To the uninitiated, Japanese cuisine can be a wellspring of delightful surprises. Even casual dining at Japanese restaurants in Sacramento can easily prove to be an exercise in sophistication. The key is to come prepared and have an idea of what one can or ought to order beforehand.
For instance, people who are averse or allergic to certain types of fish would do well to learn a thing or two about the way certain Japanese dishes are prepared. Those who are eager to try new types of sushi in particular may be interested to know that maguro nigiri is sushi made with raw tuna while sake nigiri is made with raw salmon. Ebi nigiri is a bit different, because it is prepared with cooked shrimp meat—a feature that makes this dish especially appealing to pregnant women for whom any type of raw meat or seafood can be harmful.
At any rate, Japanese cuisine is all about using fresh and high-quality ingredients. Cassie Kifer, writer for food and travel blog Ever in Transit, noted that Japanese chefs use minimal seasoning in order to let the flavor of each ingredient shine. She adds that condiments such as wasabi, soy sauce, miso, pickled vegetables, and light dipping sauces are often served on the side to provide contrast and diversity.
Some sushi restaurants on this side of the Pacific often add a whole new twist to Japanese cuisine to come up with something fresh and exciting. For example, hip Sacramento restaurants like Mikuni Sushi serve gluten-free versions of popular Japanese dishes like teriyaki as well as more than a few mouth-watering options for vegetarians.
Meanwhile, people who don’t know how to use chopsticks can certainly ask for familiar utensils when eating at sushi bars or Japanese restaurants. Chopstick users, however, are expected to practice proper dining etiquette, such as not waving or pointing with chopsticks in hand. It is also considered disrespectful for people to pass their food to someone else using chopsticks, as this gesture holds certain similarities with Japanese funeral rituals. When getting food from a shared plate, it is customary to use the blunt end of one’s chopsticks.
Whether you’re a first-timer or a frequent sushi connoisseur, it is advisable to order wisely and observe proper dining etiquette at Japanese restaurants.
(Source: 21 Things You Should Know About Japanese Food, Ever in Transit, March 19, 2014)