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Is it gross to eat sushi with your fingers?

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The question

My boss and I were at a sushi lunch with some prospective clients and he started eating with his fingers. He didn't use his chopsticks even once. The clients looked appalled. He loves this restaurant, so I know he's going to want to go back. What should I do?

The answer

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Go back with him and some more enlightened prospective clients, then use your fingers, too. Sushi is finger food in Japan: It was originally sold from street carts. And eating sushi with your fingers is easier, particularly if the chef's rice is less than perfect and tends to fall apart. When you pick up a piece of nigiri — that's fish on rice — use your thumb and middle finger on either side of the rice and put your index finger over the fish. If you like sauce, flip the works, and dip just the fish (never the rice). Wipe your hands between pieces if you like. Wash your hands when you get back to the office.

Chris Nuttall-Smith is The Globe and Mail's food critic. Have an entertaining dilemma? E-mail style@globeandmail.com.

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