Sushi 101

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I know for some people it ranks right up there with eating bugs, but I’m a sushi lover and proud of it. From tame tuna to eel and octopus, I’m a fan of it all. Eating sushi at least once a week for years, I’ve picked up some tips in order to not look like a fish out of water when ordering sushi.

So, next time you’re out at a sushi bar or Japanese restaurant, put down the fork you’re using to stab at your sushi with reckless abandon, and impress your friends with the following rules of sushi etiquette. You’ll look like a pro, even if you’re a sushi virgin.

When in doubt, ask the chef.

If you’re new to sushi or just looking for some new flavors, park your rear at the sushi bar instead of getting a table. Most chefs would be happy to introduce you to their favorites.

Don’t ask “what’s fresh today?”

Assume everything you see in front of you is fresh—or else they wouldn’t be serving it. If you were having dinner at a friend’s, would you ask them if the meal they prepared is fresh? Same concept. If you’re not sure what to order, ask the chef (or waitress, if you’re at a table) to bring their favorites. If you have control issues, you can also offer your preferences as to level of spiciness or certain types of fish you like and dislike.

Go ahead, use your fingers!

I cringe when I see someone ask for a fork when eating sushi. It’s acceptable to use your fingers to eat nigiri sushi (a piece of fish on a bite-size ball of rice), so your “I can’t use chopsticks” excuse won’t fly. For sashimi, slices of raw fish without rice, use chopsticks only.

Go easy on the soy sauce.

Your piece of sushi shouldn’t be going for a leisurely swim in your bowl of soy sauce before you eat. Just lightly dip the fish into the sauce, so that you can actually taste the full flavor of the fish.

Experiment, and enjoy!

Variety is the spice of life, and sushi! Even if you’re a seasoned sushi connoisseur, there’s bound to be something you haven’t tried yet. So drop that cucumber roll and order the first thing on the menu that you can’t pronounce!

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