holding food between the hashi’s bottoms. If you later want to use your hashi to take more food from serving dishes, use the top ends to do so in order to avoid ‘contaminating’ the food on the tray. At the conclusion of a meal, it is polite to return single-use chopsticks partially into their original paper wrapper.

This conceals the soiled chopsticks and indicates that the package has been opened. In Japanese restaurants, customers are given oshibori, a rolled hand towel. Using the towel to wipe the face or neck is considered impolite; however, some people, typically men, do this in more casual restaurants.

Nonwoven towelettes are replacing oshibori made of cloth. In any situation, an uncertain diner can observe what others are doing, and non-Japanese people who ask how to do something properly are generally regarded favorably for their recognition of cultural differences and desire to learn Japanese customs.

It is proper etiquette to cover one’s mouth with the other hand when using toothpicks. It is considered impolite to blow one’s nose in public, especially in a restaurant; cloth handkerchiefs should never be used for this purpose. In contrast, sniffling is acceptable as an alternative to blowing one’s nose.

Should sushi be consumed in a single bite?

The Method – Harmonizing Your Flavors – Why then is sushi served with wasabi and ginger? Let’s discuss this, and then describe the proper way to consume sushi. Similar to horseradish, the wasabi is extremely potent and spicy, but not in the same way as hot peppers.

  1. It has a sinus-clearing burn and heat that lasts only a few seconds.
  2. People who desire an extra kick frequently combine wasabi with soy sauce, but more on that later.
  3. However, the pickled ginger is present for a different purpose.
  4. Pickled ginger has a very mild taste and a soothing flavor, which can help you get past the horseradish’s pungency and also removes the taste of your previous sushi roll, preparing you for the next dish.
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Ready to discover how to eat sushi in the traditional manner? This is what you will do!

  1. Receive your sushi plate from the chef or server.
  2. A small amount of soy sauce should be placed in a bowl or on a plate.
  3. Soak a sushi piece in the soy sauce. If you desire more heat, use your chopsticks to “brush” additional wasabi onto your sushi.
  4. Consume sushi. Nigiri and sashimi should be consumed in a single bite, whereas larger American-style rolls may require two or more bites.
  5. Completely chew the sushi and allow the flavor to coat the inside of your mouth.
  6. If you’re drinking sake with your sushi, now would be a good time to sip some.
  7. Eat one of the pieces of pickled ginger on your plate. This can be done in between each bite or roll. This helps clear your palate and eliminates any lingering sushi roll flavor.
  8. Repeat until you can no longer move or you run out of sushi.

That is all! These are the basic guidelines for sushi consumption. You are not required to follow these rules if you choose not to. Nobody will judge your method of sushi consumption. However, these guidelines do help you maximize the flavor of your meal, and they are traditional – and it’s fun to follow tradition, particularly when eating a dish with as long a history as sushi!