Your ultimate guide to enjoying Japanese cuisine

Healthy tips for your next takeaway order, plus super flavourful Japanese dishes to make at home.
Published 28 April, 2023

Tips for ordering Japanese takeout

Compared to many restaurant cuisines, sushi has few pitfalls. When they do appear, most are glaringly obvious, like crispy tempura dripping with oil. Here’s how to be true to the tradition, and your goals.

Avoid “spicy”
When you see “spicy” on a sushi roll, it’s code for mayonnaise laced with hot sauce or chilli oil. This orange sauce may be drizzled across the top of the roll or hidden inside. Either way, it can add about 4 Points values to the meal. Plus, the spicy rolls with chopped-up fish are where the restaurant disposes of less desirable cuts.

Eat your vegetables
Whether you adore the flavour of raw fish or are still getting used to the idea, it's worth remembering that sushi also includes vegetarian rolls such as avocado rolls and cucumber rolls.

Spell crab with a “K”
Most imitation crab (or “krab”) in the UK is composed of 45-percent-or-more Alaskan pollack, making it a fairly sustainable choice of seafood. With additions of egg white, oil, salt, starch, and spice, it’s clearly a processed food and not as beneficial as raw tuna or salmon. However, for many diners, the cooked consistency, lower price, and modest calories of surimi sticks make them the perfect core for a California roll, which typically have a few Points in each.

Go brown
Sushi rolls and nigiri sushi rely on rice to fill you up. Most sushi bars now offer brown rice as an option. You’ll get all the fibre and B vitamins you're missing with white rice, and you’ll feel full quicker.

Watch the hibachi
But don’t order from it. They have that squirt bottle of oil, and often use more than necessary because it makes it easier to cook and improves the display. 

Clear your sinuses
In addition to soy sauce, nigiri sushi and sushi rolls are usually served with pickled ginger and wasabi, a green horseradish paste. The lemony heat of ginger and the fiery rush of the horseradish act as contrasts to the delicate sushi and serve to clear your palate. Purists refrain from adding wasabi to their sushi, preferring to leave it in the hands of the sushi chef, but if you crave the rush, both of these bold flavours pack about 1 Point value.