The Polite Way to Eat Sushi
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Posted 9/19/10 , edited 9/29/10
Sorry, I had posted this in a different thread, but I figured some people might find it interesting or helpful. So reposting it here for your convenience!


The proper way to eat sushi and sashimi:

1) Prepare your soy sauce (if you will be using it for dipping).
- Pour a very small amount into the small soy sauce dish. Taking too much can appear greedy or wasteful.
- If desired, stir a small amount of wasabi into the soy sauce with your chopsticks.

2) Using chopsticks, remove the sushi/sashimi from the serving platter, and place it on your plate.
- Use the opposite end of the chopsticks (not the end that goes in your mouth).
- If you are eating alone, or are not sharing, it is acceptable to skip this step and eat directly from the platter.

3) Eat it!
-- a) Sushi: It is perfectly acceptable to eat sushi either with your hands or with chopsticks.
------ Ideally each piece should be eaten all at once, or 2 bites (at the most).
-- b) Sashimi: Always use chopsticks, NEVER eat sashimi with your hands.
------ Again, try to eat each piece in one bite.

Chew slowly, savour the flavour of each bite!

Optional: Eat a small piece of pickled ginger after each piece. This serves to cleanse your palate so that the taste of the next piece is not obscured by the taste of the previous one.

A note about dipping:
- When dipping sushi in soy sauce, it should be dipped fish-side down. Dipping the rice-side down causes too much soy sauce to be absorbed into the rice, making it soggy and overpowering the taste of the fish. Also, it will often leave grains of rice in the soy sauce dish which is generally frowned upon.

Other notes:
- In the case of nigiri sushi, I would also recommend putting each piece in your mouth with the fish-side down. After all, the fish is mainly what you want to taste, not the rice!

- Never leave a single grain of rice on your plate! This is sometimes considered rude in Japan, because historically rice is extremely valuable to the Japanese and should never be wasted.
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29 / F / PLACES
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Posted 9/22/10
This is a good article.

A few things about etiquette...

A lot of people in Japan do pick up their piece of sushi with the mouth end of the chopsticks. The belief is if you touch it, you eat it. It's extremely good manners to use the opposite end, however.

Another important thing is to use the chopstick rests if they're available. It's generally considered rude to leave chopsticks sitting on the rim of the bowl, though people still do this.
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28 / M
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Posted 9/28/10
i don't understand why there is a custom to pick up food with the other side of the chopstick. Both parts are contaminated.
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Posted 9/29/10 , edited 9/29/10

reita187 wrote:

i don't understand why there is a custom to pick up food with the other side of the chopstick. Both parts are contaminated.


How so? The reason behind the custom is to avoid contaminating the communal dish with your own oral bacteria. You use one end of the chopsticks to go in your mouth, the other end to take food from the communal dish. I'm not sure which part you don't understand...

Another variation of this custom is to have a separate pair of chopsticks specifically for the communal dish which everyone uses.
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28 / M
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Posted 9/29/10
I guess you're right. Oral bacteria is more likely to contaminate food than the microorganisms on your hand(which touched the holding part of the chopstick).
Posted 9/29/10
OMG i dont even know about this even im fans of sushi Dx
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M / Canada
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Posted 10/1/10

reita187 wrote:

I guess you're right. Oral bacteria is more likely to contaminate food than the microorganisms on your hand(which touched the holding part of the chopstick).


Ohhh okay I see what you were saying. I think it's expected that everyone washes their hands before a meal to avoid this problem
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28 / M
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Posted 10/1/10
Well, after all it is a custom and it's futile for me to debate it because old manners like that will never change even if; they don't make sense; people don't follow them anymore.

-U no wat I sayin'??
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19 / M / Huntsville, Alabama
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Posted 2/24/12
Wow, I had no idea. Thanks for the information
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30 / M / Irish/German - Am...
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Posted 2/24/12
If I ever go to Japan I will be sure to remember this. Till then I will just eat it however I want ... which seems to line up with what you typed anyways .. well besides the opposite end of the chopsticks thing
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29 / M / Japan
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Posted 2/27/12
I've honestly only seen people eat temaki with their hands. If I saw my friends munching on something like a futomaki with their hands, for example, I'd give them a glare. :P

Also, I don't recommend adding wasabi to your soy sauce if you're eating in a local sushi restaurant. It's a bit rude to the sushi chef if you make it appear like he didn't put enough wasabi in it. Just a tip.
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