How to eat sushi properly

How do you eat sushi? Do you like to smear wasabi on top or slather it with mayo? Do you like to bite into the sushi, or eat it in one go? You might not realise this, but there is actually a ‘correct’ way to eat sushi. Here are some tips and insights on how to eat sushi properly and how to show your respect to the chef when you’re next at a Japanese restaurant.

It’s OK to eat with your fingers

Sushi can be eaten with your fingers or with chopsticks. Do not spear your sushi as it’s considered impolite. If you can’t use chopsticks, fingers are fine. Don’t rub your chopsticks together to remove splinters. Doing so indicates that you think they are of poor quality and can be seen as an insult.

eating sushi with chopsticks

Photo credit: Jcstudio / Freepik

Eat sushi in one bite

Sushi should be eaten in one bite. It is a work of art and biting into a sushi piece is considered very rude to the chef, who spent the time making the perfect piece for you. If the sushi piece is too big, or if you’re feeling self-conscious about opening your mouth too wide, tell the chef and he can adjust the proportion for you.

When eating the sushi, place it on your tongue face-down so you get the full flavour and freshness of the fish.

Add wasabi on top of the fish

The best way to enjoy wasabi with sashimi is to take your chopsticks and put a small amount on top of the fish. Rotate the sushi fish-down and dip it in the soy sauce. The rice and the soy sauce aren’t supposed to touch. This way, you can taste the flavour and aroma of wasabi with the fish.

Do not mix wasabi into the soy sauce. This will take away the nice aroma of the wasabi, as it becomes dissolved in the soy sauce.

Use soy sauce sparingly

Just add a little soy sauce into the little dish as needed. Don’t overfill it. The big mistake most people make is dunking the whole sushi into the soy sauce. The rice soaks it up and it’s all you can taste. The soy sauce is there to complement the sushi, not overpower and kill the flavour. Just tilt the sushi, lightly brush the fish into the soy sauce and eat it in one bite. Ensure that the rice doesn’t touch the soy sauce. Dipping your sushi fish-side down is mainly to prevent the rice from falling apart and you’ll agree that it tastes better – compared to soy sauce soaked rice!

Use ginger to cleanse your palette

Eat ginger between sushi pieces, not together with your sushi or sashimi. The ginger is supposed to serve as a palette cleanser, not as a condiment.


If you ordered a bowl of miso soup, it’s perfectly all right (and easier) to drink it directly from the bowl.

There is no correct order to eating sushi

There are differing views on whether there is an order to eating sushi. While there are no set rules, some say that it’s best to start from light (eg snapper) to dark (eg salmon), as the lighter fish is less oily and won’t coat your tongue in fat. In any case, we suggest eating pickled ginger or taking a sip of tea to cleanse your palette between fish.

If you’ve ordered a sushi platter, we suggest starting with the sashimi first and eating the maki rolls (the rolled sushi that is wrapped in seaweed) next. They have multiple ingredients and are more complicated in your mouth. 

sushi catering platter

Photo credit: Jcstudio / Freepik

How to eat sushi properly

Check out our infographic below for a quick summary on the do's and don'ts of eating sushi properly.

how to eat sushi properly infographic

Want to share this image on your site? Just copy and paste the embed code below:

The best sushi caterers in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane

We have a great selection of the best corporate caterers in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane specialising in authentic and fresh sushi catering including:

I Love Sushi - offering a delicious range of sushi platters, lunch boxes, finger food platters and more.

Salon de Sushi - specialising in authentic Japanese cuisine for your Melbourne office.

Seasalt - offering an extensive range of sushi, sashimi and nigiri platters for your Melbourne office.

Sushi Jones - healthy and fresh sushi platters, poke, and bento boxes for your North Sydney office.

Sushi Pro - sushi platters for offices in Brisbane, Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast.

Shuji Sushi - authentic Japanese catering including sushi rolls, donburi bowls, noodles and bento boxes.

Sushi at Work - handcrafted sushi rolls and rice paper rolls.

The Rice Cooker - authentic and fresh sushi platters and poke bowls.

If you’d like to order sushi catering for your next business lunch meeting or corporate event, speak to the corporate catering experts at Order-In on 1300 851 900. We have a range of corporate caterers who offer fresh and delicious sushi catering and other Japanese catering menu options that are perfect for working lunches and corporate functions.

Latest articles

Order food for the office now