I did not know all this.
posted by Andrew Simone in etiquette, food | * | 53 comments
I’m definitely guilty of at least 5 of those evils.
Damn. Me too, Josh.
Take this with a grain of salt. When I first saw this come out, I saw a number of responses claiming that they were very familiar with actual sushi customs, many of which are fine even though here they are listed in the “do not” section.
I think the most notable “do not” that is more like a “you may” is mixing wasabi in with soy sauce – apparently this is acceptable practice among those that enjoy such a thing.
Related: a humorous how to eat sushi video.
What about maki zushi? It is rather difficult to place it fish-down on your tongue.
Maybe the sushi places I go to missed the boat, but they never give me hashi-oki. It doesn’t really matter, because I don’t usually set my chopsticks down. I tend to gesticulate with them, which may be frowned upon.
I think the soy sauce bowl wasabi thing is a non-issue if (as in my experience) everyone has their own little sauce dishes.
I once read that to put wasabi on a piece of nigiri insults the quality of fish the restaurant is serving and is considered rude (similar to adding salt or pepper to a dish). These rules probably don’t apply to maki in the same way they apply to nigiri.
I don’t eat fish anymore and I have no hesitation when I mix my soy sauce and wasabi for dipping my vegetable rolls.
Oh. You’re also supposed to cook the fish.
What did one sushi chef say to the other sushi chef?
“Fish or cut bait.”
Thank you, I’ll be here all week. Tip your waitress and be sure to try the sashimi.
I kid because I love.
If you are married to a Japanese woman, do not do the following with your Hashi, especially in public…(much pain will follow later):
-put one on each side of your head and say, “look, I’m Steve martin”.
-place both under upper lip and pretend you’re a walrus.
-use them to play drums against the table.
-stick each one into a dinner roll and pretend to make them walk along the table like a little pair of feet or do the Buster Keaton dance thing.
-whip out a pocket knife and make little pungee sticks then stick them in the top of the creme brulee’.
-never, never exchange food via hashi between people. It’s considered bad juju and you only can do that at funerals. (seriously).
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Just short of holding your sushi like an ice cream cone, I have no idea how you are supposed to flip it over with chopsticks so the fish touches your tongue. If you are supposed to eat it that way, they should serve it that way. I eat mostly sashimi, so this is really a non-issue, except when I order unagi sushi. I admit, I do make mud soup out of my wasabi and soy sauce. My husband puts the ginger on top of the sushi which drives me crazy because I know it ruins the taste.
These rules are the ones that I learned in japan.
They really seem genuine.
real wasabi (a.k.a. fresh wasabi) is not soluble in soy sause, that’s where this rule comes into play.
Do yourself a favor and ask for real/fresh wasabi next time you eat sushi. They may charge you for it, but it’s worth it!
the reason you shouldn’t mix wasabi and soy sauce is because the active ingredients in the wasabi is water soluable. Once you mix them, you’ll lose the fragrance.
HOWEVER, most the green wasabi you see these days are actually NOT REAL WASABI, because lower/middle end sushi can’t afford the real thing. It’s actually horse radish with green dye and usually come from powder (Don’t believe me you can check your “tube” of wasabi’s ingredient list next time you get them from asian shops)
That up-your-nose sensation that western folks usually associate wasabi with is actually NOT that strong in real, wasabi root grinded, wasabi. It’s more like a fragrant spice with very mild spiciness.
I like wasabi in my soy sauce. I don’t care what the sushi chef, who is probably Mexican anyway, thinks.
Good quality chopsticks? If I have to separate them myself, they are not good quality. If they are already separated, I am going to a >$100/person meal and that’s not all of the time.
I’m of Japanese decent and everyone in my family mixes the wasabi into the shoyu. I agree that the better grade stuff doesn’t mix but still, I don’t believe it’s wrong unless I’m a horrible Japanese person, which isn’t beyond the realm of possbility.
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A piece of etiquette that I was taught was that never rest your chopsticks pointing at anyone at the table, it displays your desire to stab them.
I have tried to find this poster online forever; my 9th grade english teacher had it in his room. Any chance you know where they sell this online?
I think this sushi etiquette cartoon should be expanded to reach a wider audience. As Matt the Rat suggests, some people are not even aware of what to do and not do with chopsticks. My boyfriend Luis is from a very underdeveloped country and on top of this, is a very closed-minded person (who I probably should not be dating). The other day I took him out for his first sushi experience. He separated his chopsticks and proceeded to clean the wax out of his ears with them. He then used these same chopsticks to eat his sushi, but instead of using both of them to scissor his sushi, he took one of them and started stabbing his sushi like he was some sort of caveman or something. I was horrified. Should I be dating such an uncultured swine? Do you think that a sophisticated, intelligent, and beautiful woman like myself can ever reconcile the differences that exist between her and this animal?
