The knack: How to eat sushi, by Caroline Bennett

Click to follow
Indy Lifestyle Online
"Try to forget these two words: raw fish. The key to sushi is freshness, so here in England I'd go for salmon because it's the best fish we've got in our own waters. Or start with tuna, which is nice and familiar and is representative of the way sushi tastes. Start by trying a little of everything. With sushi, you don't have a starter and a main course, you order plates, usually with two items on each. Five of these is probably enough. You'll be given green wasabi (hot horseradish sauce), soy sauce, and slices of pickled ginger, as standard accompaniments. In Japan you would pour the soy sauce into a tiny bowl and dip the top of the sushi into it. In England people tend to mix a bit of the wasabi in with the soy sauce first. The ginger is supposed to be a palate cleanser, eaten to mark an end to one type of fish before moving on to another. You don't have to use chopsticks (waribashi), you can use your fingers, as is the custom in higher-class places in Japan.

There's a lot of etiquette involved. Sushi connoisseurs test the skills of the chef by ordering a "grilled egg" (like an omelette). If this is good, they go on to the sashimi (strips of raw fish). If this meets with their approval they will order nigiri sushi (fish with rice underneath) and then maki (pieces wrapped in seaweed). This is for sushi snobs, however, and there are plenty of others who dive straight in, which is fine."

Caroline Bennett owns London's three Moshi Moshi Sushi restaurants, Liverpool St Station (0171-247 3227), 7-8 Limeburner Lane (0171-329 1160), and Canary Wharf (0171-512 9911)