Sushi is one of the healthiest food options around today, with each bite being a well-balanced combination of carbs, protein, and fats.
That said, each bite also packs an exquisite amount of flavor, from the slight vinegary taste of the rice to the texture of each unique cut of fish.
By knowing more about this unique dish, it is not only possible to better enjoy what is currently on your plate, but also make tastier decisions next time.
Know Your Terms
Not all sushi is the same. The term ‘sushi’ actually describes the preparation of the rice with something added on top.
‘Sashimi,’ on the other hand, describes the slice of raw fish that is often, but not always, served on top of a ball of such rice.
‘Nigirizushi’ denotes a small ball of rice with a piece of sashimi on top. Finally, ‘makizushi’ is the word for a rolled preparation.
That said, most chefs don’t expect their customers to know every fact about what goes into making their meal, but as with anything, a bit of preparation can help to demonstrate considerable respect as well as make the meal much more enjoyable.
Sushi Chefs are True Masters
If that all seems like a lot to keep track of, keep in mind that sushi chefs are true masters of their craft. It can take months to learn how to properly wash the rice alone.
In fact, the cost of sushi is only partially due to the expense of the ingredients, but largely due to the need to keep such a highly trained craftsman around.
You can use this to your culinary advantage by asking for a chef’s recommendations for a given meal. Let them know your preferences and your budget, and the chef’s knowledge of what is fresh will guarantee a great experience.
Less is More with Soy Sauce
Too much of a good thing is definitely a bad thing. No one would want to eat a perfect filet mignon with fast food ketchup slathered on top, and too much soy sauce does the same thing to fish.
If you do decide that the piece could benefit from a bit of soy sauce, make sure to avoid getting the rice wet; it acts as a sponge for the sauce and can overpower the rest of the piece.
Eating with Your Hands is Okay
If it sounds a bit difficult to rotate that piece of nigirizushi with your chopsticks, feel free to put them aside and just use your hands. Sushi was designed to be eaten with your fingers in the first place.
Some establishments even provide a small bowl of water to keep your fingertips from becoming sticky from the starch of the rice. If you do decide to use chopsticks, however, never rub them together; it is a show of considerable disrespect to do so.
One or Two Bites, Please
Sushi is designed to be eaten in one bite, two tops. While many people like to point out the difference in serving sizes between the United States and the rest of the world, with sushi it is a matter of manners; sushi was built to be a one-bite delight, and splitting it into more than that was, and is, frowned upon in Japan.
While some American pieces may be too big for one bite, keeping that in mind will help you enjoy the meal more.
Different Cuts of Fish
Filet mignon, sirloin, and chuck all have different textures and flavors, despite coming from the same animal. This is the same concept when it comes to the sushi approach to fish.
While a menu may look bewildering with different cuts of tuna or salmon, anything with ‘fatty’ in front of it is just from a different part of the fish.
Correct Order of Eating
Finally, it is worth understanding the proper order of eating sushi. Just as one would not start with dessert and save the soup for the end of a Western meal, sushi has a specific order.
Luckily, it is pretty easy to remember. Nigirizushi is eaten first, with choices of pieces going from lighter to darker and more lean to more fatty.
This is done so that you can better enjoy the textures and flavors of the lighter fish without being overpowered by the fatty flavors from later. At the very end of the meal, rolled sushi (makizushi) is ordered to round out the experience.
While this list only scratches the surface of what goes into every bite, it is hoped that it does help you better enjoy your next visit.
Eating sushi can be an exciting culinary adventure for everyone. SushiFork of Dallas makes the adventure even more exciting by having a fuller understanding and appreciation of this international delight.