Sushi 101 – How to eat sushi

Follow Me Foodie to Sushi 101

What to order? What to do with the condiments? How to eat it?

Follow Me Foodie: Sushi 101 – Part 1: Nigiri VS Rolls

By Mijune Pak , Follow Me Foodie – WE Vancouver
Published: June 12, 2013 3:00 PM
Updated: June 12, 2013 3:48 PM

We pretty much all love sushi in Vancouver. In fact, we probably love it as much as the BC Spot Prawn, except it’s even better because we get it all year. We are honoured with our endless sushi options, fresh seafood and talented Japanese chefs, but, sadly, the passion for sushi doesn’t really go beyond the roll.

I’ll talk to self-proclaimed “sushi connoisseurs” and sushi lovers who are proud to say they have been to Japan, but still, many do not know how to order it, let alone eat it. There is a technique and art to making and eating sushi. Mind you, I’m referring to places serving sushi piece by piece, and in some cases places that do not even serve soy sauce for customers to dip as they please. These are the places serving traditional Japanese food.

Confused already? If not, you’re on the right track, but if you are, then it’s time to break down the sushi basics. Read the full article.

Follow Me Foodie: Sushi 101 – Part 2: How to use condiments

By Mijune Pak , Follow Me Foodie – WE Vancouver
Published: June 19, 2013 1:00 PM
Updated: June 20, 2013 1:14 PM

Last week I wrote about the sushi basics and how to order it. Specifically, I focused on the differences between rolls (maki) and nigiri-zushi (nigiri). At traditional Japanese restaurants that serve good quality sushi, nigiri is what to order due to their simplicity. The sashimi — the raw fish — is the prize.

And now Part 2 — the condiments.

At many Japanese restaurants it is standard to serve soy sauce with the sushi. However, at high-end Japanese restaurants the sushi chef might not even provide soy sauce, and asking for it would be equivalent to asking a Western chef for salt. At these upscale places the sushi chef will serve the sushi piece by piece and each nigiri will come seasoned with a brush of the chef’s house-made soy sauce.

When the soy sauce is served with the sushi, do not dunk the sushi in it, or worse pour the soy sauce onto the sushi. This is not nachos and cheese. Please, stop with the soy. The sushi is meant to be dipped into the soy sauce, but not the whole thing. Only the sashimi is supposed to touch the soy sauce and never the rice, so flip the sushi upside down before you dip. Do not separate the fish from the rice either; doing so would ruin the sushi chef’s art. Also, do not let the sashimi soak, or it will absorb too much soy sauce, masking the flavours of the fish. The sashimi is the whole point of sushi and it is a waste not to taste the freshness and quality of it. Soy sauce is not taboo, but use it sparingly.

As for the wasabi, do not mix it into the soy sauce and create a mucky paste. This is not art class. The wasabi is not meant to be mixed into the sauce. Read the full article.

Follow Me Foodie: Sushi 101 – Part 3: How to eat it

By Mijune Pak , Follow Me Foodie – WE Vancouver
Published: June 26, 2013 1:00 PM
Updated: June 26, 2013 1:14 PM

In Sushi 101 – Part 1, I discussed the difference between rolls (maki) and nigiri-zushi (nigiri). I suggested trying nigiri over the funkier creative rolls, but it is not to say rolls are bad. Simple rolls without all the sauces and toppings are traditionally served at sushi bars alongside nigiri. Nigiri is the simplest form of sushi showcasing the sashimi or grilled fish and what sushi connoisseurs value.

In Sushi 101 – Part 2, I discussed the use of condiments. The soy sauce is meant to be used sparingly and only the fish part is dipped into it, not the rice. The wasabi is not meant to be mixed into the soy sauce, but put on separately. Lastly, the pickled ginger is a palate cleanser; however it is appropriate to use it as a “paintbrush”. Dip the pickled ginger into the soy sauce and brush it onto the fish part of the nigiri as another way of applying soy sauce to nirigi. This way, it also leaves an essence of ginger.

Sushi 101 – Part 3 is about how to eat it….

What do ribs, chicken wings, pizza, Indian food and sushi have in common? They are all foods meant to be eaten with the hands. Yes, sushi is finger food. Chopsticks are still acceptable, but traditionally it is encouraged to enjoy well-made sushi with the hands.

Fingers are preferred over chopsticks because properly made nigiri is challenging to eat with chopsticks. Authentic sushi risks falling apart if picked up by chopsticks because the rectangular pressed sushi rice (shari) is supposed to be loosely packed. There should be minimal chew and the sushi rice should melt in your mouth along with the fish on top.

Sushi must be eaten immediately after serving, so either speed up the photos or skip them entirely. Read the full article.

 

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