This Is How You Eat Sushi Properly So You’ll Make the Most of Your Dining Experience

Plus, learn the difference between kaitenzushi or conveyor belt sushi and sushiya or sushi restaurants.

Whether you’re just visiting or living in Japan, sushi is one Japanese dish that everyone always wants to try. For people who are from a country where raw food is not commonly served, it can be quite a challenge. But eventually, sushi has become a favorite for many that they even make it a routine and already have a go-to sushi restaurant.

While sushi chains are almost everywhere and rapidly evolving their menu, local sushi restaurants serving the traditional way still exist and should be tried to have a greater appreciation of the cuisine. With so many options available, how do we know the difference? Simply put, those with trains of sushi moving around on a conveyor belt are kaitenzushi shops. These are usually chain restaurants and offer sushi at cheap prices. These kaitenzushi shops most often serve non-traditional sushi, combining different ingredients such as onion slices, avocado, cheese, and mayonnaise among others. The fully-fledged sushi restaurants or sushiya are those that have bar-style setups, where professional sushi chefs stand behind the bar, ready to serve traditional sushi with only the two main ingredients of a sushi -- neta, the topping, and shari, the vinegared rice. Contrary to the prices offered in kaitenzushi, they can be quite expensive because not only do you pay for fresh and high quality ingredients, but you also have to factor in the cost of being served by a highly-skilled sushi chef.

Once you’ve made a choice of which sushi shop you’ll go to, we recommend you take some of our tips below on how to make the most out of your sushi dining experience.

First things first, clean your hands.

All sushi restaurants provide a wet tissue or cloth to wipe your hands clean because sushi can either be eaten with the use of chopsticks or simply with your bare hands.

Wasabi: Go or no?

If you’re not a fan of wasabi, you can always ask them not to dab some wasabi on the shari by saying, “Wasabi-nuki de onegaishimasu.” Usually, the chef will still put a small amount of wasabi on the side of the sushi tray or wasabi packs are readily available on the table. We recommend that you dissolve some wasabi into the soy sauce to add a kick and to make sure the sushi is fresh.

Eat them with chopsticks.

Sushi is most commonly eaten with chopsticks simply because people don’t want their hands to get sticky or oily. More often than not, people tend to dip the shari directly to the soy sauce because it’s easier to eat the sushi that way -- you just lift the sushi and dip. But it usually ends up ruining the shari on to the soy sauce.


We recommend that you tilt it to the side first, so you can dip the neta smoothly into the soy sauce just enough to taste it. Please don’t dunk it or you’ll ruin everything including the flavor.

Some restaurants these days serve a bigger slice of neta than the usual. Don’t force yourself to consume it in one bite. You can always slice it in half with the use of chopsticks.

Or eat them with bare hands.

It’s easier this way. Grab the sushi with your thumb, index, and middle fingers, hold it with a gentle hand so as not to destroy its perfect form. Again, tilt it on the side and dip the neta in soy sauce.

Whether you eat them either way, sushi is best consumed immediately after it is served to preserve its freshness and full flavor.

Cleanse your palate with gari.

The gari or the pickled ginger served in any sushi restaurant, not only cleanses your palate but also has antimicrobial properties that are useful when eating raw fish. You can also use gari to spread some soy sauce onto neta that has some condiments on top of it.

Provided by Karaksa Media Partner (11 June 2019)

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