Sushi can be eaten with either chopsticks or fingers. Many choose to use their fingers because chopsticks can often damage sushi that has been delicately prepared. However, others prefer to use chopsticks to prevent the flavours lingering on their hands. Much depends on personal preference and also the type of sushi that is prepared. For example, dishes such as Igirzushi are traditionally eaten with the hands, even in a formal setting. It’s certainly an easier way to dine on sushi, especially when etiquette demands that dipping should be fish-side first. This can prove rather challenging with chopsticks.
Chopsticks can also spoil the overall flavour of certain types of sushi. In many cases sushi rice is moulded loosely together – it is this technique which gives sushi that ‘melt-in-the-mouth’ texture. Some believe that chopsticks spoil this effect by either compressing the rice or dislodging it altogether.
In Japan, sushi is traditionally seen as finger food although you’re very unlikely to be thrown out of a restaurant for using chopsticks. So it’s perfectly acceptable to eat sushi either with chopsticks or hands. Most connoisseurs opt to use their fingers so that they can fully enjoy the flavours of each ingredient. And although the dish is traditionally eaten with the fingers, there won’t be any raised eye-brows should you decide to use chopsticks.