Sushi is an incredibly popular dining choice here in Australia, but regardless of how many times you’ve enjoyed salmon nigiri before, there is a chance you’ve been eating the food the wrong way over the years. Today in lessons I didn’t know I needed to know, I have discovered that there are a few ‘rules’ that come with eating sushi – many of which the majority of Aussies probably don’t know about. (Or there is a chance I’m just very silly and am the only one who didn’t realise this. Guess we’ll find out.)
While watching an old episode of Adam Liaw’s Destination Japan (Episode 3: ‘Hokuriku’, to be specific), I noticed that Liaw touched on a few small tips when it came to eating sushi.
This episode was set in Liaw’s wife’s hometown Kanazawa, and in the early parts of the ep, he sits down for some sushi and explains the level of knowledge and skill that comes with being a sushi chef.
How to eat sushi properly
In ‘Hokuriku’, Liaw visits a restaurant called Otomezushi, where he and chef Kazuhiko Tsurumi take audiences through the experience of enjoying nigiri.
Liaw explained in the episode that many of us think of sushi as a roll we quickly grab at lunch or, on the opposite end of the scale, elaborate artworks that are too beautiful to be touched. However, “sushi comes in many forms,” he said.
The experience at Otomezushi is that the chef will “size you up” and serve you pieces of sushi based on what was fresh or best at the market that day. There is no menu to be found here. This process is called ‘makase’, which can be translated to ‘as you like’.
One rule with makase dining, Liaw shared, is that you should eat each mouthful “immediately” after it is served to you. The other rules, and these are the ones many Aussies probably don’t realise, are that it’s better to eat sushi with your hands and that you shouldn’t dip your sushi rice into soy sauce.
“Notice I used my hands; I didn’t use chopsticks,” Liaw said in the episode.
“The benefit of eating with your hands, too, is that you can dip the skin side of the fish into the soy sauce so that it doesn’t soak into the rice and fall apart.”
Both of these small tips make for a more enjoyable sushi experience. That, and according to Tsurumi, sipping on beer, sake or green tea along with your sushi.
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