Respect the Culture: How to eat sushi and sashimi without embarrassing yourself

I’m spoiled. About a mile from my house is a wonderful Japanese restaurant called Tokyo Sushi Loha. We call it “Rock and Roll Sushi” because of the loud music pumped in to entertain hordes of college students living in the immediate vicinity. You’d think catering to that clientele it might be a little lower down on the quality scale, but you’d be wrong. Proprietor Kenny is a world-class sushi chef that demands the very best from his staff.

Sushi seems simple enough. It is typically rice, some fish, and sometimes seaweed. A lot of the time, the fish isn’t even cooked!

But that’s where subtlety and nuance become transcendent. The exacting way in which the rice is prepared makes all the difference in the world. The manner in which the fish is cut takes many years of mastery to develop.

This isn’t about how to prepare sushi. I leave that to the professionals. (If you want to see what it is like behind the counter, you really owe it to yourself to watch Jiro Dreams of Sushi.)

With all the years of training and apprenticeship that go into making sushi, the least we can do as consumers is try to respect the cultural traditions that make such a meal so enjoyable.

The folks at Vice magazine put together a wonderful tutorial on how to properly eat sushi. Here is the video:

What about Sashimi?

I love nigiri and rolls alike, but when I know that Kenny-san is behind the counter, I cannot pass up the opportunity for a plate of sashimi.

While a little dated (in internet years), below is video explaining how to properly enjoy sashimi:



Image courtesy Wikimedia