Are you eating your sushi the right way?

Words: Crush

Put down your chopsticks. Step away from the sushi bar and bow your head. Like thousands of South Africans, you have probably just committed one of the greatest sushi faux pas in history. Let’s find out what you should and shouldn’t be doing.

Rule 1. Eat cut rolls with your hands, in Japan, sushi is eaten with your fingers, in one or two bites with chopsticks reserved only for eating Sashimi or noodle dishes.

Rule 2. You are actually not supposed to dunk sushi in Soy sauce. Soaking sushi in Soy makes sushi fall apart, overpowers  and drowns out the flavours.

Rule 3. The slither of ginger you were just about to plonk into the Soy is supposed to be eaten on its own after eating each sushi item. It is supposed to cleanse the palate, so you can taste the next different sushi item.

MAIN GOAL: When eating sushi, remember that less is more.  Overdosing on wasabi, for example, will make it taste bitter, while just a splash and no more of lime juice, or a pinch of finely sliced spring onion, compliments sea bream, red roman or yellowtail sashimi.

Rule 4. In a traditional Japanese restaurant a waiter will hand you a hot steamed towel, known as an ‘ushibori’. This towel is for wiping your hands before eating sushi, and not for cleaning grubby paws after your meal is done.


Rule 5. Don’t order Hand Rolls for take-away or when eating on a side table in a restaurant as they become soggy quickly. Hand Rolls were designed to be eaten immediately.

Rule 6. Be patient when waiting for your order to arrive. Remember that it is handmade, so enjoy a glass of sake (Japanese white wine), beer or a glass of Sauvignon Blanc while you wait.

Rule 7. When seated at a sushi bar it is customary to buy the chef a drink or tip him, especially after he has made special menu items not served in the menu.

FUN NOTE: Wasabi is a root vegetable known in English as Japanese horseradish. The correct technique is to place a small amount of wasabi on each piece of sushi with your chopstick before eating.

Rule 8. It’s recommended that sushi lovers sit at the bar, as you can see all the fresh ingredients displayed in the display fridge and the items on offer. You can also see how the chef makes it, and the skill he has.

Rule 9. A golden nugget of advice would be to try drink Miso soup or green tea before eating sushi as it warms up the tummy.

Rule 10. To establish if the sushi you’re eating has been properly prepared and seasoned, taste the rice first. If the rice is flavoured correctly, generally the sushi will be good.

Here are the best Japanese restaurants in Cape Town if you want to try your new-found knowledge.

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