How to Eat Sushi Like a Chef
Soy sauce is not required to enjoy sushi.
So much of American cuisine is about big portions and piling on the add-ons. You get hot dogs and pizza with ‘the works’ and hamburgers ‘all the way’. At Uchi, one of my primary goals was to take the sushi bar experience and bring it into the whole restaurant. Our staff is trained to pick up on what the customer likes and dislikes so they can guide them through a more educational, interactive experience. I want people leaving Uchi having tried things they never would have expected… Without having to touch their soy sauce dish.
Below are a few tips worth knowing about really enjoying sushi.
Don’t put your sushi in the soy sauce. You don’t sit rice in soy sauce, if you even use soy sauce. You should wipe only a small amount of soy on to the fish. Try to use as little soy sauce as possible. The Japanese never serve soy sauce with sushi. You have to ask for it.
There’s a reason for that.
Don’t make a paste. You’re not supposed to make a paste, mortar, putty, or anything gloppy with wasabi and soy sauce. Like soy, you should try to use as little as possible.
This is used to cleanse your palate. It’s not to eat with your sushi. Not only is it pickled, but it’s ginger. Two really strong flavors. So if you put that on your sushi, you know what that is going to taste like? PICKLED GINGER!
With fresh French fries, you have only a few minutes to eat them before they’re soggy and gross. Same with sushi. It’s supposed to be cold fish and warm rice. Eat it when it’s served. Otherwise it’s just dying on your plate.
You don’t need them as much as you think you do. Sushi was originally made to eat with your hands. The only time you need chopsticks is for sashimi. Everything else, you can eat with your hands. Even nigiri, which is a piece of fish served on a small pod of rice.
Nigiri is the sushi rice pressed together with a slice of some sort of fish on top. You really shouldn’t take two bites. It’s supposed to be one bite. If it’s just too big, hold it with your fingers. Smear a dab of soy sauce on top of the fish (not the rice) and take a bite. Then take the second bite without setting it down.
Respect your sushi chefs:
The good ones really know what they’re doing. If you have a chance to eat sushi, always do it at the sushi bar. Every sushi chef has a stash that they want to share. Just trust they’re going to give you something good.
Clean your plate:
If you’re in Japan or an authentic Japanese restaurant, don’t ever, ever, ever leave anything on your plate. You eat everything. Their philosophy is, “We’re an island nation. We barely have enough resources. So when you have something on your plate, you better be thankful for it. And you better eat it.”