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The first rule for eating sushi, says Buu “Billy” Ngo, is that there are no rules.
“I’m supercasual on that,” says Ngo, owner/executive chef of Kru in midtown. “We’re not rule enforcers. You come here to eat and have fun. That comes first.”
Still, there’s an art to eating sushi. Ngo offers these tips:
1. Dip, don’t drown At nicer restaurants like his, every piece of fish is already seasoned, says Ngo, so there’s no need to drown it in soy sauce. A dainty dip will do. And dip it fish side (not rice side) first, cautions Ngo: Otherwise, it may fall apart when you try to pick it up.
2. Don’t mix sauces Ngo says he sees a lot of mixing going on, and that’s a no-no. “You shouldn’t mix your wasabi in your soy sauce,” he says. “Everything should be eaten in layers, separately.”
3. Know when to use chopsticks. Sure, you need chopsticks for the raw seafood known as sashimi, because it’s sliced superthin. But otherwise, use your hands, advises Ngo, especially with nigiri sushi (rice topped with fish). The reason? When pinched, the roll can easily come undone. The same goes for sushi rolls, though they tend to hold together more tightly, making the hands rule a little less important, says Ngo.
4. Two bites should do Traditional sushi is so small that it’s a one-bite food. But here in the land of supersized everything, two bites is more like it, says Ngo. “Rolls are gigantic here as compared to Japan.”
5. Follow the natural order of things In Ngo’s world, that means starting with raw, light-tasting dishes (such as snapper) and moving to cooked dishes with stronger flavors, such as mackerel. Soup, he says, is traditionally held to the end, though most Americans do just the opposite. But since the first rule is that there are no rules . . .