Sushi and Sashimi rolls on a black stone slatter

A Beginner’s Guide to Sushi

Sushi has become a popular dish in the United States. It’s so popular, in fact, that it’s hard to believe it isn’t considered a staple in our diets. American sushi restaurants first opened in the 1960s, but even then, the cuisine wasn’t as readily available as it is today. Now you can find your favorite sushi in virtually any city on any day of the week.

Whether you want to enjoy a quick lunch with friends or a sit-down dinner with your significant other, the choices are almost endless. Even though sushi is so widely available, it can be confusing if you are new to the meal. It’s quite easy to become overwhelmed with the number of choices. To help you with your newly discovered interest in this wildly popular dish, we have put together a brief beginner’s guide.

The Basics

Rice is the main component of any sushi. The rice used is not the same as the rice you boil in your kitchen. Awase-zu is a short-grain variety that is mixed with rice vinegar, sugar and salt. The end result is called shari. It is a bit sticky and easily formed.

Eating Sushi

Many newcomers to the cuisine attempt to have a go with chopsticks. In reality, most sushi is eaten with the fingers. Ginger slices are eaten in between pieces of sushi to cleanse the palate. It is recommended to skip the wasabi on certain pieces of sushi, and don’t mix wasabi into your soy sauce unless you are enjoying sashimi.

What Else You Should Know

One of the best tips anyone can give you is to ask the sushi chef for recommendations if you are new to the meal. Don’t be shy. Once you get a bit more sushi under your belt, so-to-speak, you can bravely ask the chef for omakase. That’s where you trust the chef to prepare whatever they want to serve.

If you are ready to experience sushi for the first time, we would love to have you dine with us. Our experienced sushi chefs prepare amazing dishes and are always pleased to offer tips and advice to any diner. Visit us today at the best Japanese seafood restaurant in Kennesaw!

ushi and sushi rolls on wooden plate

Is There a Right Way to Eat Sushi?

Of course you know how to eat. You’ve been feeding yourself for years. You put food on a piece of cutlery or pick it up with your fingers, put the food in your mouth, chew and swallow. It’s easy. That said, you are probably used to eating primarily in America. If you are going out for sushi, you may be interested in eating it the way it was meant to be eaten — in true Japanese style.

People are surprised to discover that there is a right way to eat the traditional dish. There will be nuances depending on what and where you are eating but, in general, there is a way to eat sushi correctly. Here is a brief tutorial for anyone interested.

1. No Order

The good news is there is no order in which sushi should be eaten. You can eat your favorite first or save it for last. Sometimes, the chef will decide which pieces are put on your plate first. Don’t be shy about asking for another piece of sushi that you found pleasurable. Just be sure to have a piece of ginger between each type to cleanse the palette!

2. Finger Food

While many will attempt to eat sushi with chopsticks, the correct way to eat it is by grasping it between your thumb and middle finger. Rotate the sushi counterclockwise and dip it in the soy sauce. Do not dip the rice, only the fish. Dipping the rice soaks up too much soy sauce and changes the texture. A quick note: If the sushi is already drizzled with sauce, don’t dip it.

3. On Your Tongue

Place the sushi in your mouth so that the fish side is down, making contact with your tongue first. This allows your tongue to absorb all of the flavors of the sushi. It is rare that a piece of sushi cannot be eaten in one bite, so go ahead and put the whole piece in your mouth.

At RuSans, we have trained sushi chefs that are always happy to see a new face. If you have questions about your sushi choices or how to properly enjoy your meal, please ask. Of course, you are welcome to eat your sushi just about any way you want — it’s your meal, after all! We want your dining experience with us to be both exciting and memorable. Come in and enjoy fresh sushi at the best Japanese seafood restaurant in Kennesaw!

sushi with ginger, wasabi and daikon

What’s On a Plate of Sushi?

Your friends finally talked you into going out for sushi. You have wanted to try it, but had some misgivings about eating raw food. You are excited about your upcoming meal and ask the waiter to make a recommendation. When your plate arrives, you are a bit taken aback. You know what sushi is, but what else is on your plate? Here’s a quick tutorial of what you may see on your plate of sushi and what to do with it.

