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my first sushi - etiquette question

j
jujuthomas May 14, 2007 06:01 AM

so my hubby and I went out to dinner saturday night, to a japanese place we like a lot, and I decided to order a few pieces of sushi to keep dinner light. YUM. I had ones with crab, and shrimp - cooked b/c I'm still not sure about raw fish. (OK, I did try a piece of his salmon sashimi and it was pretty good) His platter came with california roll on it, which he doesn't like so I ate it. However, I'm not really crazy about the cucumber. Is it bad form to ask for them to leave the cuke out? i know it was probably really bad manners but i took my chop stick and poked the cukes out - we were at a table not at the sushi bar - i would never do that in front of the sushi chef! We have their take out menu at home so I'm going to look to see what other kinds of Maki they have, since I really enjoyed it.
I'm sorry, I'm rambling. I don't think my coffee has kicked in yet! ;-)

thanks!

  1. v
    valerie May 14, 2007 06:31 AM

    Not sure if it's bad form to ask them to leave the cucumber out, but my husband does it all the time and it's never a problem. He also hates avocado, so when he orders various rolls, he always asks if they have avocado. If they do, he requests it to be left out. Again, bad form? I don't know, but they always happily oblige.

    1. jo_k May 14, 2007 06:50 AM

      yeah my bf does it all the time as well! He hates carrots. Chefs don't seem to mind you isolating your partial dislikes if you express great pleasure overall.

      1. ccbweb May 14, 2007 08:54 AM

        Its not at all bad form to ask for what you'd like from a sushi bar. One of the great things about sushi is that you can request combinations you like.

        1. m
          mojoeater May 14, 2007 08:59 AM

          A number of years ago a group of us would go to the local sushi place for lunch. The guys had their preferences and would ask for a very specific roll. Not only was it delicious, but the owners of the place liked the combo so much that they put it on the menu and named it after our company! They certainly were not insulted.

          1. l
            laurendlewis May 14, 2007 11:32 AM

            I am also a novice sushi eater and have some odd questions.
            1. Is it a 1-bite thing? Do you just put the whole piece in your mouth and chew? I feel that my mouth isn't big enough for this!!

            2. I went to a fancy sushi place and they had this appetizer with very thin slices of cucumber around the roll instead of seaweed - have you ever heard of that before? Is that something I could maybe request at certain places?

            3. Are there rolls that don't have seaweed (sushi that is, not sashimi)? I feel like the texture of the seaweed is what's been keeping me away all these years but I like the "stuff" inside of it.

            8 Replies
            1. re: laurendlewis
              cayjohan May 14, 2007 11:47 AM

              For the answer to your question 3, see your question 2. Yep, you can get rolls wrapped in cuke, or with thin sheets of daikon. Very good.

              For question 1: heck, with maki, I just pop the whole thing in my mouth. Trying to bite through it is just too awkward. With nigiri, I usually do two bites (I have no idea if this is sushi heresy), maybe just to make a really fine experience last longer than one mouthful.

              1. re: laurendlewis
                m
                mojoeater May 14, 2007 11:59 AM

                If the roll is rather big, I'll eat a piece in two bites. I can't enjoy all the flavors if my mouth is totally stuffed. And if that's the case, I'm probably going to use my fingers rather than chopsticks.

                1. re: mojoeater
                  l
                  laurendlewis May 14, 2007 12:43 PM

                  Maybe I'm not a good biter, but it always falls apart into a big mess when I try to bite - is there an art to this? I just end up looking like a sushi fool....

                  1. re: laurendlewis
                    m
                    mojoeater May 14, 2007 03:08 PM

                    I wouldn't call it an art. I just hold it so the insides are pointed up.

                2. re: laurendlewis
                  ccbweb May 14, 2007 12:46 PM

                  For the most part, I try to just pop the whole whatever into my mouth. If it doesn't fit, then just do the best you can to bite through and keep going! You can ask if the chef will cut the roll a bit smaller, no harm there.

                  For your quetion 2, yep, had it before and its usually a very good thing.

                  For 3, thin sheets of egg are my favorite non-nori wrapper for a roll.

                  1. re: ccbweb
                    l
                    laurendlewis May 14, 2007 12:55 PM

                    Is that like a thin little omelet?? Never heard of that....

                    1. re: laurendlewis
                      ccbweb May 14, 2007 01:01 PM

                      Yep, that's exactly it. I'm not certain if its exactly the same mixture that is used to make tamago (the omelet that is used to make nigiri and often used in futomaki) but its similar. They make, basically, an egg crepe and then use that as the wrapper for a roll. Its not super common in sushi restaurants in my experience, but when I've found places that have it, its really quite good and a cool change from the nori wrapped rolls.

                  2. re: laurendlewis
                    j
                    justagthing May 14, 2007 07:46 PM

                    1. I believe sushi was originally intended as a one bite item. But as is the case in the US, our sushi tends to be bigger than what is served in Japan (from what I have heard and read and hope to one day find out). So eating it with a few bites is ok.
                    2. Yes, some places do this, it takes time to cut the cuke in this manner and is usually only used for particular rolls. I have never seen anyone ask for different rolls to be wrappd in this. It may not work for all rolls as it is usually held together with toothpicks.
                    3. Aside from what has been mentioned, some places now offer soy paper as an alternative. You can ask for that at many various places.

                  3. j
                    jujuthomas May 15, 2007 05:49 AM

                    Thanks for all the interesting responses - I went out again last night with a friend and got the california roll without cukes - perfect! this one came with a spicy mayo sauce which was so good. I have no idea what was in it, but I liked it! ;-)
                    I'm excited to explore this new-to-me food, thanks for your thoughts.
                    J

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