There’s a common misconception that all sushi has to be eaten with chopsticks. This, in conjunction with a few other “sushi facts”, is untrue. Here are a few tips on when to use chopsticks or when not to; along with other aspects of sushi etiquette you probably never knew you were doing wrong…or right!
Fingers or Chopsticks?
FINGERS are used mostly when eating Nigiri sushi as it is easier to keep the sushi intact. When eating Nigiri it is good practice to dip the fish side into the soy sauce. Dipping the rice side into the sauce will cause the Nigiri to fall apart. It is also considered an insult to the sushi chef if you dip the rice into the soy sauce. A lot of time and care goes into flavouring the rice in a certain way.
Yummy Tip: If the sushi’s bland, don’t feel bad soaking the rice side in some soy before eating it.
CONE SUSHI/ HANDROLLS
HANDS are used when eating hand rolls (they’re not called hand rolls for nothing). Using chopsticks for these rolls is pretty impossible and you’ll just look silly.
Yummy Tip: If the chef isn’t looking (and, once again if the roll is a little bland) drizzle some soy sauce into the roll, let it pour out the bottom of the cone and enjoy
ROLLED SUSHI (like California Rolls and Maki)
CHOPSTICKS are used when eating Maki rolls, california rolls, fashion sandwiches and the like. Of all the sushi types they are the easiest to eat with chopsticks as their shape and compactness provide good grip. Other types of sushi that are eaten with chopsticks include unmixed pieces like small slices of raw fish or sashimi.
- Never stab your sushi with your chopsticks
- It’s rude to point chopsticks at someone when you’re talking to them or about someone else
- When in a large group and sharing sushi, it is good manners to pick from the sushi platter using the back ends of your chopsticks
Ginger and Wasabi Etiquette…
- Putting ginger on sushi before eating a piece is considered an insult to the chef. It’s actual purpose is for cleansing the palate between sushi courses (but if it’s bland…well…)
- Go easy on the wasabi. Not only for your nasal safety but also because it kills the flavour of the sushi (if too much is used) and is also seen as an insult to the chef.
- Try not mix soy sauce and wasabi into a mini “soy-sabi” soup. It ruins the subtle flavours of both.
- Lastly, eat your sushi in one bite, or at least do not put it back on a shared platter if it has been half eaten