1. The “Green Stuff”

The green mash that you see is wasabi. Most people refer to this as Japanese mustard. It is grated horseradish root prepared in paste form. It includes mustard and food coloring. It’s spicy, so be careful! Take your chopsticks, pick up a tiny bit of wasabi, mix it in with your soy sauce and then use your sauce as a dip for your sushi. It’s that easy. You can add more wasabi to your soy sauce or directly to your sushi if you want an additional kick.

2. Ginger

Along with wasabi, you will find thin slices of ginger on your plate. These strips or slices are called gari. It has been marinated in sugar and vinegar, and usually colored pink. This ginger is used to cleanse your palette. Follow each piece of sushi with a slice of gari. It helps to distinguish between the flavors of fish you will find on your plate.

3. Radish

You will often also see white strips on your plate. This is shredded daikon (radish). It is used as a garnish on sushi plates. Like many garnishes on American dishes, you can eat it or push it to the side. It’s quite tasty, so be sure to give it a try!

Depending on the sushi house you visit, you may also see cut carrot or lemon wedges on your plate of sushi. What is included may be up to the chef. If you have any questions, speak to your server. They want you to enjoy your meal and will be more than happy to answer your questions.

If you have a craving for sushi now, we don’t blame you. At RuSans, we are happy to serve our local patrons as well as guests from out of town. We promise you a wonderful dining experience at the best Japanese seafood restaurant in Kennesaw!

Japanese sake

The Best Drinks to Have with Sushi

As with any great meal, the drink next to your plate of sushi is almost as important as the sushi itself. For casual meals, like a light lunch, many prefer to simply have a glass of water on the table. After all, why take away from the sushi with a flavorful drink? However, many prefer to enhance the flavors of their sushi and other dishes with the perfect beverage. Here are just a few popular choices.

Perhaps the most common beverage to have with sushi is sake. This beer (not wine, as it is commonly mislabeled) has been crafted in Japan since the 3rd century BC. Because it is made from fermented rice, it is not traditionally enjoyed with sushi (or any rice dish) in Japan. However, it does enhance the flavor of sushi, which makes it a popular option stateside.

If sake isn’t your style, or is too heavy for your palate, there are many great Japanese beers that pair well with sushi. Japanese beers are typically light lagers that don’t have an overpowering flavor, but instead accent the dish. If Japanese beers aren’t available, any high-quality light lager will also pair well.

There are many wines that also drink well with sushi. In particular, koshu is a crisp, white wine that is made from the koshu grape, which has grown in Japan for over 1,000 years. Other dry and/or sparkling white wines also add to the flavor of sushi. For those who prefer red wine, a young red burgundy is generally the go-to.

Though popular, especially for evening meals, alcohol is definitely not necessary to fully enjoy sushi. Genmaicha tea is made from roasted brown rice, and offers a nutty companion to sushi. Of course, the ever-popular green tea is always a good option. It helps cleanse the palate in between different bites of sushi and offers a wealth of health benefits.

Of course, what kind of drink you should get also depends on the kind of sushi you order. The best way to get the most flavorful pairing is to trust the sushi masters at RuSans! Come in today to enjoy the full sushi menu at the best Japanese seafood restaurant in Kennesaw.

Making sushi rice

How Sushi Rice Is Made

When you order sushi, especially nigiri, it may seem almost miraculous that the rice can hold its form so well without feeling sticky in your mouth. The secret is all in how the rice is prepared. Sushi rice has largely been made the same way for centuries, with only a few changes here and there depending on the chef’s own preferences. But how is it made?

Sushi rice is first prepared similarly to any other kind of rice. First, the rice has to be washed. While doing so provides the benefit of getting rid of any dried leaves or other parts of the rice plant that made it into the bag of rice, it also has a second benefit: Washing rice eliminates a lot of the excess starch that would otherwise ruin the texture.

After rinsing, the rice is soaked to begin the process of absorbing water. Then, it is boiled and steamed until it is soft and ready to eat. At this point, the rice can be served on its own or with additional toppings. But for sushi rice, a few more steps are required.

The word “sushi” refers to vinegared rice. That rice vinegar has always been a vital part of preparing sushi. Getting the right proportions of vinegar to rice every time is one of the signs a sushi chef is an expert. In addition to adding the right proportion of vinegar, the rice must also be cooled correctly as it is being mixed to remove excess moisture. However, having it cool too quickly can ruin the texture.

