You know, I love a good pizza. I also love my sushi. In fact, I love it a lot. Unlike pizza, though, whose in-your-face flavours hide weak ingredients, sushi is not much more than a topping and some rice. There just aren't enough ingredients to cover any mishaps in the kitchen. This means that to find greater enjoyment in your sushi, you'll need to develop an appreciation of the levels of subtlety contained in the ingredients.
The simplest advice that anyone could give about eating sushi in Japan is this: watch the locals. Have a look. Are they drowning their sushi in soy sauce? Are they using chopsticks or their fingers? Do they bite their sushi in half or take it in whole? If you think about it, you may come to see that much of the etiquette associated with sushi turns out to be really not much more than a form of good manners towards the chef.
So with that in mind, here are some of simple do's of sushi eating:
- Do take a moment to savour the piece you are about to eat. Take a good look at it. Look at its craftsmanship, and as you bite, feel the textures and release of flavours,
- Do pay attention to the rice. Sushi is the rice. It's helpful to think of the topping as flavouring to bring out its quality,
- Do eat some ginger in between sushi. The ginger is there to cleanse the palate so that the flavour of the piece you just ate doesn't interfere with the next piece,
- Do use your fingers to eat. It's tactile and fun. Good Japanese cuisine tries to engage all of the senses, not just taste.
So there you go, the easiest culinary rules in the world. All that's left is to enjoy.