Contrary to popular Pixar film Finding Nemo, fish are friends AND food. Sushi has become such a popular cuisine in America, but there are many myths surrounding it — how do we know what to believe? It’s important for us to know what the deal is when it comes time for us to sit down and enjoy our fishy friends. Here are 9 sushi myths we debunked for you.
1. Don’t eat sushi on certain days.
This is probably one of the most common sushi myths out there. There may have been a time where this could’ve been a safe practice because restaurants would get shipments on certain days, so you could be eating fish from the Friday before. In today’s world, though, that isn’t an issue. Iron Chef Morimoto says if you go to a “good sushi place” the fish is going to be good quality, no matter the day.
2. You should always use soy sauce.
You don’t always need to use the soy sauce. If a sushi chef is doing their job, then the fish should be seasoned every step of the way, and you shouldn’t even need the soy sauce.
3. Eating blowfish will kill you, for sure.
True and false.
Yes, the blowfish, or pufferfish, does contain a toxin called tetradoxotin, which is poisonous and can kill you. However, with proper preparation, the toxin can be removed and the fish becomes harmless to eat. Strict training is required for anyone who prepares this fish, and most deaths typically occur when amateurs attempt to prepare it.
4. You need to drink sake when eating sushi.
But shouldn’t they go together? Traditionally in Japan, sake and sushi don’t go together because they’re both made from rice — there wasn’t enough contrast in the flavors to convince the Japanese to consume them together. So you can drink it with your sushi, but it’s not the Japanese tradition.
5. You should sit at the bar.
Sitting at the bar puts you right there with the chefs. You can ask them questions and show your interest in the process, which can set you up to get the fresher fish.
6. Sushi is healthy.
Did someone say crunchy tempura roll? We Americans have put our on spin on sushi but with that comes the addition of serious calories. Think: breading for tempura, added crunchy flakes, spicy mayo sauce, etc. These are all extremely tasty, but don’t let them fool you into thinking that the roll you’re eating is healthy. To make things easier, we’ve ranked your favorite sushi rolls by their calorie count for you.
7. You shouldn’t buy sushi at the grocery store.
The quality of fish at grocery stores is pretty much on the same level as fish being served in the restaurants. It’s good stuff, so don’t be a sushi snob — go ahead and eat it.
8. Bluefin tuna belly is the crème de la crème for sushi connoisseurs.
Bluefin tuna wasn’t a popular fish until very recently. It has a very bold taste and flavor, and the Japanese preferred more mild fish. Back in the day when tuna was caught for sport, people would get their pictures taken with the massive fish and then they would end up in landfills or ground up into cat food. Talk about some lucky cats. Now, bluefin tuna can be sold for $1 million.
9. Don’t rub your chopsticks together at the restaurant.
If you’re at a nice sushi restaurant, rubbing your chopsticks together would be very insulting. It suggests that you think the utensils are cheap and that would be insulting to anyone. So try to avoid doing it.