Anthony Bourdain’s 6 Punishable-by-Death Sushi Don’ts
Published in Jan 2021 / Updated in Aug 2021
Anthony Bourdain learned about sushi at Sushi Yasuda in New York City. Apparently, he would sit alone watching Naomichi Yasuda do his thing, and soon, they were friends.
Later, Bourdain confessed that the man taught him what he knew about sushi. Naomichi Yasuda was also skilled in karate:
“One day I was sitting at Yasuda and two meatheads came in. They put all of their wasabi into a cup of soy sauce, essentially made a wasabi slurry, and started dunking in their fish. I saw the look on my friend’s face. I knew he could kill them with his bare hands. And I thought, in a perfect world, he would kill them. And in a perfect world, everyone would understand.”
From this experience, Bourdain came up with a comic book, Get Jiro: Blood and Sushi. In addition, the late cooking legend came up with six rules on things that should not be done when it comes to raw fish.
So, for the next time you walk into a sushi bar, keep these rules in mind.
1. Don’t: Making A Slurry With The Wasabi And Soy Sauce
Some people get all the wasabi and soy sauce they can find and dump it all on their fish. Bourdain strongly advises against it.
Instead, you should at least taste your fish first.
2. Don’t: Dipping Sushi Rice Down Into The Soy Sauce
When you dip sushi rice into the soy sauce, it will crumble and turn into a mess in the wasabi slurry. There is no problem with having some soy sauce in your sushi, but to avoid creating this mess, dip the fish side down first.
3. Don’t: Loudly Proclaim: “This Sushi Is So Fresh, Dude”
You don’t need to say this, sushi and freshness go hand in hand, unless you are in the wrong sushi joint.
4. Don’t: Picking A Sushi Selection That Has Mayonnaise
There is nothing wrong with mayo, and Bourdain even admits to being a fan. Unfortunately, it should never be used on raw fish.
5. Don’t: Mistake A Lame Pan-Asian Place For A Sushi Joint
Not every pan-Asian spot should be considered a sushi joint.
According to Bourdain, great sushi bars are apparently similar to great Irish pubs in that you interact with the sushi chef during your time there and leave feeling very satisfied with the service you received.
6. Don’t: Order A California Roll
It’s a sushi bar for heaven’s sake.
Bourdain had lots of knowledge to share about food, however exotic. So, you better believe him when he says that these are the six important sushi rules, after all, he learned from the best.