Wednesday, August 25, 2010

How to eat sushi properly (Can I eat sushi in two bites?)

Hello Sushi Girl,
I know good etiquette dictates that you eat the whole piece at once but many restaurants make the pieces very large. What is your suggestion on properly eating it then?
Thank you, Theresa

Sushi is intended to be eaten in a single bite, as one mouthful (albeit a somewhat large mouthful). 

This is much easier to do at restaurants in Japan where food portions have not been perverted by the "bigger is better" theory of marketing. But even in Japan, sushi portions -- and other dishes prepped and served to people who have only chopsticks and no way to cut their food smaller -- can be a bit challenging for the average sized mouth. This is why it is very common to see people all over Japan covering their mouths as they chew.

But back here in the States, if you are going to a restaurant that makes the nigiri sushi too large to eat in one bite, then I say ignore etiquette and just do whatever you have to do. However, if you do decide to try to bite it in half, and if the sushi rice is molded correctly (meaning it is not too tightly packed together), then the rest of the bite will probably fall apart in your hands or fall from your chopsticks.

Now when it comes to maki sushi (cut up sushi rolls like California Rolls), you are just going to have to shove the entire piece in your mouth. That is your only option because when the seaweed first touches rice in the rolling process, it absorbs moisture which causes it to lose its crispness and toughen up. At that point, it will be nearly impossible to get your front teeth through the seaweed and you are really going to need to use your molars.

Thanks for the question Theresa.

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