Sushi Etiquette – what you don’t know might surprise you!


You have been eating sushi your whole life? Well, what you might not know about sushi etiquette could just surprise you. Like many things Japanese, it’s all in the details. Confession: when my Japanese friend (who is also a sushi chef) gave me these tips, I realized I had been doing several things wrong for years! So here is a quick cheatsheet on the Dos and Don’ts of proper sushi etiquette.

– Actually, it is traditional to eat sushi with the hands, not with chopsticks (with the exception of sashimi and some rolls). But it’s OK if you prefer to use chopsticks. Either are fine.
– Turn the sushi roll over and dip the fish (not the rice) into the soy sauce.
– Put the whole portion into your mouth, fish side down toward the tongue.
– Use the fatter back end of the chopsticks when taking food from a shared plate.
– When not using your chopsticks, the should be rested across your plate or on the chopstick rest, parallel to the sushi bar.
– Signal you are finished by resting your chopsticks across your sushi saucer.

– Never rub your chopsticks together after snapping them apart! Apparently this is the height of rudeness.
– Never mix wasabi in with the soy sauce. Sushi should be prepared with the proper amount of wasabi directly on this fish. If, however, you would like more, simply apply it directly to the fish.
– Never rest your chopsticks with just the tips on your plate. And never, ever leave your chopsticks sitting in a bowl with the ends jutting out.
– Do not put the ginger on your sushi and eat it together. Ginger is meant to be consumed between bites to cleanse the palate.
– If eating in a sushi bar, never hand money to the chef. It is considered to be the height of rude.

So never unknowingly offend your sushi chef or fellow diners again. Become a sushi sensai with these sushi etiquette tips.


About Joanna Hutchins

Joanna Hutchins is a culinary travel blogger based in Shanghai, China.. In 2009, Joanna founded Accidental Epicurean, a culinary travel blog focused on Asia. Joanna is also a contributor to CNNGo, Look East magazine, SE Asia Globe and Two magazine.