Sushi 101

First time Eating Sushi in Las Vegas?

Don’t worry, you are definitely not the first, you’ve been pushed and nagged by your friends, and now find yourself reluctantly sitting in a Las Vegas sushi bar not knowing the first thing about sushi: what it is, how to eat it, (should you eat it?), how to order, and what all these little plates are for. Like I said, don’t worry, you’re not the first. There are many books out there for “what to expect when you’re expecting” or “parenting for first- time parents”; but eating isn’t normally something that comes with a manual, it’s a natural part of life that we eagerly grab onto within the first hours of birth. Why is it then, that when it comes to sushi, even the most experienced eaters seem to falter? Stepping outside of our regular diet and eating habits can be both intimidating and fun; if you are ready to take a step into the unknown, continue reading, you may find yourself pleasantly surprised.

If you look around you  at a sushi bar, you will find an assortment of people, some may be tourists appreciating local Las Vegas food, others may be college students out with friends, some may be serious sushi connoisseurs who look down their noses at sub-par sushi.  Everyone in this room was once in the same position as you, even the snobby sushi connoisseur was once a first-timer. Being able to enjoy sushi is definitely an art; much like visual and performing arts, in order for one to actively appreciate it, you have to put it into perspective, you have to know what to expect.

What is sushi? And what is isn’t.

Most first-timers have many similar insecurities, squeamishness concerning  eating raw fish is basically on the top of the list. Its good to set things straight; Sushi does not mean “raw fish”, it was actually originally a way of preserving fish that has evolved for centuries into the sushi we know today.  The sushi we are most familiar with is actually a style of fast food from the Edo Region (Edomae)  that became popular about 200 years ago in the seaport that is now known as Tokyo.  The main goal for a sushi chef is not to make patrons eat weird food, it is to present the ingredients in a way that will highlight the flavors favorably to the palate.  Cooking sometimes takes away some of the flavors that a fish naturally has, therefore making the uncooked fish much better suited for sushi.  Although sushi made from raw fish (such as Tuna or Halibut) is delicious (and should be made from high quality sashimi grade fish) rushing right into it might not be for everyone. Many people find that it’s best to enter the world of sushi-connoisseurs by starting out with foods they are already familiar with and then transition into the more exotic dishes. To learn about the top 10 choices for the first-time sushi eater in Las Vegas, come back for our next blog.