How to Use Chopsticks
Using chopsticks is a custom of many Asian countries, not just Japan. The use of these utensils originated in China, nearly 5,000 years ago. They were convenient for reaching into pots with hot water or oil when cooking soups or noodles, and were easily made from twigs. Nowadays, most chopsticks are made from bamboo wood, but other materials are also used. Using chopsticks correctly is a sign of good manners and believe it or not, improperly using chopsticks in Japan and some other countries can be taken as a sign of grave insult.
Steps for proper use:
1) Hold one chopstick with your pointer finger, middle finger, and thumb. This position is similar to how many people hold pencils when writing. The chopstick should rest on your first knuckle of your middle finger and your pointer finger should be bracing the top. The thumb should pinch the chopstick towards your pointer finger. When moving this chopstick, your thumb should remain stationary while your pointer and middle finger extends to move the chopstick up and down.
2) The second chopstick should be held in the crease between your thumb and palm. This chopstick should not be moved when being used.
3) Chopsticks should never rest on the table after they have touched food. Place them on the side of your plate when not in use.
The Traditional Way of Eating Sushi
There is art in making sushi, but there is also art in eating it. Sushi should be ordered for the table to share. It is made so the rolls are cut into pieces and families enjoy a sampling of each type. When ordering, opt for raw fish. All sushi fish is grade AAA and very safe to consume. If you are trying sushi for the first time, make sure to ask your server for recommendations! We have a wide selection of rolls and we will do our best to make sure you enjoy every bite.
Cut sushi should always be eaten with your hands. Chopsticks are given to tables to enhance the dining experience, but in traditional Japan, rolls and nigiri are always picked up with the pointer finger, middle finger, and thumb before eaten. Sashimi however, should always be eaten with chopsticks. Chopsticks can also be used for rice and appetizers. If you get rice on your hands, never use your mouth to clean them! Wipe them on a napkin when needed.
If you use soy sauce on your food, never pour the sauce directly onto the food. All dishes are usually well seasoned, but if you like extra or less spice, make sure to request it when ordering. If using soy sauce with sushi, pour a reasonable amount into the sauce dishes provided. Dip the sushi into the sauce, don't dunk! Soy sauce will overwhelm sushi with saltiness, but when used correctly, can enhance the flavor of the fish. When using soy sauce with nigiri, the fish side should be dipped into the sauce, not the rice. This is because the rice will often fall into the dish of soy sauce and is considered a sign of bad manners when sharing the sauce with rice pieces in it.
Lastly, pickled ginger should never be eaten with the sushi pieces. The intention of the pickled ginger is to cleanse the palate before eating a new roll, so it should be eaten on its own.
Sushi is a tradition in Japan that has spanned thousands of centuries. While you certainly do not have to follow these traditions when eating sushi, you are sure to impress your friends with your knowledge of traditional Japanese dining etiquette!