Up next in Introduction to Sushi Making (8 videos)
Save money by learning to make a few of your favorite sushi rolls at home with the recipes and instructions in these food videos.
You Will Need
- A sake carafe and cups
- Cold Japanese beer
- or warm green tea
- A dinner plate or platter
- Small condiment dish
- Soy sauce
- Prepared wasabi
- At least 2 pieces of sashimi
- At least 2 pieces of nigiri sushi
- At least 6 pieces of maki roll
- Pickled ginger slices
Choose a good restaurant
Go to a restaurant specializing in sushi—Japanese-owned or -operated establishments tend to offer the most authentic selections. And if you’re in a land-locked place, make sure they pride themselves on sushi that’s as fresh as possible.
Wash your hands
If you’re offered a hot, moist towel, wash your hands with it now. It will be removed from your table before your food is served.
It is customary to order some sake, likely served in a carafe with small cups, to enjoy before your meal is served.
Pour sake for your dinner companions—traditionally, no one should pour it for themselves, at least for the first round—and then toast. Hold your cup aloft and say, 'Kampai!'
When your sushi platter arrives at your table, switch your beverage to cold Japanese beer or hot green tea.
If your chopsticks come wrapped, take off the wrapper and break apart the sticks—but don’t rub them against each other to remove splinters, which rudely implies that the restaurant has cheap chopsticks. When you’re not using them, they should be propped on the holder or soy sauce dish parallel to you.
You’re done when your plate is clean—except for the wasabi and gari, of course. Place your chopsticks horizontally across your soy sauce dish to signal that you’re finished, and thank the chefs.
Pour soy sauce
Pour a small amount of soy sauce into the little empty dish, but don’t pour in more than three tablespoons at a time. If you need more later, add more then.
Notice the green mound of wasabi on your sushi plate. This spicy horseradish is used to season soy sauce and add flavor to the fish. With one chopstick, take a pea-size amount and stir it into the soy sauce.
Continue eating the pieces of nigiri sushi and maki rolls one at a time, alternating with pieces of gari and topping off the soy sauce dish as necessary.
Begin with sashimi
If you have a plate of sushi and sashimi, it is customary to eat sashimi first. With your chopsticks, pick up one piece of sashimi, dip it in soy sauce, then place the whole piece in your mouth.
Using your chopsticks, eat a piece of gari, or pickled ginger, from the pile of wet slices on your sushi plate. This is to be eaten between pieces of fish as a palate cleanser.
Continue alternating eating sashimi with palate-cleansing ginger.
Refill soy sauce
When you have finished all your sashimi, refill your soy sauce dish.
With your chopsticks, pick up a piece of nigiri sushi and drag it through the soy sauce fish-side down, so the rice doesn’t soak up too much. Place the entire piece in your mouth, unless it is very large, in which case two bites are acceptable.
If you are uncomfortable using chopsticks, eating nigiri sushi with your fingers is an acceptable custom.