Sushi is a group of Japanese dishes made with vinegared rice and raw or cooked ingredients like fish, vegetables, and tamagoyaki, a sweet omelet rolled up. Sushi rolls can be big and colorful, like a futomaki, or simple and elegant, like a nigiri. You can eat sushi in any NYC sushi restaurant however you feel most comfortable, but there is a right way to eat the rolls. If you follow the rules for eating sushi, you’ll have a better time at restaurants and home. Here’s the right way to eat sushi in any sushi restaurant in New York:
Getting to Know the Chef
First, if you want to take the experience seriously, you should sit at the counter. Go right in the middle. You should only talk to your sushi chef when you need to, but you should ask him immediately what he recommends. He probably chose the fish himself from the market because he knows what looks good that day and wants to show you how much he appreciates your trust. Just grabbing a menu and making a random choice shows that you don’t care what he thinks. Even if you don’t follow his advice, the fact that you care about what’s happening behind the scenes will be appreciated.
Getting Ready To Eat Sushi
The wet towel is for cleaning your hands before you eat sushi. This is because maki and nigiri sushi are traditionally eaten with your fingers, which is probably what you’re used to seeing. Use the towel to wipe your fingers clean, then put it away. Please don’t use it to clean your face. Only a tiny bit of soy sauce should go into the bowl. If you need to, you can always add more later. Serious Japanese dining rules say that soy sauce should not be wasted. Also, if you pour out too much, it means you think the fish is old and needs a lot of “fixing” before you even try it.
Get Your Hands Clean
Even if you don’t plan to use your hands to eat sushi, you should wash or wipe them before your meal. Most sushi restaurants give customers a hot towel to clean their hands with.
If You Need To, Use Chopsticks
Use chopsticks to eat your sushi if you’d rather not use your hands. Grab the top stick about a third of the way down by putting your thumb and index finger around it. The bottom stick should rest against your ring finger at the base of your thumb and index finger. You can support move the peak chopstick with your middle finger though maintaining the bottom chopstick. The tips of the tools should be the only parts that touch. Put enough pressure on the sushi roll with your chopsticks to lift it to your mouth.
Eat Each Piece Separately
Take one or two bites from one piece of sushi at a time. Don’t cut your sushi into smaller pieces or pull the fish out of the rest of the ingredients.
Put Some Soy Sauce On The Fish
Soy sauce should only be put on the fish side of your sushi. If you put too much on the rice, it will change the taste of the fish. Nigiri sushi is easy to dip because the fish is on the rice. Maki sushi, on the other hand, is harder to dip because the fish and rice are wrapped up in a sheet of nori. Don’t put the whole piece of sushi in the soy sauce dish, or the roll might break apart. It is also bad sushi manners to put wasabi right into your soy sauce. Instead, put each condiment on your roll on its own.
Use Very Little Wasabi
Wasabi, which is made from the real plant, is often served at traditional sushi restaurants in Japan. On the other hand, most sushi bars in the United States use fake wasabi, which is made of cornstarch, mustard flour, food coloring, horseradish, and other things. Use just a little wasabi so it doesn’t take over the taste of your rolls. Rolls with wasabi are often made by chefs at high-end restaurants.
Use Ginger To Clean Your Taste Buds
Some people like to put ginger (known as “gari”) on their sushi, but it’s best to eat it between different sushi rolls.
Should You Use Chopsticks Or Your Hands To Eat Sushi?
You can pick up sushi with your hands or chopsticks. In Japan, people often eat sushi with their hands instead of chopsticks. To clean their hands, sushi bars give customers an “oshibori,” a hot, wet towel, before a meal. Don’t rub your chopsticks together when you’re eating sushi. This could tell the wait staff that you don’t like the quality of the tools. Pay attention to where you put your chopsticks at the end of the meal. Avoid putting them in a Japanese funeral style by crossing them vertically over your bowl.