How many times have you wondered whether it is acceptable to eat sushi with your fingers? And how many times have you been told that it isn’t? As a matter of etiquette, many cultures eschew eating with one’s fingers, which seems to be ingrained particularly deeply in western behavior. But be at ease, sushi fans, because sushi has a long history of being finger food, at least some sushi that is.
Nigiri (finger) sushi was the first “fast food.” Originally sold from carts in the street, it acquired its shape so as to be easy to eat on the go. It wasn’t until centuries after its introduction that the sushi restaurant came to be. And with the restaurant, came new ways of eating sushi. In bowls and boxes, platters and leaves, sushi in its myriad forms was served to a growing pool of restaurant goers. While still finger food, some styles were introduced that could not be easily eaten with the fingers (and shouldn’t be), such as sashimi. But while many choose to eat nigiri sushi with chopsticks, this only seems to be a question in the western world.
So… Can I eat sushi with my fingers, you ask? Of course, nigiri sushi is the ultimate finger food.
The sushi guy
I have always been fascinated by the creation and culture of different foods, particularly sushi and sashimi in the modern era of Japanese cuisine. I am a classically trained chef and sushi connoisseur, also having operated a food service company and enjoy investigating and experimenting with food around the world.