How to behave at a sushi restaurant

How to behave at a sushi restaurant

TOKYO —

If you’ve ever found yourself at the counter of a sushi restaurant, nervously watching and copying other customers around you, don’t worry; you’re not alone. It turns out that even Japanese people aren’t too sure of themselves when it comes to dining with sushi.

Thankfully, Japan has etiquette guides for everything – from how to wear a suit to how to eat a hamburger – so proper tips aren’t hard to find. We’ve sourced a compilation of sushi manners that outlines some of the finer points, while also giving us an insight into the type of things that confuse Japanese sushi customers.

First up, “irasshaimase” or “welcome.” Let’s take roll-call with the main styles of sushi (photo left). Nigiri-zushi: Hand molded, with neta (topping) on a bed of sushi rice; “makimono:” Sushi rice with a seaweed wrap and a variety of fillings. These come in regular roll shapes (“makizushi” or roll sushi) and more rectangular, battleship shapes (“gunkanmaki”).

How to Order

Either tell the staff your budget to receive a specially designed course from the chef, or make your requests from the menu. Keep in mind that it’s best to start with lighter flavors and then move on to stronger flavors as the course progresses.
 
While “toro” (supple, fatty tuna) is a popular choice for many people, ordering it in bulk and dismissing all other choices is considered bad form. A well-rounded order with a few different varieties is a much better way to get on good terms with the chef.

They say you can test the flavors of a sushi restaurant by their egg rolls but the “anago” (conger eel) and the “konoshiro” (gizzard shad) are also great ways to see the chef’s talent and try distinctive flavors.
 
When the “makimono” comes out, it’s a sign that your specially designed course is at an end. Make any additional orders now if you’re not full.

How to eat

—Eat the sushi as soon as it’s placed in front of you.
—Eat it with one hand or with chopsticks; either is no problem.
—It’s important to eat the sushi in one mouthful. If you think the sushi might be too big, then ask for it to be cut or molded into a smaller portion.
—When dipping sushi into soy sauce, do it so the sauce only touches the “neta” (the fish topping) and not the rice. You don’t have to totally turn the sushi over to get the job done; just tilt it to the side and dip the tip of the “neta.” As rice soaks up the soy sauce, it’s likely to crumble.
—“Gunkan” sushi might spill and fall apart if tipped, so a bit of sneaky sauce on the rice is forgiven here, as long as you aim mostly for a seaweed dip.

What to avoid

—Don’t drown your sushi in loads of soy sauce. Taste the fish and rice.
—Don’t take the “neta” off the sushi rice; dip it in soy and then return it to the top of its rice bed.
—Don’t wear a strong smelling fragrance if you plan to sit at the counter
—Don’t show off half-hearted sushi knowledge. Show some humility to the chef and he’s sure to treat you in kind.

Source: Matome Naver

Read more stories from RocketNews24.
Unbelievable Sushi Creation Found at Chain Restaurant in Southern Japan
Japan’s Top Five Favorite Sushi Toppings
Custom-Made Sushi Slippers, Fortune Cookie Booties, and Nunchuck Pillows

 

RocketNews24

  • 0

    Maria

    Always interesting to read about and be reminded of food culture and table manners.

    Keep in mind that it's best to start with lighter flavors and then move on to stronger flavors as the course progresses.

    To someone who is new to the joys of sushi, this sentences will make little to no sense. How about some examples of lighter/stronger flavours?

    If you are trying sushi for the first time and are nervous about it, you can always practice on some supermarket sushi - no, not top-grade, but still nice and fresh (the label on the box tells you what time it was packaged) or at a kaiten (conveyor belt) sushi place, where all you need to remember is that the sushi is priced according to plate colour.

    And finally, because it's always worth a watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDL8yu34fz0

  • 3

    gaijinfo

    Newsflash: When I spend MY money, it becomes MY food. And I'll eat it however I like.

    Sushi snobs, please mind your own business.

    Although as soon as I read this headline, I thought immediately of that YouTube vid posted by Maria.

  • 1

    Yubaru

    Food culture is one thing, stereo types and spreading them around is another. While SOME sushi places may have certain etiquette that are traditionally followed not all are the same. I have seen Japanese people who eat sushi quite often not follow these so called rules, and they had wonderful relationships with the chef's too!

    Gunkan” sushi might spill and fall apart if tipped, so a bit of sneaky sauce on the rice is forgiven here, as long as you aim mostly for a seaweed dip.

