Sushi Etiquette

Using Chopsticks

The chopsticks are picked up with the right hand and arranged for comfortable use with the left. Hold the chopsticks slightly towards the thick end. Reverse the tips of the chopsticks before you help yourself to a community dish. When chopsticks are not in use, return them to the right side of your dish.

At the Bar

First, the experienced sushi-eater will order assorted sashimi to give the sushi chef a chance to show off his best fish. Always ask the chief what's good. Sashimi is eaten with chopsticks as it is not finger food.

When done with the sashimi, ask for a change of soy dish. No wasabi should be placed in the dish, since wasabi is already between the rice and the fish. Now you're ready for nigiri sushi. Nigiri is meant to be eaten with your hands so don't waste time fumbling with your chopsticks. Lightly dip the end into soy sauce, then place the fish side onto your taste buds. Avoid biting the piece in half, just pop the whole thing in. He will look at your plate to see how well you are doing, rather than look at you for your next selection.

When finished, ask the waitress (not the chef) for the bill. Sushi men take pride in their job and a substantial gratuity should be left in their place.

Bad Manners

Do not ask for knives. This would imply that the food is so tough it can't be properly eaten without them.

Do not pass food to another person with chopsticks. This act parallels passing cremated bones of a deceased relative at a Japanese funeral.

Do not scrape rice from chopsticks.

Do not eat all the rice at once, rather, return to it after tasting other dishes. Rice when taken must always be eaten.

Do not wave your chopsticks around aimlessly over the food, trying to decide what to take next.


Don't use too much wasabi. Wasabi paralyzes your palette and will hide the subtle flavors that fish has when eaten raw.