The Beginner’s Guide to Sushi (and What You Need to Make it At Home)


Your friend invites you to sushi. And then the panic sets in. Do you put the wasabi in the soy sauce, or the soy sauce on top of the wasabi? Are you supposed to eat the ginger or is it merely a decoration? How do I know exactly what it is I’m ordering?

We know; it’s a lot to remember. Those of us who didn’t grow up eating sushi have all experienced the panic, the awkward situations, and the uneasiness.

But no one should have to go it alone, so we’ve created the ultimate beginner’s guide to sushi. Common terms, defined. Etiquette, refined. And your questions, answered. Then we’ll tell you what you need to make it at home in your Washington, D.C. kitchen.

Terms: Defined

What is sushi? The term sushi refers to a raw piece of fish that lies atop cold, cooked rice. Some use the term to refer to rolls (see below).

What is sashimi? Ever heard of the term “sashimi grade”? This grade refers to fish that’s uber fresh and high quality, meant for eating raw. Sashimi is a raw piece of fish served without rice. But don’t be scared. The texture is creamy, and not at all “fishy” tasting. It tastes great dipped in soy sauce with a bit of wasabi.

What are sushi rolls/maki? A roll with cold, cooked rice, seaweed, cooked or raw fish, and vegetables. Sometimes rolls contain fruit, such as mango, and are garnished with roe (fish eggs) or sesame seeds.

Etiquette: Refined

If you’re a true beginner, we’re guessing you’re thinking, how do I eat sushi, exactly?

Generally speaking, it’s not a good idea to try to disassemble a piece of a sushi roll. First of all, if you’re in a restaurant, the chef worked hard to prepare it mere minutes ago. Second, it’s going to get messy. There’s a thin wrapping of seaweed in most rolls, and chopsticks just aren’t going to cut it, literally. Finally, grasping larger pieces with chopsticks is much easier than stabbing at tiny morsels.

To get a handle on things, try creating a few basic recipes in your kitchen at home. All you’ll need is some sushi rice from the grocery store, seaweed from an Asian market, and some produce like avocado, cucumber, carrot, or mango. Get your hands on sashimi grade fish if you can, and if not, cook up a bit of salmon to work with.

What You’ll Need

From utility knives and cutting boards to fry pans and tongs, our showroom has what you need for home sushi creations.

Our top four equipment essentials for at-home sushi:

  1. Rice cooker: To keep frustration at bay, a rice cooker is your best bet. No checking the stove a million times. No burnt rice, no tears. Just set it and forget it.
  2. Rice paddle: This is going to make your life easier in terms of getting a nice even layer spread over your mat, which brings us to:
  3. A sushi mat (makisu): Wondering how to get that roll in perfect shape? First, lay out the rice. Next, drape the seaweed (Nori sheets) on top, then add your produce. Roll and you’re ready to slice.
  4. Sushi knife: You’re going to need a good, sharp knife for slicing your roll to make sure everything stays in tact.

Are you an amateur chef or foodie in the Washington, D.C. area? Take advantage of this unique offer and start shopping like a chef!

Stop by our new showroom, and get the tools you’ll need to make sashimi-grade sushi in your home kitchen.