Seattle's first sushi chef, Shiro, whose new memoir we excerpted in our December issue, offers several helpful tips in the book for consuming sushi like a pro.
Over the years, the sushi bar has developed its own special jargon, including its very own way of counting, which allows the chef to bark out the total for a meal to the cashier without appearing rude. Here are a few of the words used by those in the know:
AGARI: Say “agari” at the end of the meal, and you’ll be served a cup of green tea. The word signals that your meal is over, which is the traditional time for a hot cup of green tea to be served.
GARI: At some point long ago, sushi patrons stopped calling ginger shoga, the word used in Japan, and started calling it gari.
HIKARIMONO: Used to indicate the shiny ﬁsh such as mackerel or smelt.
MURASAKI: Those in the know may call soy sauce shoyu, but how many people know that the sushi-bar term for soy sauce is murasaki, which means “purple” and is used because of soy sauce’s deep purple color?
OAISO: Check please!
SHAR: This is the word for sushi rice. Normally it is called sushimeshi.
Originally published in Shiro: Wit, Wisdom & Recipes from a Sushi Pioneer (Chin Music Press, 2011), a beautifully designed book that would make a great gift for any sushi lover in your life.