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Advice when heading to a sushi restaurant

May 20, 2010 12:00:23 AM PDT
There aren't necessarily rules, but there are traditional customs that can enhance your sushi dining experience. ABC7's Alysha Del Valle visited RA Sushi in Huntington Beach for a few lessons on proper sushi etiquette."The first thing you should know about sushi is, sushi is supposed to be fun. It's supposed to be a time to enjoy it with friends and get together and try some new things," said Jason Peoples, general manager of RA Sushi.

Can you rub chopsticks together before you eat? Tradition says yes, and don't be afraid to try them!

"If you really can't pick it up, we have the cheater chop sticks," Peoples said, adding that you can also eat sushi with your hands. Sushi started as street food in Japan, and it was made to be eaten with bare hands.

Ordering from a sushi menu can be intimidating to some. Remember, most rolls are usually prepared with seaweed and sticky rice, while sashimi is just the fish itself.

Sushi is meant to be eaten in one single bite. For instance, nigiri is one solo piece of fish on top of rice and should be eaten fish side up, lightly dipped into soy sauce.

"Don't drench your sushi in soy sauce. You don't want to overpower it with different flavors when you're supposed to be enjoying the flavor of your piece of salmon," Peoples said.

Chef Sean Hwang said sushi doesn't mean everything is raw and recommended beginners to start with a California Roll filled with cooked imitation crab, or a specialty roll like the Beef Teriyaki Roll, filled with avocado, asparagus and green onion.

Intermediate level sushi eaters love sashimi, like Hwang's yellowtail dish created with cilantro, jalepeno and roasted cashews.

When the meal is finished, you can send the sushi chef a drink of cold sake and say, "Arigatou gozaimasu," which means "thank you very much" in Japanese.

RA Sushi's sixth annual Nicky's Week benefiting cancer research and treatment at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital starts May 30 through June 5. The event is in memory of Nicholas "Nicky" Mailliard, who died from brain cancer at 13. All 25 RA Sushi locations nationwide will donate 100 percent of the proceeds from the sale of a variety of menu items to St. Jude.


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