It's A Mistake To Eat The Miso Soup First. Here's Why

Experienced sushi eaters know the drill when dining at a sushi restaurant. You order the varieties you like (will it be sashimi or maki?), barely glancing at the lengthy menu. Then, while you wait for your rolls to arrive, you break open your chopsticks and likely eat the miso soup and salad that is brought out to you first. Yet, although you've been eating it for years, you might have yet to learn that it's actually a mistake to eat the miso soup before your sushi.

Sushi experts will tell you that to truly enjoy the experience of eating raw fish and all the tasty garnishes it comes with, there is a proper order to eat your meal. While miso soup (and usually a salad with ginger dressing) is often served as an appetizer at sushi restaurants in the U.S., eating this delicious umami-flavored soup before your meal might prevent you from tasting all the flavor nuances of your sushi.

What is miso soup and why should it be eaten last?

Miso soup is a traditional Japanese soup that consists of miso paste, dashi broth, and vegetables such as tofu and seaweed. It has a rich history in Japan, dating back to the Asuka period (Japan's first historical era), and is an essential part of most Japanese meals, often served as a side dish with breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner. The fermentation process of miso can also help your body digest food and absorb nutrients.

While eating miso soup has become an indispensable part of the sushi dining experience in the U.S., eating it as an appetizer doesn't exactly make sense if it's meant to aid in digestion. Therefore, you may want to ask for it to be served after your meal instead to help you digest all that sushi you just ate.

To experience all the glorious flavors of your sushi, eat the sashimi (raw fish without rice) first with a clean palate, followed by the maki or uramaki (sushi wrapped in seaweed and rice), ending your meal with the miso soup. You can also eat the pickled ginger in between bites of different types of sushi as a palate cleanser.