The newcomer’s guide to eating sushi

By Jessica Broverman, Contributing Writer

The front runner of food is that it is nourishment. Eating keeps our bodies not only functioning, but also vibrant and healthy. The second part to consuming food is the experience. I’m not just talking about having a nice server and getting yummy food. Eating the same thing gets old and getting creative with food is necessary, but can also be scary.

As an avid sushi eater I will show you what you might enjoy, how to order it, and how to eat it. Feel free to get some chopsticks and a California roll, because we’re jumping right into 寿司 aka sushi.  

I’d like to knock out a few average fears upfront. Not all sushi is raw, so don’t think you will have to eat uncooked meat for every sushi meal. Also, it is expected that you use chopsticks, but if you’d rather use a fork instead, no one will make you feel unworthy of sushi because of it. If you don’t want to try raw sushi because of that simple factor, you should throw that thought right out the window and here is why.  

According to Reddit, when fish is processed and sent out to distributors, it is done in a much more cleanly way than chicken or beef. Also, certain things that make fish sick, do not affect the human body. It is important to purchase great quality sushi, so that you know it will be handled properly prior to your consumption. This means do not under any circumstances purchase sushi from a gas station. I know it’s a bad idea, you know it’s a bad idea, so just stay away from it.  

If you aren’t feeling up to eating the raw fish just yet, cooked sushi is just as delicious. Fried shrimp, also called shrimp tempura, is a great cooked option because it comes in a multitude of rolls. These rolls often have vegetables, cream cheese, or avocados in them to give them some extra flavor along with some delicious sauces. You may also get deep friend crab or lobster in a roll of your choice, but it will be much pricier than shrimp.  

Since I brought up tempura, it’s important that you learn other lingo if you are going to venture towards the raw fish options. We already know tempura means fried, but know we will get into the difference between sushi and sashimi. Sashimi is raw fish with no rice, while sushi is with rice. When you see these options in the same section on your menu, what you are ordering is not a roll. It will often be two or more pieces of fish and if it is sushi, then it will have rice underneath the fish rather than wrapped around it. 

Ordering sushi is actually the easiest part because you already know what you want and the person you are speaking to is a sushi genius. Well, maybe not a sushi genius, but they’ll know the menu better than you. Simply read off what sushi rolls or pieces you would like and if you would like a specific roll out first or last, specify that to your server. When you rattle them all off, they more than likely will bring them all at once.  

Once you finally have your delicious and colorful food in front of you, it’s hard to figure out how to pick it up and what sauces to use on it. You’ll notice that you have a glob of green stuff and a glob of yellowish stuff. The pinch of green on your plate is wasabi and the funky stuff next to it is ginger. The ginger is there to clean your palate and the wasabi is meant to put on your sushi for a spicy flavor and to also make your sushi safer to eat.

No matter how well taken care of your food is, there will always be risk when eating raw food, but wasabi can help. To get some more flavor you may also use soy sauce. It gives your sushi a bit more flavor and compliments it very well. If you order sushi pieces, traditionally you are supposed to dip it fish side first into the soy sauce, but I’ve found that to be messy.

I dip sushi in rice first so that it can better absorb the flavor, but to each his own. As I said before, if you can’t use chopsticks, you may use a fork or even ask the server for beginner chopsticks. Yes, they exist and they are super easy to use.  

Now you are a sushi expert! It may seem like a lot, but this is a whole new eating adventure. No more, “Italian again tonight?” Treat yourself and buy some top notch sushi!