The Best How to Eat: A master chef explains how to eat sushi Reviews 2019

Aparita Bhandari learns sushi etiquette from master chef Jackie Lin at Shoushin restaurant. for more on this story visit the Toronto Star: Or read an excerpt of Apart Bhandari’s story below:

How to eat: A master chef explains how to eat sushi

Mixing wasabi with soy sauce is frowned upon, as is pointing with your chopsticks.

This is part of a weekly series in which reporter Aparita Bhandari explores how to eat the different cuisines that make up Toronto’s diverse culinary landscape.

Eating sushi at a fancy Japanese restaurant is perhaps one of the most intimidating experiences for me. Sure, I have grabbed a sushi bento box many times, especially when seeking a quick meal on the go. But to actually sit down in a formal setting and be mindful of the etiquette of eating sushi, when it seems everyone around me has their own sushi traditions, can be rather confusing.

Toronto now boasts of a number of traditional sushi spots offering an authentic omakase experience — where the menu is left up to the chef. And I’ll admit, after watching the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi, about Jiro Ono, widely considered to be the world’s greatest sushi chef, and his quest for perfection, I really wanted a traditional sushi eating experience. So I quelled my concerns about a display of quivering chopsticks in front of Chef Jackie Lin, known for his own quest for perfection, and headed to Toronto’s Shoushin restaurant.


You get a sense of Lin’s attention to detail the minute you step into Shoushin. The restaurant in the heart of the bustling Yonge and Lawrence neighbourhood is an oasis of tranquility. Shoushin’s sushi bar bills itself as one of only two in North America (the other is New York’s Masa) with a sushi bar constructed from hinoki wood. As they note on their website, hinoki is a cypress tree native to Japan and the wood is used to construct palaces, shrines and temples. To keep the wood silken and conditioned, the bar is sanded down by hand every day.

Preparing perfect nigiri sushi is a work of art. There may be just three ingredients — fish, rice and vinegar — but sushi masters are obsessive getting all the details just right. The fish must be fresh and flavourful. The sushi rice called meshi must be cooked just so. The amount of vinegar must also be exact to make sure it doesn’t drown out of the flavour of the fish.

Lin, the young chef at the helm of Shoushin, has been called a serious talent by restaurant critics in the city. In person, he is quite serious, which didn’t help in calming down my nerves at the prospect of sitting down at a sushi bar.

My attempts to draw him into conversation were met with polite silence as Lin concentrated on grating a portion of fresh wasabi. You’re not supposed to interfere a sushi chef when he’s busy working, I learn later, although there’s nothing against polite conversation at a sushi bar. In fact, sometimes it can also help build a rapport in an otherwise solitary experience. And once he had finished his preparations, Lin was happy to give me notes about eating sushi.


I was most concerned about my chopstick etiquette. In preparing for my meal at Shoushin, I researched how to eat with chopsticks on the Internet, and spoke with some friends of Asian background. Turns out, you aren’t meant to rub chopsticks against each other, as I had seen some people do at sushi (and other Asian) restaurants. And that there are specific rules about handling them — use the ceramic rest provided, don’t point with your chopsticks. Also, a friend once suggested using the back of the chopsticks to pick from a communal platter. But it was all moot at the sushi bar Shoushin.

For more on this story visit

The Best How to Eat: A master chef explains how to eat sushi Reviews 2019


  1. Man, sure wish you didn't cover up the last portion of this beautifully shot video with your damn link and logo…

  2. I agree with the chef about not asking if the fish is fresh or not. Obviously no restaurant should serve raw fish that is not fresh. 🍣🍙🍘🍥🍚

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