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Sep 19, 2008 08:08 PM

Question from a sushi virgin....HELP

Im probably the last person in the world who hasnt tried sushi yet but im determined to give it a go tomorrow night. I want to try rolls and my question is how many rolls does everyoone order for themselves when they get sushi. I know the rolls at the place im going to try are a good size b/c my gf has brought some home before. If i get a veggie roll and a california roll will the chefs think im a pig or is 2 rolls an average order for a person? thanks

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    1. I'm certainly not a sushi purist that doesn't like rolls. I like them but also like plain old sushi. I'm also a big eater. Don 't worry about ordering too much. For me, I could eat 2 rolls plus a couple orders of salmon and blue fin (with a couple Sapporos mixed in)

      Enjoy and.....Don't be scared!

      1. rolls are the way to go at first. two rolls are a light meal for a male; no one would think you're a pig.

        1. You could probably easily put away three or even four rolls -- but honestly, in addition to the rolls, try some nigiri (that's the sushi that's the rice ball with the stuff on top). It's really worth it. For your maiden voyage I'd stick with fairly normal stuff -- tuna (maguro), yellowtail, salmon, shrimp (which is cooked), maybe egg. You normally get two pieces per order.

          I am notorious for my hatred of the sushi police ("here are the four hundred and ninety-seven rules you must observe, etc."), so the only two things I will mention are:

          1. Sushi is absolutely a finger food and anyone who says differently is a filthy liar. (Okay, correction: there is sushi that is not finger food but it's because it's got mayonnaise-based or eel (sweet) sauce on it and will get your hands all sticky.)

          2. If you dip nigiri (the fish-on-top-of-rice-ball kind) in soy sauce, do it fish-side down. There's a lot of "you'll be wrecking the chef's creation" claptrap out there -- the reason not to dunk the rice in the soy sauce is because it makes the sushi too damn salty.

          Enjoy -- it is a wonderful world of fish and seafood out there, and even if you decide you only really like the rolls, you'll have something new you can eat.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Das Ubergeek

            Hmmm, "I hate anyone who has sushi 'rules' except mine..."
            Develop a taste first, if later you choose to learn a bit about the culture and "rules" you will have a better experience.
            Don't worry about ordering two rolls, and if you choose to branch out, ask the chef, they are almost universally proud of their creations and willing to help.

            1. re: cls

              Sure, I'm just railing against the "sushi-ya as religious temple" people. You know exactly who I mean, I'm sure.

              Common courtesy will get you far... and frankly if you like your sushi rice dripping with salty soy sauce, go for it. It's easy to add more soy sauce -- it's impossible to remove it once you've added too much.

              As for the other "rule" -- ever watch someone who has difficulty with chopsticks try to manoeuvre an entire nigiri into his or her mouth? Yet somehow this idea of "you must use utensils" sprouted in the U.S., especially if you're watching the people sitting at tables instead of the sushi bar. Want to use chopsticks? Fine... but I bet a sushi virgin would be intimidated by chopsticks.

              It's not bloody tea ceremony. It's just sushi.

            2. re: Das Ubergeek

              A reminder that most nigiri has a "swipe" of wasabi between the fish and the rice, that you can't see. If you turbocharge your soy dip with wasabi, which I always do, you can get a double-whammy sinus blast similar to snorting battery acid.
              I'm waiting with great anticipation for my next one, attenuated by a nice box of premium sake. Gimme a hot steamy towel, and my fingers do the walking.

            3. I too started with rolls when I first began eating sushi years back. Eat as few or as many rolls as you like. There are no real rules when ordering rolls.

              Tuna (called maguro) and salmon are the best starter fish, and from there, move on to other fish, like kanpachi. You'll find that texture (not just taste) is a big deal in the different seafoods. From there, you can pick and choose whichever seafood you like. Some can be acquired tastes (it took me 2+ years to like sea urchin, AKA uni, but now I can't live without it).

              Don't "drown" your sushi is soy sauce - a little dab'll do ya.

              When you feel ready, you can go into sushi joint, sit at the bar, and order the omakase (which means you're putting yourself in the hands of the chef). Tell the chef what you like/don't like, and most importantly if you're allergic to anything.

              A lot of good sushi is actually cooked. Shrimp can be cooked thoroughly (though I'm sure many "purists" will prefer live raw shrimp). Freshwater eel (unagi) is cooked, as is sea eel (anago). Egg (cakes), or very light and fluffy omelettes, known as tamago, is usually served at the end of a meal.

              Sashimi generally means cuts of any seafood without rice.

              Read "Sushi for Dummies" (I'm serious! It's a good book) if you're more interested.

              See you at the sushi bar one day!