So you’ve walked into your first Japanese restaurant, because apparently you’ve been living under a rock your entire life. When you first look at the menu of intimidating items you may think, “I’m paying how much and they can’t even cook the fish???” So you might just decide to play it safe and go for the chicken teriyaki. Maybe in a year or two you’ll feel comfortable enough to move onto the salmon teriyaki and then maybe, just maybe, one of these days you’ll try the shrimp tempura.


Don’t do that. Sushi is God’s gift to man and if you haven’t tried it by now, it’s time to take the leap. Try a few of the following to ease your way into the beautiful world of sushi.


Photo by Rebecca Block

Vegetable Rolls

Start out slowly. Maybe order an avocado roll (still one of my all time favorites, as is anything that involves some ‘cado). You’ll be surprised by how delicious a simple three-ingredient combination of rice, seaweed and avocado can be. Other gems: sweet potato roll and cucumber roll.


California Roll

Clearly not super Japanese, as told by its moniker. Made with imitation crabmeat, cucumber and, of course, avocado, this is the next step in your sushi adventure. Still no real seafood involved, but at least the crab lets you fake it.


Photo by Rachael Piorko

Shrimp Tempura Roll

This sushi roll contains deep fried, tempura-battered shrimp. It’s one level up from the California roll, because you’re eating real seafood this time, and it’s a good next step if you’re not quite up to trying the raw stuff just yet. It is generally served with eel sauce, which is thick and sweet with a taste similar to that of teriyaki sauce.

Spicy Tuna Roll

This is probably what your friends have been drooling over on their favorite foodstagram because, let me tell you, betches love spicy tuna. I know, I know – raw fish sounds gross, like that scene in Castaway when Tom Hanks starts looking grungy and goes to town on his freshly caught dinner. But I promise, Tom didn’t make the sushi. Small pieces of tuna are mixed with sriracha mayo and scallions to make your new favorite meal. Go for the spicy yellowtail or salmon if that’s more your speed.


Photo by Rebecca Block

Rainbow Roll

Now for some sliced fish. Sure, it may not be for everyone, but once you know that actual pieces of raw fish are not as scary as they seem, you can handle anything on that menu. It may take you a couple of tries to get used to the texture, but that issue is remedied when paired with a sushi roll. A rainbow roll is sliced pieces of tuna, yellowtail, salmon and avocado placed on top of your good old friend, the California roll.


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