You’re eat­ing sushi all wrong

Whitsunday Times - - LIFE - SI­MONE MITCHELL —

WE AUSSIES are an en­thu­si­as­tic bunch, and we’re keen to try new things. But ac­cord­ing to some sushi con­nois­seurs, there are some big mis­takes we’re mak­ing when it comes to eat­ing Ja­panese cui­sine. We asked three of Sydney’s top sushi chefs to high­light where we’re go­ing wrong.

1) Stop mix­ing wasabi into your soy sauce, you an­i­mal

Sungy­ong Lee, sushi chef at Saké Restau­rant & Bar says cus­tomers shouldn’t need to use wasabi at all. “The fish should be per­fectly sea­soned al­ready,” he ex­plains. “Wasabi is of­ten added to the ni­giri by the chef (dabbed un­der the fish be­fore it’s placed on top of the rice) ... Mix­ing wasabi and soy re­sults in a clash of flavours.”

2) You know how you lay the pick­led ginger on the sushi and eat it in one gulp? Oh no no no ...

“Pick­led ginger should be eaten be­tween dif­fer­ent pieces of sushi to cleanse the palate,” ex­plains Chase Ko­jima from Sokyo.

3) Scrap­ing your wooden chop­sticks to­gether be­fore eat­ing is not on

Head chef Su­nil Shrestha from Toko ex­plains “of­ten guests do this with wooden chop­sticks to re­move any splin­ters, al­though it is seen to be rude in high end restau­rants as they use high qual­ity chop­sticks”. “This is def­i­nitely a no-no” adds Ko­jima.

4) You shouldn’t be adding soy to your ni­giri ...

“If you’re a purist, give soy a miss,” says Lee. Ko­jima agrees: If you are served ni­giri at a fine din­ing restau­rant or any good Ja­panese restau­rant, it should al­ready be sea­soned. “Every­one likes a dif­fer­ent amount of salti­ness on their sushi so a lot of peo­ple will still sea­son their sushi to taste. If in doubt, ask your sushi chef ”. Shrestha adds that peo­ple who add soy sauce to their miso soup make him cringe a lit­tle. And if you must add soy? Don’t pour it straight on to the ni­giri. Use one of the nifty lit­tle dip­ping bowls. “The cor­rect way to sea­son your sushi is to flip the fish so that only the fish is dipped in the soy sauce, not the rice,” says Ko­jima. Lee adds that you can use pick­led ginger to dip in the soy and brush it lightly on top of the fish as an al­ter­na­tive.

5) Good news for any­one who has grap­pled with chop­sticks ... you should ac­tu­ally be eat­ing ni­giri with your hands

“Tra­di­tion­ally sushi is eaten with your hands which is why the por­tions are pre­pared bite size,” ex­plains Shrestha. “Be­cause of this, of­ten an os­hi­bori (hot hand towel) is pro­vided at the start of the meal so you can clean your hands.”

6) You’re eat­ing your ni­giri up­side down, you putz

“When I eat ni­giri I al­ways turn it up­side down, so the fish hits my tongue first,” ex­plains Lee. “If you eat it rice first, the vine­gar in the rice will help mask the beau­ti­ful, del­i­cate flavour of the fish. If you’ve doused your sushi in soy by rolling it in a dish, all you will taste is soy”.

7) Don’t bite into the ni­giri and drop it all over the shop — hoover it in one mouth­ful

“Sushi is de­signed to be eaten in one bite and each piece should be de­signed to taste great as a whole,” says Chase. “If you can’t eat it all in one piece, ask your sushi chef to make it smaller for you.” Lee adds “if you eat it in two mouth­fuls, the sec­ond bite will never taste as good as the first.”

8) There’s a par­tic­u­lar or­der your sushi should be eaten in

“You should start with the light­est flavoured fish first: so work from white fish, to slightly fat­tier fish such as salmon and tuna, then oily fish such as mack­erel, fol­lowed by ni­giri that has been blow­torched, and fi­nally scal­lop,” ex­plains Lee. “If you eat heav­ily flavoured fish first, you won’t be able to taste the more del­i­cate flavoured fish.”

9) Those “cooked” tuna rolls are a bit frowned upon

“Please don’t ask for sushi rolls that in­clude tinned tuna or salmon,” im­plores Lee. “Try the beau­ti­ful raw fish op­tions in­stead, the flavours are much more lovely”.

10) Drink­ing wine with your sushi is a lit­tle off

Ev­ery chef we in­ter­viewed was unan­i­mous about this: they would like to see more Aus­tralians drink­ing sake with their sushi, in­stead of wine. Ko­jima says, “I would love to see more din­ers drink­ing sake with sushi, or if you’re not drink­ing al­co­hol, stick with green tea as it matches the flavours per­fectly. “A lot of Aus­tralians like to drink wine with sushi, so it’s worth not­ing that red wine is the hard­est to match as it brings out the fish flavour of the sushi ... “That said, I love my red wine. Maybe try to save it for af­ter your sushi.”


FOOD FOR THOUGHT: We make some big mis­takes when it comes to eat­ing Ja­panese cui­sine.

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