If you are new to sushi and unsure of what to order, have no fear – this article will provide tips to help you navigate the wonderful world of sushi and find options that suit your taste and dietary needs.
Eating sushi for the first time can be an intimidating experience. With so many choices on the menu, how do you know where to start? Follow these simple tips and you’ll be a sushi connoisseur in no time.
Dip Your Toe In with Beginner-Friendly Sushi
If you’re totally new to sushi, it’s best to start with user-friendly options to get your bearings. Here are some great starters:
Try Sashimi First
Sashimi is thinly sliced raw fish, usually served with soy sauce and wasabi. It lets you experience the pure, fresh flavor of the fish itself. Popular sashimi choices like tuna and salmon are a nice intro to sushi. The uncomplicated flavors will give you an appreciation for this Japanese delicacy.
Order Rolls With Familiar Fillings
California rolls are a classic choice for beginners, and for good reason. Filled with avocado, crab stick, and cucumber, they have a familiar taste. Salmon and tuna rolls are also gentle introductions to raw fish. Don’t be afraid to ask your server for guidance if you need it.
Try Nigiri Sushi
Nigiri is a slice of fish or seafood served over a small mound of rice. It makes sushi easily consumable, so it’s ideal for first-timers. Salmon, tuna, yellowtail, shrimp, and eel nigiri are all good starter options.
Order Limited Amounts
Since sushi is served a la carte style, we recommend only ordering a couple pieces at a time as you’re getting started. This approach as several advantages:
- Trying fewer pieces prevents you from getting overwhelmed.
- You can test out different types of sushi.
- Ordering incrementally gives you flexibility. Don’t like something? Just don’t reorder it!
- You’ll have room to order more if you want to continue sampling.
Start with just 1-2 pieces of a couple different sushi varieties. You can always order more later!
Try Lighter Sushi First
If you want to follow a natural progression when eating sushi for the first time, begin with lighter, thinner rolls before moving onto heavier ones. Here’s why:
- Thinner cucumber or avocado rolls let you ease into the overall sushi eating experience.
- The subtle flavors don’t overpower your palate.
- Starting light builds your appreciation for bolder tastes.
- You’re less likely to fill up too quickly.
Once you’ve gotten your sushi legs with lighter rolls, feel empowered to order more robust specialty rolls!
Choose Low-FODMAP Options If Needed
FODMAPs are certain carbs that can trigger digestive issues in some people. If this is a concern for you, there are many low-FODMAP sushi options to enjoy:
- Sashimi contains just fish, an easy low-FODMAP choice.
- Nigiri with low-FODMAP fish or shrimp.
- Temaki (hand rolls) made without problem ingredients.
- Rice-free sushi bowls with sashimi or vegetables.
- Rolls with low-FODMAP fillings like salmon, tuna, or cucumber.
Look for gluten-free tamari instead of soy sauce, and avoid rolls with wheat-based sauces. Learn more about low-FODMAP sushi here.
Pick Keto-Friendly Options
On a low-carb or keto diet? You have delicious sushi choices:
- Sashimi lets you enjoy fresh fish without carbs.
- Rolls wrapped in cucumber instead of rice decrease net carbs.
- Sushi bowls over cauliflower rice make a satisfying low-carb meal.
- Seared meats like chicken teriyaki are keto-approved.
Skip carb-heavy tempura and sweet sauces. Check out this guide to keto sushi for more tips.
Satisfy Vegetarian Cravings
Veggie-focused sushi abounds, including:
- Cucumber rolls – Refreshing and light.
- Avocado rolls – Creamy and rich.
- Asparagus or sweet potato tempura rolls – Crispy and satisfying.
- Carrot and kanpyo rolls – Colorful and crunchy.
- Vegetable sushi bowls – Loaded with produce.
Just inform your server if you don’t eat fish or seafood. With all the meat-free sushi options, vegetarian diets are well accommodated.
While sushi can seem intimidating if you’ve never tried it before, following the tips in this guide will set you up for success. Begin with sushi that’s light in flavor and portion size. Sashimi, basic nigiri, and mild rolls are perfect starting points.
Order thoughtfully and moderately to avoid overwhelm. If you have special dietary needs, there are low-FODMAP, keto, and vegetarian sushi choices available.
Above all, don’t stress about the “rules” of eating sushi. Relax and have fun sampling new flavors at your own pace. After trying these starter sushi picks, soon you’ll feel like a sushi connoisseur!