Gaze into the soy sauce dishes of your sushi-eating companions. While the wasabi-soy sauce mix-in remains a controversial topic within the raw fish enthusiast community, you can be certain of one thing: If there’s rice in there, you’re doing something wrong. One or two grains, okay, but if you’ve got a sizable population happening, you’re declaring yourself to the world as an amateur sushi eater. There’s a simple hack for mess-free soy sauce on sushi, and we’re here to advocate for it. It’s on the side of your plate, ranges in color from beige to pink and doesn’t just serve to cleanse the palate any longer.

The trick: Move your soy sauce dish close to your plate, then pick up a piece of ginger with your chopsticks, swish the edge briefly in the soy sauce, ferry it to your plate and “paint” your sushi with a small amount. According to our Sushi Commandments, letting sushi sit in soy sauce for any amount of time allows for way too much absorption. Dipping nigiri facedown is the right way to go. The rice itself should really never touch the soy sauce, as it causes the delicate pad, which is held together by slight pressure and a tiny amount of residual starch (and which is already seasoned properly) to disintegrate into one’s soy sauce dish. Rice grains floating in too much soy sauce is a calling card of the sushi noob.

(istolethetv/Flickr)
Photo: istolethetv/Flickr.

“Baste my sushi with ginger-laced soy sauce!?” You bet. It’s not blasphemous in the least — any Japanese culinary resource (like this comic strip) will tell you it’s perfectly fine and actually the proper way to apply soy sauce to irregular shapes, like gunkan maki.

When you’re done swabbing with the soy sauce, pop that zingy slice in your mouth to cleanse your palate (it’s still good for that!) and follow with the sushi. Pickled ginger is healthy, aids in digestion and should definitely be consumed.