Why You Should Never Mix Wasabi With Soy Sauce When Eating Sushi
Imagine you are out to eat some sushi or sashimi at your favorite sushi joint. Just before your plate arrives, what do you do? Take your chopsticks out and rub them together? Hopefully not, or at least not out in the open, as that’s pretty disrespectful in just about every Asian culture.
What about your soy sauce dish? Do you put a little soy sauce in it and add a good amount of wasabi as well, being sure to dissolve all the little chunks? Most people do. It’s a pretty common practice actually, and many well-traveled individuals will find that some Japanese people also do it. But if you are going for a “Downton Abbey”-level of class when you eat sushi, you’ll find that mixing your wasabi and soy sauce is not proper.
We won’t tell you it’s wrong, but apparently it isn’t the right way either. So here’s why, according to RocketNews24, along with how you can eat your sushi and sashimi with class.
1. It destroys the taste of soy sauce. Okay, you won’t find gourmet soy sauce or ponzu at just any sushi joint in the U.S. where regular and reduced sodium Kikkoman reign supreme, but if you do find a legit joint (which will probably be impressively expensive), odds are the sushi chef there has hand-picked the soy sauce they serve there.
A traditional and proud chef will add soy to your fish if needed, meaning that if you add more to the original mix of flavors, you are slapping the chef in the face and telling him you don’t think his mix of flavors is correct. Oh, are you also a master sushi chef that has devoted their entire life to this fine art? We think not.
2. It ruins the taste of wasabi. Again, we are only talking about those legit sushi restaurants where instead of using wasabi that comes from a powder or tube, the chef has hand-picked the wasabi stem and ground it fresh for you. Adding this wasabi, which took time and love to pick out, to soy sauce is another slap to the face.
Especially when you sit at a sushi bar, that chef who has created edible art for you is always watching to see if you can even appreciate his work. Please do.
3. It’s not beautiful. Have you noticed how impeccable sushi and sashimi look? Are you aware that Japanese culture has one of the most elaborate and artful set of manners in the world? Everything about sushi and eating it should be beautiful, so creating a mix of some sewage-colored solution in your soy sauce bowl is another no-no. Leave the dark brown soy sauce and the bright green wasabi separate, as it should be.
What about that ginger?
We can’t lay down a bunch of rules on soy sauce and wasabi without mentioning the last most common item to the trinity — ginger. To set the record straight, David Gelb, the director of “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” and someone who knows a thing or two about sushi, told Bon Appetit:
“One thing to never do: don’t put ginger on top of your sushi and don’t put ginger in your soy sauce either … If the sushi chef wants some ginger on the piece of sushi for balance, he will have put it on there himself.”
The ginger is there as a palate cleanser, not a supplemental taste item. Cleanse your palate, don’t mix and match, and respect the art.
The Right Way
If you must add the taste of soy sauce and wasabi to your rolls or sashimi, the proper way is quite simple. Place a small chunk of wasabi on one side, dip the other side in soy sauce, and prepare your mouth for the proper trifecta of flavors. Easy, right?
If you are ever headed to a traditional sushi restaurant here in the U.S. or all the way to Japan, you should watch this video. Legendary sushi chef Naomichi Yasuda shows you how to eat sushi the proper way.
One More Tip …
RocketNews24 also included a helpful tip for the proper order to eat your sashimi — lightest to darkest. You see, darker meat is assumed to have a stronger taste, so if you start with the lighter colored fish, the tastes of the different fish won’t overlap or over-power each other.
So the next time you are out to a nice sushi restaurant, show appreciation for the fine work of the chef who made you your delicious meal (because sushi chefs are sensitive artists), unless you want be to end up like this girl and be ridiculed by your country in the internet.
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