All About Japanese Sushi

Etiquette for Enjoying Sushi: 5 Tips for a Delightful Experience

Luxury Sushi Restaurants

1. Order from “Light to Rich” Flavors

When ordering à la carte, feel free to choose your favorite sushi in any order. However, it is recommended to start with milder flavors first to fully appreciate the delicate tastes of the ingredients before moving on to richer options.

Example of Ordering Sushi:

Start with lighter and milder flavors

Begin by enjoying nigiri-zushi with lighter and milder toppings, such as white fish or shellfish. This allows your taste buds to gradually adjust and appreciate the subtle flavors without overwhelming them.

Progress to fattier and richer toppings

Move on to sushi with fattier and richer toppings, such as fatty tuna (toro) or salmon. These toppings offer a more pronounced flavor and a luxurious, melt-in-your-mouth texture.

Incorporate stronger flavors

As you continue, you can explore sushi with stronger flavors, such as mackerel (saba), sea urchin (uni) or eel (unagi). These toppings often have more distinctive tastes and can add depth to your sushi experience.

Conclude with light and refreshing toppings

Towards the end, it is customary to cleanse the palate and refresh the mouth by enjoying items such as kappa maki (cucumber roll). These light and refreshing rolls provide a crisp and cooling sensation, leaving you with a refreshed palate after indulging in the various flavors of sushi.

2. Eat Sushi “Promptly” Upon Serving

served sushi

Sushi is served by skilled sushi chefs at its finest state, so it’s best to enjoy it immediately. Eating promptly not only shows respect for the chef’s craftsmanship but also ensures you savor the sushi at its peak freshness.

3. Avoid Dipping the Rice in Soy Sauce

dipping sushi

Dipping the rice (shari) in soy sauce can overpower the flavors of the toppings (neta) and may cause the sushi to lose its shape or leave rice grains on the plate. Instead, lightly dip the edge of the toppings in soy sauce for a balanced taste.

4. Use Chopsticks or Hands – Both are Acceptable

Whether you use chopsticks or your hands to eat sushi is a matter of personal preference. Using chopsticks may prevent the rice from absorbing too much soy sauce, while eating with your hands allows you to focus on savoring the toppings.

5. Eat Sushi in One Bite

Sushi is traditionally meant to be consumed in one bite. If a piece is too large to eat in one mouthful, it’s polite to hold the partially eaten sushi with your hand or chopsticks while finishing it to avoid placing it back on the plate.

While we have introduced sushi etiquette to enhance your dining experience, it is essential to remember that true manners go beyond mere formality. If you encounter any uncertainties or difficulties, don’t hesitate to communicate with the staff and ask for guidance. Engaging in friendly communication with the restaurant personnel is just as important as following formal etiquette.

Enjoying exceptional sushi to the fullest includes savoring the experience with the joy of interacting with the staff. Why not start by asking the chef for today’s recommendations? Give it a try!