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eat it anyway you like. Food is meant to be enjoyed. Life is too short to follow any rules. Rules are made to be broken.
I have eaten sushi for 20 years and never have I seen anyone mix,wasabi and soy sauce.The thought is horrifing to say the least,but from reading the past comments,seems pretty common.I learned the rules from a japanese exchange student who introduced me to Octopus and squid(and i kept it down with ginger).I never use my hands,but will try to invert the fish before dipping in the soy sauce(funny I thought I was correct all this time)….will keep you posted
What happens if the “do not´s” are things you do really enjoy? I understand etiquette and all for it, but fore example I really enjoy soaking rice in soy sauce. Should I prevent myself from enjoying that just to look good?
i dont care weather its a cheap or a fancy restaurant, i’ll always rub my chopsticks if they’re disposable, since they all suck.
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Being a sushi lover, I’m glad to have discovered these rules, which I mostly keep except for the fish on the tongue rule…
Lindsay seems to have some issues with her boyfriend…
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I think you’re confusing sophistication with arrogance.
Unless you’re dating an ape, I’m sure your very inferior boyfriend from this very undeveloped country can learn some table manners if you’re willing to share your superior wisdom with him.
@ lindsay: You both deserve better.
@lindsay I would have broken up with him on the spot… just walked out and never spoken to him again.
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why do they give you the little dishes for mixing soy sauce and wasabi ….
clearly they expect them to be used……
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The only risk when breaking these rules is in strict Japanese society, perhaps when you are invited to someone’s home for dinner or at a restaurant with a client or your boss. I can’t see how anyone in the United States would care, even in the fanciest of fancy restaurants and you are a social butterfly with self-esteem problems or you cry when someone makes fun of you. If there are Japanese clients or guests in your presence, maybe you want to think twice about insulting them or looking like a moron to them. Otherwise, none of it is really applicable.
I can’t picture soaking sticky rice in soy as being a good thing since it will fall apart, but some people like soy-rice soup and that’s fine. Turning the nigiri upside-down to dunk can be challenging with the fish often falling off of the rice, too. Other items are just stupid, like destroying the flavor of the fish with the ginger. That’s like putting ketchup on a hot dog to some people, probably the same ones who put ginger on their sushi. Who tries to pay the “chef”?
Linday, maybe you do deserve better. Post noods so we can decide.
is nothing sacred
its fucking fish
Wow, informative post.
How about eating Gunkanmaki? Do we dip it upside down for the soy sauce also? If yes, then the fish roe might just fall off the sushi.
Googled for awhile, but found no answer to that.
Sushi Etiquette : clusterflock…
Just adding my two cents about wasabi from a 1st gen. Japanese native.
Sushi should have wasabi sandwiched between the fish and the rice (at least the authentic ones are of this kind, including ‘gunkanmaki’) — therefore no need to mix wasabi with soy sauce in the first place. It’s common to ask for sushi without the wasabi (akin to asking for a hamburger w/out mustard), but I guess the sushi chefs grew tired and started handing out packets of mustard.
The only exception of this when eating sashimi, which can be dipped into soy sauce mixed with wasabi depending on your preference.
You shouldn’t have to rub your chopsticks since the correct way to use them is to grasp the food between them, not poke or skewer the food. If you skewer, then there is a chance of a splinter coming off in your food.
Also, we don’t mix our wasabi with the soy sauce because sometimes you don’t want wasabi, and sometimes you do. We just put some wasabi on top of the sushi. For dipping the fish side of the sushi into the shoyu, you can first knock the sushi onto its side, then grasp the sushi, with one choptick on the fish, and one on the sushi bottom. Or, you can just take the fish off the sushi, dip into the shoyu, then put it back onto the rice.
Just stuff I learned from 3 years in Japan, and 14 years of marriage with a Japanese native.
Good manners are good manners, and it is usually common sense as to what is rude and what is not. It makes no difference what you are eating. The only thing I would refrain from, per this cartoon, is handing the chef money. That is what the wait person is for, and money is dirty. I don’t want my chef touching dirty money right before making me some grub. Other than that, what I do with the food I paid for is only one person’s business…mine. Of course I would use good table manners in public, but if I’m at home with some take-out, anything goes!!! Hell, I might even go crazy add extra eel sauce to a specialty roll. Or even worse, mix up my own kewpie, sarachi, and eel sauce combination, and put it on something that the chef never would have.
Do I rub my newly unpackaged disposable chopsticks together? No.
Have I actually gotten a splinter from disposable chopsticks using them correctly? Yes.
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