9 facts about sushi every real connoisseur should know
For starters, you should be eating it with your hands
Sushi is daunting territory for those who’ve never tried it. And even if a plate of freshly-plated salmon sashimi is your idea of heaven, chances are, you’re eating it wrong. Chef Ting Yen at The St. Regis Mumbai’s Japanese restaurant, Yuuka, breaks surrounding Japan’s best-known export, making it far more accessible to those who want to know what the fuss is all about.
- Sushi isn’t just raw food: Sushi comes in various formats, as Chef Yen puts it. There are variants that may have raw food, cooked food or even just vegetables — you can ask the server for options as per your preference.
- There is more than one type of sushi: In terms of process and product, sushi is prepared in different ways. The most common types are the Nigiri rolls and Maki rolls. Nigiri are slices of raw fish or other ingredients placed on a small piece of vinegar-soaked rice. On the other hand, Maki rolls are have ingredients wrapped in nori (roasted seaweed sheets) and seasoned rice.
A lip-smacking example of Nigiri sushi
- You don’t have to eat sushi with chopsticks: Traditionally, sushi is picked up with bare hands, dipped in a mixture of soy sauce and wasabi and devoured. The use of chopsticks, is by no means, necessary.
- Chopsticks can be used to eat anything and everything: Although it’s not a mandate to use chopsticks to eat Japanese food, they can be used to eat ramen, rice, dumplings, citrus, scallops, sashimi, tuna and sushi.
- There is a right way to hold chopsticks: Use three fingers — the thumb, index finger and middle finger — to control and move the sticks and the fourth finger to support them and keep them levelled.
Don’t be shy, pick up the sushi with your bare hands
- Soy sauce and wasabi should never be mixed in an equal ratio: Wasabi is a much stronger sauce and is best used in 1:8 ratio with soy sauce. Trust the advice — you don’t want to be spoiling your sushi experience with an overload of pungency.
- The number of dishes on the menu are not an indication of expertise: Sushi is an art that few have mastered. Chef Yen suggests you be wary of restaurants that only serve basic sushi rolls — chances are, you’re being served stale, wrapped up veggies in the name of Japanese cuisine.
- Nothing makes a sushi chef angrier than the use of additional sauces: Most sushi chefs prepare their dishes with the exact condiments and don’t like their guests adding more sauces to the mix. Take a step back if your chef suggests it.
- Beginners have great options too: For everyone who has stayed away from trying sushi so far, Chef Yen has great news — there are great options for sushi beginners too. Start with a tempura (veggies or meat coated in flour batter and deep fried)