I recently got to read the February 2011 issue of Reader’s Digest, which had a great, useful article on how to eat sushi. I’ve been eating sushi for more than 20 years, and now that I think about it, I have never really read up on how to really eat it the way the Japanese do.
The tips are from Iron Chef’s Masaharu Mori oto. I’ve tried the tips myself and they do make eating sushi a more pleasurable experience. Here’s a summary of how to eat sushi and sashimi. And yes, there’s more to sushi than dipping it in soy sauce. I’ve tried the tips myself during my last Japanese restaurant food trip and they do make eating sushi a more delicious, more pleasurable experience.
Tip 1: Eat from Light to Dark
I can attest to this. You will appreciate the taste of sushi if you eat the light colors first, which are mild in flavor, and then go to the dark-colored, bold-flavored fish. You will taste the flavors build up gently like a well-written movie approaching its peak scene — rather than random eating, which tend to confuse the palate.
Tip 2: Where to Put Wasabi — Not on the Soy Sauce
It’s not to be diluted in soy sauce. The best way to put wasabi is to spread a small amount on the sushi or sashimi itself. It will be, somewhat spicier though. At least, the spiciness will clear your nose very well. Haha!
Tip 3: Eat the Pickled Ginger
It’s not a garnish. Neither do you eat it with the sushi itself. It’s meant to be eaten in between different kinds of fish to cleanse your palate. Oh, just make sure you don’t eat the green plastic strip that is made to resemble grass of vegetables.
Tip 4: Don’t Marinate the Fish
You simply don’t. Just dip one side of the sushi, or dip the fish itself and not the rice.
There is one more tip from Chef Morimoto.
Tip 5: You can let go of the chopsticks and eat the sushi by hand.
And as street food, it is best popped into the mouth instead of being nibbled slowly. Similar to petit fours, which are eaten in one bite.
I can’t wait to have my next Japanese food trip!
Reference: Reader’s Digest, February 2011