If you want to eat with the traditional Japanese sticks, I invite you to be brave and to walk confidently into a Japanese restaurant. We pull the door behind us, leave our shoes outside and sit confidently at the Japanese table.
If you’ve often wondered what sushi, sake means or have you ever wanted to learn to eat with traditional Japanese sticks, be brave, in case you haven’t done it before.
Japanese cuisine arranges all its specialities according to a few main ingredients common to any meal, either in Tokyo or in the northern Sea of Japan. These ingredients contain carbohydrate-rich cereals (rice, oats, millet, beans). They combine with “main course” or “okazu”, based on fish, meat or vegetables. Thus sushi is born, that is, a vinaigrette of boiled rice and fish ( tuna, eel, crab, salmon, mackerel ), or seafood ( octopus, calamari, shrimp, sea urchins ).
What is truly unique in this mix is absolutely raw fish. The portions are very small compared to European cuisines. The “architecture” of a sushi makes it possible to “hang” rice and fish at once with wooden sticks. These sushis aren’t all the same either. At some ( maki-zushi ), the fish is sown in a rice roll, and the rice is wrapped in a thin sheet of algae, called clouds. Others (teaki ), in a cone of rice, wrapped all in clouds. Many, however, are served in the nigiri style, i.e. the rice is placed under the fish.
Along with sushi, it is absolutely necessary to have vinegar and soy sauce ( shoyu ), in which to soak sushi with fish. Also a perfect spice for sushi is wasabi paste, specific to the Rising Sun and very similar to the taste of European horseradish. Wasabi has a greenish color, is very fragrant and is mostly found on the market in tubes.
The traditional Japanese drink is an alcoholic potion called sake. This drink is made from rice. After a homeopathic technique, the Japanese consume cold sake in summer and hot in winter, which helps digestion, like gari (sweet pickledginger, pink, cut into thin strips and extremely fragrant), which is always served along with sushi.
If you don’t know how to handle Japanese sticks, I’m telling you, it’s no big deal, with a little training everything is solved. You should know that sticks were once made of bone, bamboo, ivory and even gold and silver. The silver would tell the emperor if there was poison in the food. Now, however, there are also plastic sticks, although the most common ones are lacquered wood.
The Art of Drinking
- Fix a stick between your thumb and ring finger
- Place the second stick over the first and secure it with your middle finger.
- Put the sticks between your thumb and forefinger.
- Close the tips of the sticks using the middle finger.
- Practice movement by approaching and removing the sticks.
If you arrive in Tokyo, I recommend you book a meal at Tateru Yosino.
頑張 – Ganbatte – Good luck!