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Sushi eating etiqutte

Even though you have eaten sushi many times you might not know all there is to know about sushi etiquette. I have compiled some do's and dont's in this article for you to read. It is probably not likely that you will be kicked out of a japanese restaurant if you break any of these rules but I find etiquette a fascinating part of the eating experience; so enjoy

There are two main types of sushi — sushi rolls and nigiri sushi. Nigiri sushi is what most people think of when they talk about sushi. It's a piece of fish, seafood, vegetable or egg on top of a ball of rice.
Norimake are rolls that have seaweed on the outside. Uramaki are rolls that have rice on the outside. Temaki are hand rolls that come in the shape of a cone, not a cylinder.
Sashimi and tempura are popular non-sushi items. Sashimi is just a piece of raw fish without any rice. Tempura is seafood (usually shrimp) or vegetables that have been battered and deep fried.

The Etiquette

  • When you dip the sushi into the soy sauce do so with the fish side down. It prevents the rice from falling apart.
  • Eat sushi fish side down, not fish side up.
  • Eat the pickled ginger between bites of different sushi. It is there to "wash" your mouth.
  • Each piece is supposed to be bite-size, but if the piece of sushi is too big, it's OK to take two bites.
  • If you do eat sushi in two bites, keep the rest in your chopsticks. Do not put it back on any plate..
  • It's OK to use your fingers for most sushi! But, use your chopsticks for sashimi.
  • Don't mix your wasabi in your soy sauce. Add a little dab directly to the sushi if you want a little more heat. (*)
  • When you take sushi from a shared plate, use the back end of your chopsticks — the end you don't put in your mouth.
  • Don't spear the sushi with your chopsticks. If you can't handle the chopsticks use your fingers.
  • Don't store your chopsticks in your rice. This is how rice is offered to the deceased.
  • If you are not provided with a chopstick holder, rest your chopsticks on the edge of your plate with the tips pointed to the left.
  • Placing your chopsticks across your soy sauce bowl indicates that you have finished eating.
  • It's OK to drink your miso soup. Use the spoon or chopsticks to eat any larger pieces.
  • Traditionally, miso soup is served after the meal. In most Western restaurants, however, it is served first. If you want to go the traditional route, let your server know ahead of time.

(*): I've been told both to mix wasabi and soy and not to do it, so the jury is still out on this one :-)

That is it. Did you know them all? Do you know more?

Posted: 7 years, 8 months ago
Mikkel Gadegaard
green chili 55 orange chili 7 red chili 2
Edited: 7 years, 7 months ago

Comments (1 of 1)


7 years, 7 months ago

Interesting article. I don't really know any other rules when it comes to sushi, but I do know that the (traditional) Korean culture has strict rules when you are drinking with someone older or younger than yourself. First of all, if you are not the oldest in your party, you cannot (!) pour for yourself. Someone older than you, has to offer it to you., and once someone has been kind enough to do so, you have to pay it forward by pouring for everyone else older than you. You do not use the same hand to pour for someone older and younger. in addition, you have to "hide" your hand, when you as gracefully as you possibly can, pour for your seniors. It's a whole thing. I've seen plenty of awkward stares, believe you me.

showing 2 of 2 replies.
Mikkel Gadegaard

So the oldest controls who gets drunk and who doesn't!

7 years, 7 months ago.

Ain't that always how it goes though?!:)

7 years, 7 months ago.
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