While there are plenty of recipes online for sushi rice, it takes a true master to get it right, every single time. At RuSans, our chefs have years of training to ensure they are creating the highest quality of sushi every single time, whether it’s for an individual order or our lunch buffet. Come enjoy our full sushi menu at the best Japanese seafood restaurant in the Kennesaw area!

California Maki Sushi with Masago

What Is Sushi, Anyway?

Sushi has been eaten in one form or another in Southeast Asia since the 8th century. Yet, it didn’t make its way to America until the early 1900s, and it was almost another 100 years until it truly became popular across the nation. Due to its relative newness in the United States, there are quite a few misconceptions about sushi. Some say it only applies to raw fish on rice; others say it’s acceptable to use other kinds of meat as well.

It’s the second group that’s right.

Sushi refers to vinegared rice with toppings. These toppings may be the popular raw fish, or they may be cooked meats, tofu, vegetables or even desserts. There are as many variations as there are foods to put on top of rice, but it is the rice that is the key to sushi. Most Japanese seafood restaurants also offer sashimi dishes, which is just raw fish on its own, but this is not considered sushi.

There are many different kinds of sushi available. Purists say the only true way to experience sushi is by having nigiri: an oblong ball of rice with raw fish or another meat on it, with perhaps a bit of wasabi as well. Soy sauce is optional, but for the freshest sushi, soy sauce takes away from the flavors of the ocean.

One of the most popular types of sushi in America is the roll. There are a few varieties, such as makizushi, norimaki and makimono, that are distinguished by what kinds of fillings are in them. Traditionally, this sushi is rolled with seaweed (nori) or some other wrapper on the outside. Thanks to the invention of the California roll, uramaki (inside-out rolls) have become more popular in the US. These rolls have seaweed on the inside and rice on the outside.

Whatever kind of toppings and formation of sushi you like, don’t let someone tell you it’s not “real” sushi just because it’s not nigiri with raw fish! At RuSans, we have all kinds of sushi and other dishes for you to enjoy. Come experience our full menu at the best Japanese seafood restaurant in Kennesaw!

Sushi Set sashimi and sushi rolls served on stone slate

The Difference Between Nigiri and Sashimi

When you look through a RuSans menu, you’ll notice you have hundreds of options to choose from. Even on the list of sushi, there are dozens of different choices, from the kind of meat used to how it is served. On every sushi menu, you’ll see two different lists: nigiri and sashimi. Though the difference between these terms is often a mystery to those who are new to sushi, they are quite different. Let us explain:

Nigiri Sushi

The word “nigiri” translates from Japanese to, “two fingers.” This term refers to the amount of rice used to make nigiri; it fits into the chef’s two fingers while he’s pressing it into form. While traditional nigiri is made with raw fish, it can also be accompanied with seared or cooked fish (and other seafood, such as shrimp) as well. Traditionally, only fish is considered nigiri, but other meats can be used instead.

In addition, nigiri is always served as just sushi rice with fish over it, sometimes with wasabi in between for additional flavor. If your sushi is rolled, it is not nigiri. Though nigiri is traditionally served in pairs, you can order it by the piece at RuSans; that way, you can try them all!

Sashimi

The word “sashimi” comes from the Japanese for “pierced flesh. This refers either to how it is sometimes served with the tail and fin in the fish to identify it, or how the fish for sashimi is caught. While nigiri is served over rice, sashimi refers to just thin slices of meat. As such, it is not technically sushi, since “sushi” refers to the rice used. However, sashimi is an experience all its own.

While nigiri is usually served with just wasabi, ginger and soy sauce on the side, sashimi is an art form. Though the name refers to the meat itself, a plate of sashimi is all about presentation. It may be served with any number of garnishes to create a feast for the eyes as well as the mouth. Because no two fish taste the exact same, and even different cuts of the same fish have different flavors, every plate of sashimi is a unique culinary adventure.

At RuSans, our chefs pride expertly prepare nigiri and sashimi every day. Come in today to experience the best Japanese seafood restaurant in Kennesaw!