8 Ways You Are Messing Up Your Sushi Order Without Knowing It

I still remember the first time I ever tried sushi. An old boyfriend told me about it, and I was totally freaked out. Raw fish? Um, no thank you. Of course he persuaded me to try it, and it was love at first bite. It might seem simple enough to order sushi — you just check off those boxes, and the end, right? Wrong. There are ways you’re messing up your sushi order without even knowing it.

After my ex and I broke up, I went to order sushi for the first time, and realized I had no idea what I was doing by myself. Thankfully, the sushi chef behind the counter took pity on me, and explained everything I needed to know. I felt like I had been let into this secret club that only the cool kids knew about. All the people around me were making mistakes with their orders, and the sushi chef and I would just smile, happy to be in the “know.”

Ever since that experience, it’s been my mission with family and friends to make sure they’re not messing up their sushi experience. When you go out for sushi, you have to do it right, if only for the reason that a delicious sushi dinner can cost a pretty penny. It’s officially time for you to join the cool kids’ sushi club. Here are eight things you’re probably doing wrong every time you order sushi.

1. You’re not diversifying your order

This is my number one pet peeve. I can totally appreciate only ordering the easy, simple rolls for first-timers. However after one or two experiences, it’s time to expand your palate. It can be stress-free sticking to what you know, but sushi begs for diversity. Why not change it up? Try something you’ve never tried before!

2. You’re ordering the insane rolls

Ordering a diverse array of sushi does not mean you should be ordering that fried chicken sushi roll. Just… no. The top sushi restaurants aren’t serving insane rolls with five million ingredients that are all overpowered by some insanely hot sauce. Best to avoid the insane rolls altogether.

3. You’re not asking questions

I know so many people who get too intimidated when they go out for sushi. It can drive you to not order something new, or to avoid sushi completely, which is tragic. Your server knows the menu, and if he or she doesn’t, the sushi chef sure does. If you don’t know what something is, or if you want to know what would be good for you to branch out and try, always ask.

4. You’re ordering everything at once

As fun as those giant sushi boats are, ordering everything at once is a very common mistake. Start by ordering a few things so your server can get an idea of what you like, and suggest more as needed. At the very least, you will avoid ordering too much sushi. We all know leftover sushi doesn’t taste good!

5. You’re ordering sushi before sashimi

You should always order sashimi first, and then work your way up to the sushi rolls as the main course. Think of the sashimi as a sort of sushi appetizer.

6. You’re ordering soy sauce and wasabi when it’s not served

If it’s not served with the roll when it arrives, the sushi chef doesn’t mean for you to use it. Trust the chef’s judgment (that is why he or she is the one making the sushi, and not you). Don’t drown that beautiful roll in soy sauce; savor the flavors!

7. You’re not ordering soup and salad

Yes, you should be ordering soup and/or salad when you get sushi! Sushi nights out are meant to be a whole experience, so you have a long night ahead of you. Ordering a light salad or soup will refresh your palate throughout the meal.

8. You’re ordering your miso soup first

Did you know miso soup should be served after the main sushi roll course in Japanese tradition? I had no clue about that one either, but it’s a pretty hard and fast rule so don’t make the mistake like I did. The looks of disapproval are not fun to see.

Now you are armed and ready to walk into that sushi restaurant like a boss! Yep, you’ve definitely got this one.

Images: Jorge Mejia peralta; SteFou!; sue_agnes5 ; Benjamin Krause; Enami Imane; insatiablemunch; Steven Depolo; Geoff Peters; Jeremy Keith/Flickr