Combining rice, seaweed, and fresh fish, sushi is a beautifully simple dish. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t strict rules for eating the Japanese delicacy.
The biggest mistake that people outside of Japan make is placing pickled ginger atop the sushi, then drenching the morsel in soy sauce. Putting ginger on the fish also goes entirely against Japanese etiquette, according to Tokyo sushi chef Naomichi Yasuda.
In a Munchies video, Yasuda reveals that another common error is dipping the fish into soy sauce, and waggling it off. “Shaking is just for finishing in the men’s room,” he says with a laugh.
Traditionally, maki rolls - which are encased in seaweed - are gently tapped in soy sauce by hand and popped into the mouth whole. A single piece of ginger is then eaten to cleanse the palette.
Nigiri sushi - where a block of rice is the base for a topping - is gripped with chopsticks and turned on its side so the fish can be dipped into soy sauce.
Destroying the delicate flavour of the fish by covering the sushi in wasabi is another big ‘no no’, Sterling Ridings, chef at sushi bar Uchiko recently told Thrillist.
Filling a dish with too much soy sauce and rubbing chopsticks together, meanwhile, are also seen as a snub to the chef.