A cute chibi anime girl with pink hair wearing traditional Japanese clothes (kimono) eating sushi with chopsticks in a sushi restaurant

How to properly eat Sushi according to Japanese customs 🍣πŸ₯’πŸ‡―πŸ‡΅


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Sushi is a famous Japanese dish that has gained immense popularity worldwide. The traditional way of eating sushi involves specific customs that are followed to respect the culture and honor the art of sushi-making. Here is a guide on how to eat sushi properly according to Japanese traditions.

  1. Choose the right sushi restaurant: When selecting a sushi restaurant, ensure it has a good reputation and that the chefs use fresh and high-quality ingredients. A good sushi restaurant should also have a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere.
  2. Consider sitting at the counter: Sitting at the counter is the traditional way to eat sushi. It allows you to watch the chef prepare the sushi and engage with them if you have any questions or requests.
  3. Use chopsticks or your hands: Using chopsticks is the preferred way to eat sushi. But if you are not confident using chopsticks, it is acceptable to use your hands to eat sushi, especially if it is a type of sushi that is difficult to eat with chopsticks, such as nigiri. However, you should wash your hands before eating and avoid licking your fingers. Even though some restaurants may offer forks and spoons, eating sushi with your hands is more appropriate than using a fork. If you do choose to use chopsticks, make sure to use them correctly. When using chopsticks, make sure you do not cross them. Crossing chopsticks is considered a bad omen in Japanese culture. You should also avoid pointing chopsticks at people or leaving them in your rice bowl.
  4. Use soy sauce sparingly: Dipping sushi into soy sauce is a common practice, but it is vital to use it sparingly. Pour a small amount of soy sauce into the small dish provided and use it to dip the fish side of the sushi. Do not dip the rice side into the soy sauce, as it will make the rice fall apart.
  5. Dip the fish, not the rice: When it comes to soy sauce, dip the fish side of the sushi into the soy sauce and not the rice. This is because the rice will absorb too much soy sauce, which can overpower the taste of the fish. Also, leaving rice in the soy sauce bowl is considered rude.
  6. Eat sushi in one bite: Eating sushi in one bite is customary. This allows you to experience the flavors and textures of the sushi in their entirety. If the sushi is too big, use your chopsticks to cut it in half or grab a bite and put the rest back on your plate. Don’t try to take multiple bites out of a single piece of sushi.
  7. Eat in a specific order: If you are eating a variety of sushi, it is best to start with the lighter and milder-tasting sushi and work your way towards the heavier and richer-tasting sushi. This is because the heavier sushi can overpower the taste buds, making it difficult to appreciate the lighter sushi.
  8. Drink tea between sushi: Drinking tea between sushi is a common practice in Japan. It helps to cleanse the palate and refreshes the taste buds, allowing you to fully appreciate the taste of each sushi piece.
  9. Use the provided pickled ginger: Pickled ginger is supplied as a palate cleanser between different types of sushi. Pickled ginger is not supposed to be a salad or side dish. Take a small piece of pickled ginger and eat it between different types of sushi to cleanse your palate.
  10. Use wasabi sparingly: Wasabi is a common accompaniment to sushi, but it should be used sparingly. The chef will usually put a small amount of wasabi on the sushi, and adding an unreasonable amount could be interpreted as rude towards the chef.
  11. Don’t mix wasabi and soy sauce: Mixing wasabi and soy sauce is not the traditional way of eating sushi. Instead, you can put a small amount of wasabi directly onto the fish before eating it. If you want to add more wasabi, do it before you dip the fish into soy sauce.
  12. Don’t waste sushi: It is considered rude to waste sushi. Only take what you can eat, and don’t leave any sushi pieces uneaten on your plate. Not wasting food should be considered common sense across all cultures.
  13. Appreciate the sushi: Finally, take the time to enjoy the umami and rich fish flavors. Sushi is supposed to be a cultural meal and not fast food.
  14. Thank the sushi chef: It is customary to thank the sushi chef after eating. You can say “Arigatou gozaimasu” (thank you very much) or “Gochisousama deshita” (thank you for the meal).

Sushi is not just a delicious food, but it also has cultural significance. Following the traditional customs while eating sushi can help you appreciate the art of sushi-making and honor Japanese culture. So, the next time you eat sushi, keep these customs in mind and enjoy the true essence of sushi.

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