The Two BIG Mistakes That We Non-Asians are Making in The Sushi Restaurant!

David MadowI am not Asian and I do not claim to be a Japanese food expert. But having traveled to Japan many times and being together with my Japanese wife Yoko for ten years now, I have learned an awful lot about Japanese protocol and customs, one of them being how to properly eat the delicious food.

When I go to a sushi restaurant in the US, I consistently see two major mistakes that we non-Asians are making which I am sure gives the sushi chef the chills! I plan to make a little video soon, but for now, just reading this short article should help you.

Mistake #1: Holding the chopsticks way too low! Take a look at non-Asians in a Japanese or even a Chinese restaurant. Almost every one of us holds the chopsticks anywhere from the halfway point down to the tips.

To picture what I am saying, let’s just imagine holding a pencil or a pen. The normal way to write is to hold the pen very close to the ball point. That is fine with a pen, but not with chopsticks. It is a total giveaway that we are hacks!

Try holding the chopsticks as FAR from the bottom as possible. This means that your fingers are way high up, just about at the very top. I equate it to holding the pencil very close to the eraser. It may feel awkward at first but after a very short amount of practice, you will feel that this way gives you much more control! Just watch an Asian person in a restaurant next time and you will see what I mean.

Mistake #2: Pouring way too much soy sauce in the little dish. I actually cringe when I see this. We use the soy dish almost like it’s a little “soup dish!” Sushi should not be “dunked” in soy sauce! The proper way is to place a very small amount of soy in the little dish. Maybe about a teaspoon or less. The amount you put in the dish should not even cover the entire bottom of the dish!

Now, instead of soaking your sushi in soy soup, simply a quick little dip will do. My wife even blots it off on a clean plate so there is VERY LITTLE soy on the rice and fish. This way, you will have a little taste of the soy, but a bigger taste of the wonderful fish and rice that you are supposed to be appreciating.

One more thing… if you are using the soy as described above, it is better to use the regular soy sauce as opposed to the low sodium. It will taste better and believe me, you are using so little now that you will be getting much less sodium than you originally were with your previous “low sodium soy soup!”

Enjoy!  Dave

P.S. To live healthier, please check out my podcast, “Slice Your Age in Half” at

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