Our next cheat sheet shines a spotlight on sushi, breaking down what you need to know to master the art of ordering and enjoying one of the world's most popular foods.

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The Proper Way To Eat Sushi

The Japanese don't always use their hands to eat food, but you can count sushi as one of them. However, chopsticks are also acceptable.

According to famous chef Nobu Matsuhisa, one shouldn't dip the bottom rice part of nigiri sushi into soy sauce but instead should do so with the top fish part. This is because soy sauce has a high sodium content which may overpower the taste of the fish if applied too much.

In non kaiten-sushi (conveyor belt) restaurants, expert sushi chefs will usually apply the perfect amount of soy sauce for you, so diners can enjoy a sushi's flavours as intended by the chef.


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Easy To Love

A quick look at some of the most popular sushi orders.

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Arguably the poster child of sushi, nigiri (hand pressed) has gone from Japanese "fast-food" back in the day to haute cuisine Michelin star status around the world. It takes years for sushi masters to perfect the art of sushi and serving nigiri during an omakase course is the highlight of most luxury sushi restaurants. The get your fix in the Klang Valley, read our "ultimate guide to sushi".

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A common type of rolled sushi, and probably one of the most widely known, maki features raw fish, pickles, egg or vegetables, at the centre of rolled sushi rice and seaweed that's typically cut into bite sized pieces. Maki can also come in a bigger, fatter variant or a thinner, longer version called futomaki and hosomaki respectively. 

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Another variant of rolled sushi and the opposite of maki, in which the seaweed is inside instead of out, urumaki typically warrants more lavish toppings and fillings than the typicaly maki. It was created to suit the Western palate but has since became a part of sushi culture worldwide. Expect cooked fillings such as soft shell crab, tempura prawn, mayonnaise, fish roe to raw items such as avocado, tuna and salmon.

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Gunkan Maki

Named for its resemblance to a warship, gunkan maki is a variation of rolled sushi that features rice wrapped around with seaweed and topped with fillings such as fish roe, sea urchin, minced tuna, octopus, jellyfish and more. Commonly found in sushi train restaurants, gunkan maki delivers a good balance of rice and topping with the satisfying crunch of toasted seaweed.

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These ice-cream cone-like hand rolls called temaki are also another version of rolled sushi, usually highlighting a single cooked or raw ingredient with a mix of other supporting ingredients to balance the flavours. While popular at sushi train type restaurants, they aren't commonly found in higher end sushi restaurants.

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Inari Sushi

Hard not to love, the humble inari sushi is made of seasoned aburaage tofu pouches stuffed with sushi rice. Since it is relatively easy to make at home, creative restaurant have found ways to stuff their versions of inari with burnt mayonnaise, seafood, cheese and more.

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Sashimi isn't sushi, but can be served at a sushi restaurant or as part of an omakase course meal. It's literally sushi without the rice, but tastes differently in that you'll only be tasting the inherent qualities of a particular fish, mollusc or any other type of seafood. It's also a common misconception that good sashimi comes fresh from sea to table.

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The term referring to the diner leaving the meal up to the hands of the chef. Dining omakase usually sees guests sit at the sushi bar and watch as a sushi master expertly serves course after course of appetiser, nigiri sushi, soup, a rice or noodle dish, and a dessert. While guests are free to tell the chef their preferences, omakase course meals will see the chef choose the freshest cuts to be used for your meal that day.