One of the things that struck me when I moved to Canada was how obsessed people were with sushi. It seemed like every time someone wanted to make plans that involved food, the go-to thing would be to grab some sushi.

Not being a seafood fan myself, I pretty much made some sort of excuse each time until I reached my breaking point. I couldn’t keep canceling, and clearly sushi was a big deal. So, I gave it a chance and the results were less than thrilling.

Looking back, there are a couple of things I wish someone had mentioned to me before hand. Here are 5 things to help you navigate your first sushi experience.

1. Start off with the cooked food


Photo by Lisa Gong

You might not be comfortable with the prospect of uncooked seafood at first. In that case, you don’t have to go straight for the Sashimi (raw fish), you can sample things like the Teriyaki Chicken. Once you get more comfortable, you can begin to try things like California Rolls, which consist of rice, avocado, and some cooked shrimp/salmon.

2. Try flavors you are comfortable with


Photo courtesy of

If you tend to like a piece of salmon when it is cooked, chances are you will like sushi which has raw salmon in it. Although the texture is new, the taste is not drastically different, and after a few tries, you should get used to it. If you’re a fan of spicy food, you can even try dipping your sushi in spicy mayo to begin with just to even out the flavors.

3. Do not confuse the ginger with salmon


Photo by Gabby Phi

This actually happened to a friend of mine, and it ended with them being too scared to try anything else. The ginger is meant to be a palate cleanser between rolls. Although they may be similar in color, ginger has a super overpowering flavor that could potentially put you off trying the rest of the items.

4. Use the training chopsticks


Photo by Tess Wei

This may seem unnecessary, but mastering the art of chopsticks is actually much harder than it looks. The training chopsticks will allow you to have more control over your food, making it feel much less intimidating. Here’s a hack for how to make your own pair.

5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help


Photo courtesy of

When you’re out with a group of friends, it may seem embarrassing to ask the staff or chef for help but trust me, with so many rolls to choose from, it’ll be worth it. They probably know much more about the menu than anyone else at the table and you’ll feel much more comfortable knowing what you are actually eating.

It’s definitely an experience and super healthy for you too. Even if you don’t love it, give it at least one more chance and don’t feel discouraged. By the third time, you’ll be the expert in the group. Now you can go out, enjoy that meal with your friends, and take some totally Instagram-worthy pics while you’re at it.