By now you’ve certainly hit the sushi bar countless times, but do you know there is a certain etiquette to be upheld once traversing the delicate cuisine of sushi restaurants, beside general politeness which should be obligatory not only in sushi places but in general, sometimes it’s easy to forget yourself inside a sushi place and you start picking up treys from the conveyer belt and adding wasabi according to your heart’s contempt. We strongly urge you to consider these rules if you ever want to visit a non-chain restaurant.
1. Arriving at the restaurant
When you arrive at a sushi restaurant make sure you greet the host by honoring the traditional Japanese Irasshaimase, the trick is not to reply with anything even though this might seem disrespectable it’s a perfectly normal Japanese custom. Now if you want to partake in observing the master at work ask to be seated right next to the bar otherwise just sit at any available table, also it’s considered a polite gesture if you make reservations before arriving and pay in cash when you are done, if you miss your appointment don’t be surprised if you are expected to pay regardless because we all know sushi is served fresh and it’s a shame to let it go to waste.
Once courtesy and mutual respects have been exchanged, it’s time to order your sushi, first of all, if you are seated at the bar, keep in mind not to order drinks or bother the chef while working ask the waitress for non-sushi products, you may jest with the chef when he is not preparing meals and this could earn you points with him as he would personally want to treat you with something special later on, oh and also restrain yourself from asking the itamae (chef) the phrase ,,Is it fresh?,, but instead, inquire about recommendations. Please ask for permission from the proprietor of the restaurant before taking pictures even though most places allow taking photos this is considered displaying good manners.
3. Main Course
Rub the chopsticks together to remove splinters and try not to point them at other people as this is considered to be disrespectful to the restaurant. You may be presented with a wet towel before the meal which you should use to wash your hands and try to fold as close as it was presented to you after washing. It’s perfectly normal to eat sushi with hands while the sashimi is reserved for chopsticks. Some sushi like the nigiri should be eaten in one bite if they are chunks aren’t too big at which is common for some restaurants, use the small Gari (ginger) to refresh your pallet between meals.
4. After the meal
Make sure you don’t leave any food left on the plate, if you want to tip the chef master a special jar at the bar should take paper money, return the chopsticks on their designated rest areas or place them on the ceramic rest provided, don’t linger in the restaurant for too long as other customers may want to experience the exquisite art of sushi restaurants too , but take your time to finish your drink or sake first.
The most important rule we saved for last. Have Fun! Try to have a good time and don’t feel intimidated by all these rules, you being the customer should get the best experience possible and enjoy it as much as you can, however, try to honor the graceful nature of eating sushi as it’s considered the art of preparing food with Japanese people.
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