When it comes to Japanese food, the first thing people tend to think of is sushi–and with good reason! It’s certainly very popular, and it has numerous fans the world over. However, despite the popularity of sushi, sashimi, which is raw, thinly sliced fish, might be even more loved.
Of course, there are plenty of ways to eat sashimi, but it seems that the most common way is to mix some wasabi in a dish of soy sauce and then dip the fish in the soy sauce. A relatively straightforward but delicious process, right? Yes, but apparently that’s completely wrong!
Now, when we say that you’re eating your sashimi wrong, we don’t really mean you’re doing it wrong. As far as we’re concerned, there’s not really a wrong way to eat, as long as you’re getting food in your mouth and then down into your stomach. But with that said, if you want to follow the proper rules of sashimi, that would be wrong.
It turns out that you’re not supposed to mix wasabi into the soy sauce.
Naturally, we’re sure that many of our readers have seen even Japanese friends and family members doing this, so you may be thinking that we’re off our rockers. But no, we are firmly attached to our rockers.
According to a number of Japanese sites, such as Josei Bigaku, Ameba News, and Happy Life Style, you’re not supposed to mix wasabi into the soy sauce. There are a number of reasons for this, but the first and biggest is that it completely destroys the taste of the soy sauce. At the same time, it will apparently diminish the aroma of the wasabi, giving you a mixture that lacks the joy of both of its ingredients.
This also means that you can’t modulate the taste very well. Certainly, you could add more wasabi or more soy sauce, but it’s still going to just be a slightly disappointing mixture.
Another problem is that it just doesn’t look very pretty, at least according to the rules. Now you may or may not agree with this, but we have to say that soy sauce mixed with wasabi isn’t really the prettiest food we’ve ever seen.
So, now that we’ve rained all over your wasabi-and-soy-sauce parade, you’re probably wondering how you to eat your food properly. Fortunately, it’s not too hard! Just put a dab of wasabi on one side of the piece of sashimi you’re about to eat, and then dip the other side in the soy sauce. This should allow you to get the full flavor of both condiments, while spreading them out a bit so you can enjoy them and get a little balance.
Now, you have to get the raw fish into your mouth without dribbling soy sauce everywhere. And there are a few suggestions for how to do this. The first would be to use a futokorogami, which is a piece of paper that is used in place of a handkerchief–especially in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies.
Or, if you don’t have a futokorogami, you can just use the soy sauce dish. Though we suppose that you’d want to be careful not to dribble any wasabi in it…
A final note on sashimi that we came across is the recommendation to eat your fish from lightest to darkest. The thinking is that the darker the fish meat, the stronger the taste, so if you eat in the order from light to dark, you won’t have to worry about the tastes overpowering each other.
Of course, you can eat your sashimi in whatever order you want and mix whatever you want into your soy sauce! As long as you’re happy with what’s going into your mouth, we’re happy for you, but you can keep these “rules” in mind if you want to eat sashimi the “right” way.