Japanese sushi chefs weighs in on customers who practice “wasabi joyu”.

Have you ever mixed a bit of wasabi into your soy sauce and dipped your sushi into it? If you have, you’ve committed a culinary taboo that’s frowned upon in the dining world, according to news shared widely in Japan recently.

Sushi Sasaya Korin, a sushi restaurant in Kyoto’s Pontocho district, is one such establishment that believes wasabi should not be mixed with soy sauce, and Itamae Sushi Edo in Tokyo’s upmarket Minato Ward also holds the same opinion.

The reason why the practice is discouraged is because dissolving wasabi in soy sauce is said to not only sully the soy sauce, but also diminish the spiciness and aroma of the wasabi.

Mixing wasabi with soy sauce is known as “wasabi joyu“, an amalgamation of the words “wasabi” and “shoyu” the Japanese word for soy sauce. According to Sushi Sasaya Korin, wasabi joyu is a violation of etiquette not only when it comes to sushi but all Japanese food in general as the two should always be enjoyed separately.

Itamae Sushi Edo believes wasabi should be applied directly to the fish itself, especially in the case of fatty fish like chuutoro (medium fatty tuna) and ootoro (pink fatty tuna), as the wasabi helps to neutralise the fat, which makes it taste even more delicious.

A recent survey of 15,558 diners found that 6,347 people (40.8 percent) said they always add wasabi to the fish on their sushi and never make wasabi joyu. However, 4,317 people (27.75 percent) said they mix wasabi in with their soy sauce and 4,894 people …continue reading