Take a trip to a handful of sushi bars these days and chances are you’ll come across dozens of differences in the way the sushi is served. From the plastic trays of the supermarket to the domes flying round on the conveyor belts it seems as if you really can eat sushi off anything.
But as for the question of what you should be serving sushi on, it’s actually a much more understated affair.
Keep it Simple
Generally speaking, the idea is one of allowing the beauty of the sushi to shine through without getting lost in the pattern of the plate. As such, it’s unusual to find a professional and authentic Japanese restaurant serving sushi on a heavily patterned plate or one that’s overly bright in colour. Instead, you’re much more likely to find the best sushi restaurants in the business using simple, understated lacquered plates in white, black or red.
The best way to look at it is as something of a blank canvas used to accentuate the beauty of the sushi itself without cluttering the overall aesthetic. Such and its fillings come in all manner of colours and patterns, so in order to make sure it always steals the show in its own right, it’s crucial to use an understated serving plate.
Shape and Size
As the sliced sushi rolls are more often than not served in a single line/strip, it’s common for sushi plates to be rectangular in shape with a fairly long and thin design. It’s not uncommon to see sushi being served on round plates or those of any other shape imaginable, but the best overall aesthetic is always created with a rectangular plate.
Some restaurants serve their sushi on wooden boards, which can also give the sushi a wonderfully rustic look and traditional charm. As for size, there really aren’t any specific rules as it all comes down to the amount of sushi being served from a single plate. The only thing to be aware of is to ensure that the different types of sushi on the plate are not squashed together or touching.
In terms of shape, in order to position the sushi pieces in an attractive and desirable manner, it’s important to choose a serving plate that’s as flat as possible. It’s ok to go for one with a gentle curve and perhaps sloped edges, but use a plate that’s more like a bowl and the stuff will end up sliding everywhere.
For serving condiments with the sushi, it’s more common than not these days to find the pickled ginger and wasabi placed directly on the serving plate, though far enough from the sushi to prevent any chance of contact. Soy sauce is served by way of providing each diner with a shallow dipping bowl, which can then be topped up as and when needed.
Some prefer to keep their condiments on separate plates, but there’s really nothing in good sushi etiquette guidelines to suggest this is either a good or bad habit.