Food: Sushi Restaurant Etiquette 101

sushi, beautiful / October 08-09 midnightDining cultural differences are vast between the East and West. One doesn’t want to show up to a dinner date at a Sushi restaurant and act like a total noob, so here are a few pointers.

  • Ask to be seated at the sushi bar if you want to watch the sushi chef (or itamae) prepare the sushi. Stick with a table if you’d rather opt out of the interaction.
  • Never ask the itame “what’s fresh?” as this implies that some of the items aren’t, and is considered an insult. Instead, ask what he recommends. Also, don’t order anything other than sushi or sashimi from your itamae. Leave the rest to your waitress.
  • Be mindful of your palette, as it’s impolite to leave food on your plate.
  • When it comes to chopsticks- never rub them together, use them to pass food from one plate to another or stab them into your rice. Chopsticks stuck vertically into rice is symbolic of death!
  • If you get soup without a spoon, don’t ask for one. You’re meant to pick up the bowl and drink from it.
  • Flying edamame can be prevented by putting pod in your mouth and squeezing from the bottom.
  • The ginger slices are meant to be a palate cleanser between different foods, not to be eaten with the sushi. The white shredded radish (daikon) is intended to be eaten between orders.
  • You shouldn’t refill your own sake or green tea, so be mindful of your companion’s drink levels! In more formal situations, use two hands to hold the drink vessel when pouring.
  • Oh, and the green stuff is hot 😉

Of course, there’s an app for that! SushiGuru has great ratings and a ton of information on over 200 types of sushi, letting you search by name or ingredients.