Though Bourdain would have it differently in his world, there won’t always be a sword-wielding sushi chef to keep you in check every time you eat at a Japanese restaurant. But, you should know before you go that mixing wasabi and soy sauce is really that much of a cardinal sin in his eyes. “If you immediately plop a big wad of wasabi into your dish of soy sauce [and] mix it around with your chopsticks? Your sushi chef loses all respect for you,” Bourdain told Inside Hook. “Dip your nigiri into it, rice side down? He hates you now. You may as well spit in his face.”
Considering sushi masters train for years, it’s safe to say they know what they’re doing in terms of both technique and taste. Therefore, as Bourdain explained to Food & Wine, a wasabi slurry is hardly a necessary flavor addition. Bourdain stressed that the proper way to eat sushi is either exactly how it comes, or using the soy sauce and wasabi correctly, i.e. without mixing or dipping it rice side down. If you want to get the most out of your sushi experience, added Bourdain, the key is to respect Japanese cuisine — through the etiquette as much as the food itself.