Chopsticks or Hands? Dip or Pour? 4 Manners You Need to Know About Eating Sushi | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan

Chopsticks or Hands? Dip or Pour? 4 Manners You Need to Know About Eating Sushi

By Yae Oct 3, 2018

Sushi is the most popular and famous traditional food in Japan. Most people enjoy eating sushi when they visit Japan for sightseeing since people strongly associate sushi with Japanese culture. But, do you know the right way to eat sushi? There are some rules to follow when eating sushi that makes it taste better. If you’re a sushi lover, let’s learn the right way of eating sushi in this article.

1. Chopsticks or Your Hands?

It’s a well-known fact that chopsticks are often used as a substitute for a knife and fork in Japan. But what do you use for eating sushi?

The correct answer is you can either use chopsticks or use your hands.

Some Japanese people think the only right way is to use your hands to hold sushi, but that’s not true. We can use either chopsticks or hands. However, if you prefer to use your hands to eat sushi, you must be careful about the following things:

・Make sure to clean your hands with a wet towel or napkin before touching sushi.

・Don’t squish the sushi. Instead, pinch it with your fingers softly.

・Eat one piece of sushi in one bite.

・Once you touch the sushi, try to eat it immediately since the taste of sushi is changed by skin temperature.

2. Which Should I Eat First? 

What’s your favorite type of sushi? Salmon, tuna, or greater amberjack? If you’re only ordering your favorite sushi all the time, did you know there is a correct manner in ordering? Everyone prefers to eat their favorite sushi, but there is the right way to order as follows:

1. Order light and plain sushi first such as mackerel, medium-sized gizzard shad, etc.

2. Next, order thick and heavy fish such as shellfish, salmon roe, etc.

3. Order white-fleshed fish such as sea bream, flatfish, squid, etc.

4. Next, gradually change to red-fleshed fish such as tuna, the fattiest portion of tuna, etc.

5. Order hand-formed sushi and gradually change to rolled sushi.

6. Drink green tea to refresh your mouth.

7. Ask the sushi chef for today’s recommendation.

Surprised to know that there are so many rules for eating sushi? Some people may think it’s way too many rules, but referring to the above information means you can really savor the flavor at its best.

3. Why is Sweet Pickled Ginger So Important?

When you’re at a sushi restaurant, have you noticed the sweet pickled ginger served with the sushi? For those who are not so familiar with sweet pickled ginger, you may wonder what this is for. People say ginger kills germs from the raw fish and prevents food poisoning. For those who don’t like the taste of ginger much, don’t worry. This sweet pickled ginger tastes quite sweet and pleasant.

4. How Much Soy Sauce Should I Use?

When you eat sushi, soy sauce is essential. However, have you ever wondered how much soy sauce would be needed for one piece of sushi? Here is the right way to eat sushi with soy sauce:

  • Make sure to put soy sauce only on the sushi topping. It’s bad manners to put soy sauce to sushi rice since it crushes the shape of the sushi.
  • When you use soy sauce, make sure you don’t drip any. This is one of the Japanese chopsticks manners called “namidabashi,” and we say it’s bad manners to let soy sauce drip like tears from the chopsticks or food.

I hope this article helps you understand the right manners of eating sushi. If you love eating sushi, don’t you want to eat it in the best, most delicious way?

Enjoy eating sushi in the appropriate manner in Japan!

Yae, Japan