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What’s the best way to eat Sushi?

(Image by hot-sun from Pixabay)

Can you think of sushi and sashimi without thinking of soy sauce? Unless you’ve been to a high-end omakase only sushi bar, you have seen a bottle of soy sauce at your table at a sushi restaurant.

Next time you eat sushi and sashimi at a restaurant or at home, I urge you to stop using soy sauce and consider using lemon and salt instead.

More flavor, sweetness of the fish

Yes, it sounds crazy, right? No soy sauce for your nigiri and Tuna roll. I have nothing against using soy sauce – I love it. I grew up with it. I cannot live and cook without it (Yes, I am Japanese that way.)

Soy sauce has well balanced taste component - salty, sour, sweet, bitter and umami, the glutamic acid which makes your food taste savory. But, soy sauce can be overwhelming especially its aroma. It could mask the subtle fragrance and taste of light flavored white fish like Halibut and Tai Sea beam.

Instead of soy, I recommend squeezing fresh lemon with a pinch of sea salt and maybe small amount of fresh wasabi. You will be amazed how different your sushi will taste. The difference is night and day. It’s like being at a live concert or watching it on YouTube – a completely different experience. You can taste the real flavor of the fish, nothing is masked. With lemon and sea salt, you will discover the taste you have being missing using soy sauce.

My recent favorite is scallops from Viking Village in New Jersey. They are fantastic - sweet and savory, the best in the last few years. I find soy sauce is too strong. Nothing is needed. It’s a gift from the ocean. When I serve them to our private clients, all of our clients said they have not tasted anything like it before. Yet, I have not done anything to the scallops. I don’t’ have to because it’s perfect. It’s a magic.

The same goes with Uni. We use the one from Fort Bragg, diver caught Urchin and just like the Viking Village scallops, they need nothing else, except lemon juice, sea salt, fresh wasabi. It’s like tasting the ocean, the minerals, the water, the kelp, the Konbu, the sea vegetables urchin has been eating. No need to mask those out with soy sauce.

Growing up in Japan, my favorite way to eat Uni was to dive into the ocean, catch them, crack open, remove the shell, dip and wash the Uni in the ocean and eat it. Salt and mineral flavor from the ocean water was just perfect seasoning.

Handpicked Dungeness Crab meat from West coast – California, Oregon and Washington - is another one. I used to add mayonnaise to make California Roll mix and I found out the mayo killed the flavor of the crab. Soy sauce is good, but if you try lemon juice, usually that is enough. Hand roll is my favorite way to eat Dungeness crab. Fresh wasabi always adds nice aroma and sweet after taste.

You can experiment lemon and salt for just about any fish at the sushi bar – Tuna, Salmon, Hamachi, Kanpachi, even Anago, sea eel. If lemon and salt is not your cup of tea, you can always go back to the regular soy sauce.


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