Sushi is all the rage these days. If someone says their favorite place to eat is a sushi restaurant, you know they are hip and cool. However, like every bandwagon, pretty soon everyone gets on and it’s hard to distinguish the people who are actually cool through their association with good sushi restaurants and those who are just trying to be like those aforementioned people. You want to be in the first demographic, not the second.
Here are some tips for learning to truly appreciate the delicate art that good sushi restaurants create, rather than following a fad you don’t really understand:
- Don’t Order Sushi Named After Places on a Map of the United States
We know, the Vegas roll is sort of delicious. We secretly love it too. The thing is, if you want to be taken seriously as a student of sushi cuisine, you should learn to order sushi named in its native tongue. When the art of sushi was developed in Japan, we promise you that Hanaya Yohei (the father of sushi) did not name his creation after the state of California.
And while we’re on the subject, do not let yourself get caught with a “Loco Mexican” roll, or any rolls that use unorthodox ingredients such as jalapenos. Your foodie card will be revoked on the spot if you ever succumb to this offensive fad. It was only created for people who don’t actually have the refined pallet to appreciate sushi.
- Don’t Visit Sushi Bars on Sundays
Generally, restaurants receive shipments of the ingredients they prepare their menu with Monday through Friday. With a seafood restaurant, this means that the fish they serve on Sunday was– at the very latest– delivered two days earlier and has been sitting in the fridge for a minimum of 48 hours. It is not fresh seafood. This more significant with sushi than other seafood menu items because the beauty of sushi is the delicate natural flavor of the fish itself; after a few days in the fridge, it starts to taste fishy.
Bonus: If you aspire to be a real sushi buff, make it a point to only visit good sushi restaurants that treat packaged, frozen fish as a cardinal sin. Bonus points if they tell you what days their fresh fish is delivered, so you can synchronize your visits around when the ingredients are the freshest.
- Don’t Mask the Sushi Flavor
One tell-tale mark of a sushi noob is drowning your sushi in soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, eel sauce, and so on. The star of an authentic sushi creation is the natural and diverse flavor of the fish itself. If you only like sushi if it is swimming in soy sauce, it is actually the flavor of the soy sauce that you like, not the sushi. You can ignore our previous tip about finding the freshest sushi. The flavor of sushi that is so fresh the sun hasn’t set since it was caught and sushi you find in the refrigerated section of a gas station taste similar if they are so saturated with soy sauce that they’re soggy.
- Don’t Take Bites
Sushi chefs spend years as apprentices mastering their art. Each bite is a master piece. A single roll is designed the include just enough of each flavor to bring a perfect balance to your taste buds. When you break it into to pieces, you completely destroy the tour of flavors that the chef created. Not to mention, it creates a mess and makes you look really awkward trying to scoop up pieces of rice from your plate. In fact, in authentic sushi culture, it is considered poor table manners to take bites out of your sushi rolls. You say your sushi roll is too large to eat in a single bite? One mark of good sushi restaurants is employing classically trained sushi chefs who avoid making rolls dubbed “The Ultra Mega Roll.”
- Don’t Eat Bargain Sushi
One way to put the “fish” in “aficionado” is to vow to never step foot in an establishment that advertises, “All-You-Can-Eat Sushi for $9.99!” These restaurants are reserved for people who don’t understand that they’re eating terrible sushi. You get what you pay for.