※This article was published at August 2014.※

Without a doubt, sushi is the most famous Japanese food in the world.

There are many sushi restaurants outside Japan, some of them really good, and it seems that sushi has become a part of daily life for many non-Japanese.

However, very rarely do I see people that could eat sushi elegantly. Despite the fact that some people are not used to using chopsticks, it seems that the vast majority of people, which includes many Japanese people as well, do not know how to enjoy sushi elegantly.

So, here is the true and elegant way to eat sushi which I learned from a sushi chef.

1) You can use either your hand or chopsticks

Surprisingly, it doesn't matter whether you eat with your hands or chopsticks. The sushi we see is a modernized version of the dish. Apparently, sushi used to be much bigger like a rice ball, thus it was totally natural to eat it with your hands. Now, it has become smaller for those who prefer to eat it by chopsticks, but it is still considered alright to eat with your hands.

2) Do not dip the rice on the soy sauce

This is where most people get it wrong. Since sushi is served with fish slices on top of rice, people assume that that is the way it should be kept until you throw it in your mouth.

However, have you ever had this happen to you?

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There is a reason why it takes decades of training to become a true sushi chef. It is because sushi has to be made with the minimum amount of force applied to it, just enough to keep its shape.

If you try to dip your sushi made by a trained chef from its rice side, it would easily fall apart, resulting in a total mess on your sauce plate.

There is another reason why you don't dip from the rice. It is because rice absorbs soy sauce so quickly that it is very difficult to tell whether you had enough soy sauce or not.

To prevent this, first turn the sushi sideways.

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And then, carefully pick it up and dip from the fish (or any slice on the sushi).

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The surface of a fish is very smooth and it is easy to control how much soy sauce you want to put on your sushi. This way, you wouldn't have to eat a very salty sushi that only tastes like soy sauce, never sensing the delicate difference of flavor between different fishes.

One more thing to remember is to eat your sushi in one bite. Don't try to cut it, because that again would result in your sushi falling apart. If it still keeps itself together, unfortunately, your chef is an amateur.

This way, your soy sauce plate is always clean, and you would enjoy the "real" taste of sushi!