10 Sushi Commandments

Short blog post as supporting content for sushi restaurant blog.

    • Culture/Cuisine
    • youmesushi.com
    • 26-02-14

When enjoying sushi at a restaurant, there are few rules of etiquette which should be observed so as not to offend the itamea or server.

Although Western eateries are slightly more relaxed with regards to traditional Japanese dining customs, it’s still a good idea to show respect as well as appreciation for the carefully crafted dishes served to you.

Don’t Spear Sushi with Chopsticks

Sushi is supposed to be eaten with the fingers. However, you won’t cause offence if you opt for chopsticks. Just be sure not to spear the sushi with them. A great deal of care is taken in the preparation of sushi by the itamea so spearing the delicate little rolls is considered an insult.

Don’t Rub Chopsticks Together

Don’t rub your chopsticks together. The server may infer that you’re suggesting they’re cheap and splintered! It can also give the impression to the server that you dine at low-quality establishments.

Place Chopsticks on Ceramic Rest

Once you’ve finished your meal, place the chopsticks on a ceramic rest (if provided). This means less work for your server. Remember that sushi establishments can be rather busy. If one isn’t provided make one out of the wrapper they came in.

Don’t Tap You’re Plate with the Chopsticks

Don’t tap your plate with the chopsticks. This is a major no-no and considered very bad etiquette. In ancient Japan, beggars would do this to attract attention.

Use the Backend of Chopsticks When Taking Food from Another Plate

If one of your dining companions implores you to try their dish, be sure to use the backend of your chopsticks when taking food from their plate. This avoids mixing flavours and spoiling your palette.

Eat the Rice Warm

Once you’ve been served your sushi dish, its good etiquette to start right away. After all, the rice is supposed to be eaten warm.

Dip Fish Side of Sushi

Don’t dip the rice side of the sushi in soy sauce – it will likely break apart before reaching your mouth. Instead, dip on the fish side.

Use Wasabi Sparingly

It’s a good idea not to go overboard with the wasabi. The chef will provide you with what he considers the right amount for your dish – adding additional wasabi might very well be frowned upon.

Use Soy Sauce Sparingly

Don’t use too much soy sauce. This is considered bad form because it implies that the original flavours of your dish aren’t good enough without it.

Make Use of Washcloth

Most establishments will include a washcloth – it’s considered polite to clean your fingers before and after the meal. After use, fold it and put it back in its container.

By observing the following rules of sushi etiquette, you’ll be able to enjoy your meal without causing a major diplomatic incident!

Like any country, Japan has its own dining customs which deserve respect. Behaving in a manner befitting of a Japanese eatery also shows a great appreciation of the care taken in preparing your dish. Happy eating!