    First time in my life I have ever heard anyone call soy sauce "sneaky sauce", what's the point? Trying to make it sound like one shouldn't use any at all? I have seen some foreign sushi lover's not use any soy sauce at all, and their Japanese counterparts drown their's in it. Who really cares? It's up to the person eating the food right?

    —Eat the sushi as soon as it’s placed in front of you.

    From experience, eat at your own pace, there is no need to rush. Part of the enjoyment of eating at a sushi rest. is the atmosphere. Take your time! It's your money!

    Don’t drown your sushi in loads of soy sauce. Taste the fish and rice.

    You need to educate some Japanese folks about this one. They evidently haven't read the "manual"! Lol!

    Don’t wear a strong smelling fragrance if you plan to sit at the counter

    This goes for any place, and not just sitting at the counter at a sushi rest. Common sense.

    Don’t show off half-hearted sushi knowledge. Show some humility to the chef and he’s sure to treat you in kind.

    I wonder if the author stuck their foot in their mouth on this one and got burned for it?

  • -4

    Serrano

    Ha ha! This is a funny article!

    "A well-rounded order with a few different varieties is a much better way to get on good terms with the chef"

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha

    "Eat the sushi as soon as it's placed in front of you"

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha

    "Don't show off half-hearted sushi knowledge. Show some humility to the chef"

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

    The article fails to mention the best type of sushi restaurants - kaiten sushi!

    Don't shove your empty plates over to the next person's place - that is bad etiquette, ha ha!

    If you have never tried natto sushi, but feel you must, well, no, just don't do it!

    If you're in a kaiten sushi that has different prices for different design plates and aren't sure of the price, don't use Japanese to ask how much it is, you'll get a plate of salmon roe, ha ha! And don't use English either, you'll get a plate of yellowtail fish, ha ha!

    Don't forget to drink plenty of free green tea, and finish off with a nice helping of free shoga ( ginger ).

  • 0

    Eythan Aldrich

    this will help....I hope.

  • 1

    SimondB

    At the end of the day it's food. Provided I get it from the plate to my mouth without gasps of disbelief from other customers I'm doing all right. Show a little humilty to the chef? Who is paying whose wages here? If the chef want's to give some advice on what to eat and in what order then great! That's what I pay outrageous prices for. What next?

    London: Hey pal, it's considered very bad form to put salt on your chips before the vinegar (the vinegar washes away the salt). The short order cook is extremely embarrassed and the other take-away clients don't know where to look.

  • 2

    LiveInTokyo

    Don’t drown your sushi in loads of soy sauce

    But what if a person likes lots of soy sauce?

    Don’t wear a strong smelling fragrance if you plan to sit at the counter

    Isnt that common sense anyway? And Ive seen err ... smelt a lot of Japanese girls who obviously don`t know this rule when out with their boyfriends.

    Don’t show off half-hearted sushi knowledge. Show some humility to the chef and he’s sure to treat you in kind

    Once again it seems an author who thinks every, "gajin", is some kind of ignoramus. I wish the authors of some of these articles would show some humility and avoid automatically making these types of assumptions.

  • 1

    CGB Spender

    I'm totally doing it wrong!

  • -2

    Robert Dykes

    "guides for how to wear a suit" really? could have fooled me.

  • 0

    Joseph Cataldo

    Snobbish article: it sucks.
    Everyone who is reading this already understands normal table manners and other than that should and will continue to eat sushi however they please. Get bent.

  • 1

    miyaguchatabi

    "When I spend MY money, it becomes MY food. And I'll eat it however I like."

    Recently I hear so much of this attitude. It's not good for social harmony. There are ways certain things should be done. It's not just "MY" food, it's an experience that connects us back generations.

  • 1

    borax

    Don’t drown your sushi in loads of soy sauce. Taste the fish and rice.

    I had a couple of older Japanese gentlemen berate me about this when they took me out for sushi once. I consider myself to be a person who adapts to local styles and does a good job of following the "rules" presented here; I just happen to like a bit more soy sauce than some people.

    But - here's the shocker - I'm actually able to taste the fish and rice despite the extra soy sauce! How is this possible? I don't know! Maybe I have superhuman tastebuds? Or maybe, just maybe, there's more than one way to enjoy something.

  • 0

    Get Real

    Serrano,

    don't use Japanese to ask how much it is, you'll get a plate of salmon roe don't use English either, you'll get a plate of yellowtail

    nice one

  • 0

    Richard Hooker

    I dont eat sushi as soon as it arrives, as the neta is often still at its refrigerated temperature. Better to let it warm to closer to room temperature to enjoy the flavour better.

  • -1

    WilliB

    That article is a bit ridiculous. All of these rules go quickly out of the window in real life.

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