If you’re a bit nervous about trying sushi for the first time, here’s a guide to everything you need to know about eating sushi.
Sushi is one of those foods that’s not only appetizing, but also delicious. Its unique, colorful combinations and rich flavor appeal to people all over the world.
However, if you’ve never tried sushi before, you may be a bit nervous, as most people associate sushi with raw fish— and raw food is something that some people avoid. You may also feel a bit intimidated by chopsticks and the sushi etiquette that sushi lovers seem to understand.
But rest assured, after reading our beginner’s guide to eating sushi, you will feel a lot more confident with your ‘sushi skills.’
But First, What Exactly Is Sushi?
Sushi is a Japanese dish predominately made up of rice and often wrapped in nori, or dark green seaweed. While raw fish may come to mind when the word sushi is mentioned, some of the most popular sushi rolls are actually made with cooked fish and/or vegetables.
Most sushi rolls are cut into 6 to 8 bite-sized pieces, though some rolls are larger and may be eaten in multiple bites.
Types of Sushi
There are many different types of sushi. Here are some you are likely to encounter on a sushi menu:
Maki: This is the most popular type of sushi, containing rice and a combo of veggies and/or fish, all wrapped in nori.
Nigiri: Unlike the traditional maki roll, nigiri are small mounds of rice with raw fish or veggies laid on top to perfection. It’s usually served in a portion of two.
Sashimi: Not technically sushi, sashimi is thinly-sliced raw fish, served without rice.
Temaki: Also called a hand roll or cone, this roll is similar to maki, but is made in a cone shape and doesn’t require chopsticks.
Uramaki: Consider this roll like an ‘inside-out’ maki roll. Uramaki is made with the rice on the outside and the seaweed and filling on the inside, and is frequently garnished with sesame seeds.
So which type of sushi would you like to try first?
Recommended Sushi Rolls for Beginners
If you don’t recognize the names of the sushi rolls on the menu, it’s because they are listed with their traditional Japanese names, or names that are unique to our restaurant. However, rest assured that a short description of the ingredients can be found next to each name, so you can know for sure what type of sushi you’re ordering. Of course, if you don’t recognize an ingredient, you can always ask your server.
If you’re nervous about eating raw fish, look for anything on the menu with vegetables without fish, or that has the word ‘tempura’ in it. Tempura is cooked fish coated with bread crumbs and lightly fried in batter. It gives the sushi a nice crunch, while adding a delicious flavor.
Here are a few popular rolls that we recommend trying when you place your first sushi order:
Livi’s Maki Vegetarian: Cucumber and sweet potato
Dani roll: Sweet potato, avocado and carrots covered with panko and black sesame seeds
Coby’s Green Roll: Seasonal green vegetables
Lully’s Tuna Mayo Roll: Tuna with homemade mayo, avocado, cucumber and a sesame mix
All of these rolls contain vegetables or cooked fish. But remember, this is just a guide, so feel free to be a bit more adventurous and try something new!
How to Eat Sushi?
There is no wrong way to eat sushi. But, if you’d like to learn how to eat sushi the traditional way—we can help.
Chopsticks or no chopsticks?
If you’re already familiar with using chopsticks, here’s your chance to put your skills to good use — your table will be set with chopsticks in place of regular silverware. But, if you haven’t yet mastered eating with chopsticks, using your fingers (or a fork) is fine too!
Wasabi and Ginger
When you receive your sushi order, you’ll notice small portions of green wasabi and pickled ginger on your plate.
Wasabi is similar to horseradish, potent and spicy — even the smallest amount has the potential to clear your sinuses and make your eyes tear.
Pickled ginger has a mild flavor that is supposed to relieve the burn of the wasabi. It’s also meant to help clean your palate in between rolls.
The First Bite
Now that you are familiar with the different ingredients on your plate and feel more comfortable sitting down to a sushi dinner with friends and family, it’s time to enjoy your first sushi experience.
Pick up your bite size sushi roll, dip it in soy sauce and pop it in your mouth. Take a few moments to enjoy the combination of flavors and textures and then eat to your heart’s content!
If you’re ready to expand your palate and give sushi a try, Sushi Mamilla is conveniently located in the heart of Jerusalem, just a 7 minute walk from the David Citadel Hotel. Our menu features a wide selection of freshly prepared sushi rolls, as well as other satisfying Japanese dishes that will have you coming back for more!