How to Eat Sushi

Nigiri, which consists of thin slices of raw fish over hand-formed balls of steamed rice, is the most traditional type of sushi. Many Americans are surprised to learn that the most traditional way to eat nigiri is not with chopsticks, but with your fingers. It is not incorrect to use chopsticks, but if you want to eat in an authentically Japanese manner, follow the directions below.

After washing and drying your hands, pick up the nigiri and make sure that the fish touches your tongue before the rice. This allows you to appreciate the fish’s unique texture and flavor. If you would like to dip your nigiri in soy sauce, dip the fish side only—otherwise, the rice will become too soggy.

Sushi

When eating sushi rolls with rice on the outside, which are a Japanese-American fusion dish, always use chopsticks to prevent the roll from falling apart. Smaller, simpler rolls (such as plain tuna rolls) with seaweed on the outside may be eaten with your fingers, just like nigiri.

At  House of Genji, we serve both traditional nigiri and contemporary California-style sushi rolls alongside our teppanyaki offerings. To learn more about our cuisine, or to make a reservation, give us a call at (408) 453-8120.

The History of Teppanyaki

Fast-paced teppanyaki cooking provides customers with an exciting dining and entertainment experience. Like sushi chefs, tea ceremony hosts, and practitioners of other cultural disciplines with roots in Japan, teppanyaki chefs train to develop precise skills. Unlike these other disciplines, little is known about the history of teppanyaki. Before 1945, there is little record of the origins of this style of cooking. To find out some facts about the history of teppanyaki, read on.

Scotch fillets on the hot plate

Legendary Origins
Though there is scant documentation, some oral traditions trace teppanyaki back to family dining habits in feudal Japan. Commoners in some rural areas would gather around central cooking fires in their homes to keep warm and prepare simple meals of grilled fish, meats, or vegetables. This is one possible antecedent of the communal dining style of teppanyaki. Other folk tales trace teppanyaki to early 20th century Kobe, where fishmonger chefs would grill the catch of the day in front of waiting customers.

Japan s First Modern Teppanyaki
Misono, the first modern teppanyaki steakhouse, opened in Kobe in 1945. At this famous restaurant, the chefs first juggled knives, tossed delicious morsels onto customers’ plates, and debuted many of the other dazzling tricks that today are  the hallmarks of Japanese steakhouse dining. The fresh and delicious grilled steak, prawns, and vegetables at Misono proved very popular with foreign visitors.

Teppanyaki Comes to America
In 1964, a young Japanese wrestler opened the U.S.A.’s first teppanyaki restaurant in Manhattan. The immersive dining experience quickly captivated New Yorkers, and over the next decade teppanyaki spread from coast to coast. Americans love watching the skilled chefs perform juggling feats and enjoy sampling the delectable foods prepared on the tabletop grill. Because teppanyaki uses ingredients that are very familiar to Westerners, such as mushrooms, onions, steak, chicken, and fresh seafood, it is very accessible to the American palate.

House of Genji brings authentic teppanyaki cooking to San Jose. Visit us to savor the taste and enjoy the showmanship of this  Japanese culinary tradition. To make your reservation, call (408) 453-8120 today.

Drinking Ginjo Sake

Many American diners are familiar with the steaming carafes of sake served at some Japanese restaurants. While it is indeed traditional to serve certain types of sake warm, there are other types of sake that are best enjoyed at room temperature or even cold.

Ginjo, which is made from rice that has been very finely milled, is a light, fragrant style of sake. This beverage should never be served hot, and is in fact best enjoyed when lightly chilled. To learn more about the proper way to serve and drink ginjo sake, watch this video.

You can drink ginjo sake alongside your delicious teppanyaki or sushi dinner at House of Genji in San Jose. This traditional beverage is the perfect pairing for our  authentic Japanese cuisine. For information on our menu, reservations, and special event facilities, call us today at (408) 453-8120.

How Is Sake Made?

Japan’s fine sakes are prized for their range of flavors. Depending on the style and quality, sake can be served, chilled, at room temperature, or even warm. With dozens of varieties to choose from, sake will complement any fine Japanese dinner. Though some English-speakers refer to this beverage as “rice wine,” sake is actually more akin to beer. Read on to learn more about the sake brewing process.

Japanese toast

Selecting the Rice
To being  crafting a fine sake, the brewer must first select the rice. There are many varieties, and imparts a different flavor to the final product. For example, Yamada Nishiki rice produces a more delicate, fragrant sake, while Omachi rice will bring an earthy flavor to the beverage.

Preparing the Rice
Once the sake brewer receives a shipment of rice, the grain must be properly prepared. First the bran is milled away, leaving only the  shinpaku , or starchy core. After milling, the rice must be allowed to cool and re-absorb moisture from the air, or it will crack during the next phase when it is washed, soaked, and steamed.

Fermenting the Mash
After the steamed rice has cooled again, the brewer adds  koji  (Aspergillus oryzae), a special type of microorganism that aids in fermentation. Once the rice grains have fermented for the proper amount of time, the brewer mashes them together with more fresh steamed white rice and pure water. This process is repeated several times over the next few weeks as the sake ferments in large tanks.

Finishing the Sake
After the sake has fermented in the tank for the proper amount of time, the mash is pressed to remove all solids. The resulting liquid is pure, unfiltered sake. Depending on the brewer’s preferences and the style of sake, the liquid may then be charcoal filtered, pasteurized, and aged before bottling.

At House of Genji, we have a wide selection of authentic Japanese sakes. These fine beverages will enhance your dining experience whether you are enjoying teppanyaki or sushi with us.  Make your reservation today  by calling (408) 453-8120.