I've always been a picky girl. Although I've grown out of many of my quirks, expanding my palate has been a long journey. I only recently agreed to try guacamole, with "I just didn't think I would like it!" as my only excuse.

Sushi has been one of the foods I have avoided, solely out of unfamiliarity (and admittedly, fear). I was afraid that I would hate the taste, the texture, or I would end up sick from food poisoning. And yes, I now realize that this is insane.

So I went with a friend to a local Japanese and Korean restaurant. I wanted to start off slow, so he recommended I order a shrimp tempura roll. Me, being the daring girl I am, decided to take his advice and play it safe. 

I ended up ordering the Tiger Roll and, because I had to have some of the real deal, some raw scallop maki. Once the meal came, however, I realized the Tiger Roll had ebi (butterflied shrimp) and eel on top.

teriyaki, chicken, shrimp, sushi
Ailish Dougherty

Wait, eel? I didn't agree to this! But it was too late to go back, so I grabbed my chopsticks and went at it. I like shrimp, so the tempura was no problem, but the eel had a consistency that I wasn't used to. Surprisingly, its saltiness went well with the seaweed and rice.

As for the raw sushi, it tasted just like a fresh seared scallop. I was so distracted by the familiar taste that I almost - almost! - forgot about the squishy, slimy texture hiding inside the rice. It definitely took a few bites to get used to, but I ended up eating the whole plate.

sashimi, wasabi, tuna, shrimp, salmon, fish, seafood, rice, sushi
Ailish Dougherty

So stop making excuses! You will never know until you try - and if you do end up loving it, you'll gift yourself the opportunity for so many more culinary experiences. If you're still wary, stick with familiar flavors that you know you'll enjoy, but be willing to go outside of your comfort zone on texture.

#SpoonTip: If you're not cursed with the picky eater gene and have trouble narrowing down the possibilities, check out this quiz on which roll to order based on your personality!