See the wonders of Japan through a variety of different videos.
Sightseeing, How to, Shopping, and other experiences in Japan. 802 Videos
Published on 04.27.2016
Sushi is undoubtedly the most popular Japanese food outside of the country. In recent years, exploding in popularity on a global scale, it has become one of everyone’s favourite foods. It is so popular that in some places, finding a sushi shop is as easy spotting any of the well-known fast-food chains.
Originally starting as a higher-end delicacy, today sushi can be found to suit different budgets, whether it be on a conveyor belt, pre-packed in the local supermarket or directly served by the itamae (the chef making the food in front of the customers). However, there are many misconceptions about the way sushi should be enjoyed. There are some rules related to eating sushi, which are there to emphasize the taste and bring more flavour, simply by changing a few habits. When sitting right in front of the itamae, it is especially important to follow these rules. For itamae spend years training before being given the opportunity to serve customers. As such, they appreciate customers who know how to appreciate their love and devotion to the art of making sushi.
First, some basics on the anatomy of nigiri and maki sushi.
Nigiri-zushi (in Japanese, if sushi is the second part of a word then it is pronounced as zushi) is rectangular shaped rice with neta (i.e. topping, for example salmon slices) on top. Makizushi is the rolled-up kind, whether it is rice on the outside or inside, or whether it is big or small.
The biggest mistake most foreigners make when eating sushi is to dip the rice in the soy sauce. This is in fact inaccurate- the rice shouldn’t touch the soy sauce at all. Instead, it is the neta that should be dipped in the soy sauce. Now, this may sound tricky, however there is a way around to doing this without twisting the whole arm. The easiest method is to turn the nigiri on its side and pick it up in that position and dip in the soy sauce. Afterwards, it will be easier to eat the sushi with the rice upwards, while the neta side with soy sauce on it is touching the tongue. By following this simple tweak, sushi will taste instantly better. The neta is the most delicious and prized part of sushi and therefore it deserves to be tasted in the right way.
When it comes to cutlery, what many people don’t know is that, it is perfectly acceptable to eat nigirizushi and makizushi using hands. Using hands will make dipping the neta in soy sauce much easier. However, chopsticks are still required for picking up sashimi, wasabi and ginger. Wasabi believed to destroy bacteria, is usually dotted by the itamae under the neta. However, it is possible to add more according to taste. On this point, it should also be noted that wasabi and soy sauce are not to be mixed; while ginger should be eaten alone as its purpose to clean the palate for enjoying each sushi’s unique taste.
There is also an order for eating sushi to enjoy more of the neta’s flavour. It is recommended to start with the lighter colours, such as white fish, and move onto darker colours, such as fatty tuna. This arrangement allows for gradually moving from lighter flavours to heavier ones, an arrangement that will make a difference for the taste buds. In the end upon finishing the meal, it is customary to thank the itamae by inviting him or her to sake or by simply saying “doumo arigatou” in Japanese, meaning “thank you”.