The handmade sushi prepared daily at Matsuri is a popular lunchtime option but few Enex diners realise there’s a right way and a wrong way to devour this Japanese delicacy.
From how you wield your chopsticks to where to apply wasabi, there’s more to sushi etiquette than meets the eye. Not just good table manners, sushi etiquette is all about getting the most bang with each bite.
Fans of nigiri – thinly sliced fish served atop vinegared rice – might not have given too much thought to which side of their sushi they dip into soy sauce but Iron Chef’s Masaharu Morimoto says one option is preferable.
According to Morimoto, who is approaching his 40th year as a chef, diners should always dip nigiri into soy sauce fish side down to prevent the rice from falling apart. Once dipped, Morimoto recommends placing the nigiri fish side down on the tongue to get the most flavour from every mouthful.
Each piece of nigiri is crafted to be the ideal size to fit into your mouth in one go, so there’s no need to chop it up. Use chopsticks (fingers are also acceptable) and place the whole piece in your mouth at once. Enjoy the balanced flavour of the finely cut fish, perfectly cooked rice, soy sauce (not too much!) and the wasabi, which the chef applied between the fish and rice during the assembly process.
While it’s fine to eat nigiri with your fingers, the same reasoning doesn’t apply to sashimi. Similar to nigiri, albeit served without any rice, sashimi should always be eaten with chopsticks as it’s considered poor table manners to handle raw fish with your fingers.
Ginger is another cause of confusion for many sushi lovers. While some westerners have taken to eating each slice of sushi with a piece of ginger, the ginger served on your plate or in your takeaway container is actually intended as a refreshing palate cleanser to be eaten between mouthfuls or between different varieties of sushi.
Some like it hot, others not so much, which is why wasabi is generally served to the side. Resist the urge to mix wasabi into your soy sauce; instead use your chopsticks to apply the wasabi to the opposite side of the sushi that you intend to dip into the soy sauce. This will ensure you get the right amount of wasabi for your palate with each piece of sushi and you won’t make an unsightly, lumpy mess mixing the soy and wasabi together.
However you choose to eat this Japanese classic, you won’t be disappointed by the delicious range of sushi available at Matsuri!