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Flaming Young

Ten food-related words you need to stop misspelling

** On a side note, the majority of wasabi served in America is artificial — dry mustard, dry horseradish and green food coloring. The real wasabi is actually called Hon Wasabi, or fresh-grated wasabi root, and it's a lot more expensive. Hon Wasabi tastes fresher and doesn't have the shockingly spicy taste that the artificial wasabi has — it diffuses through your taste buds, leaving them tingling, not gasping for water. Look for it on the menu and order it the next time you're in a sushi restaurant.

3. Take Baby Steps

As I said in my review of Uni Sushi, I took baby steps when I decided to try a sushi roll with a piece of raw fish on top. Don't order something so exotic or unfamiliar to you the first time you decide to eat nigiri or sashimi. It takes time to build a palate for raw fish. It's kind of like riding a bike. Take the training wheels off, order something that's cooked, then work your way up by trying familiar fish. Rosa started me off with unagi, a barbecued freshwater eel. The cooked fish with teriyaki sauce was a good fit with my palate. It wasn't strange or gross; it actually melted in my mouth and was extremely sweet, making it easier to eat.

This is not "flaming young."
This is not "flaming young."
Mama Ninfa started an empire.
Mama Ninfa started an empire.

2. Learn the Proper Way to Use Chopsticks

Not everyone knows how to use chopsticks, and even for those who do, they are probably using them wrong. When you're grabbing any sushi off of a community plate, use the thicker end of the chopsticks. It's improper to use the end you put in your mouth to grab sushi off of a community plate, just as you wouldn't use your fork or spoon to take food from a plate or bowl in a buffet line.

Also, use chopsticks only when eating sushi rolls, not when eating nigiri, which means "to grab." When you're eating nigiri, use the thick end of the chopsticks to place it on your plate, then, using your fingers, pick up the sushi, turn it upside down so the fish is on the bottom, lightly dip the fish in the soy sauce and eat it in one bite. It's easy, simple and won't make a mess.

1. All Fish Taste Different

Each piece of fish on a sushi menu tastes different from others. Experiment with the ones you enjoy the most. Everyone has a different appreciation for different fish, so take a gamble after you've begun to work your way into eating raw fish. If you want to take the route I took, start with yellowtail or amberjack, then try salmon (sake), tuna belly (toro) and tuna (akami).

I tried sea urchin (uni) gunkan-maki and, surprisingly, enjoyed the buttery and golden flavors. But if you have not tried nigiri, you probably don't want to order sea urchin. It's expensive, and it's too advanced for a beginner's palate. BY MOLLY DUNN

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