A sushi lover’s guide to best sushi etiquette…
It is considered taboo to add too much soy sauce to your soy sauce dish. Essentially, this is telling the chef that the sushi has been poorly prepared and needs to be smothered in sauce. Only add a few drops of soy to your bowl at a time. It’s much better for your cholesterol levels anyway!
It is also considered off-limits to leave stray grains of rice in your soy sauce dish (Gasp!). The Japanese take a lot of time and effort to prepare their rice, and believe each grain is to be savoured and respected.
Are you one of those people that stirs wasabi into their soy sauce before dunking their sushi? Well, be warned, this is as offensive as you can get! FYI: if you are eating Nigiri (a piece of rolled rice with prawn, salmon or tuna on top) then the perfect amount of wasabi has usually already been placed underneath the fish / prawn, and extra wasabi does not need to be added.
With every other piece of sushi, you should always place the fresh wasabi onto your piece of sushi first, dunk into soy, then eat and await the sinus-clearing blunder to the face!
Sake is a traditional, heady rice wine that is usually served warm. It is actually considered a bad omen to pour your own drink of sake, therefore it is encouraged that others pour your drink for you. But be wary of those with a heavy pouring hand, sake is potent! Should your guests not offer to refill your cup, the Japanese recommended a beheading, but if that seems a bit harsh, you could just not invite them to sushi again.
There really is a fine line between dipping your sushi for the perfect amount of soak and flavour, and having it all fall apart into the bowl – much to the horror of your on-looking sushi chef. It is therefore recommended that you save your dignity and always dip the fish side into the soy sauce, and not the rice, as it tends to become too heavily soaked and overly seasoned (the rice is already seasoned in its preparation).
All you pickled ginger scoffing fans need to cut it out, this is the ultimate fail! The pickled ginger accompaniment is not actually part of your meal, but is supposed to be treated as a palate cleanser and should only be eaten between pieces of sushi.
So, there you have it. Go forth and make the Japanese proud on your next visit to half-price Wednesday’s at John Dory’s!