Popped my sushi cherry . . .what's the deal with pickled ginger??

OK, so Mr S and I tried sushi for the first time Sunday night. Overall it was pretty good, and we’ll be doing that again!

One question, though. I’d done some homework beforehand, so we wouldn’t be total hicks. But apparently the presentation of pickled ginger slipped my mind. There was the wasabi, and a little pile of quite frankly fish-looking stuff next to it. It was crunchy and tasted (to me) rather like I imagine Pine-Sol might. Didn’t care for it. Mr S didn’t mind it, though.

When I paid the bill, there were some to-go orders on the counter with clear covers, so I got brave and asked the cashier what the pink stuff was. She explained that it was pickled ginger.

Oh, THAT was pickled ginger? Rather different from the knobby stuff you get in the produce section. I understand that it’s supposed to be a palate cleanser, but quite frankly I thought my palate needed cleansing AFTER I ate it.

Now that I know what it is, I’ll try again with that knowledge firmly in mind.

But wow, people really like that stuff? And do you have any suggestions for getting the Pine-Sol sensation out of my head? (If you like it, what does it taste like to YOU?)

It is my understanding that it’s there to cleanse the palate between dishes. It takes a little to get used to, but it’s to be eaten in moderation (ie, to taste). I usually only eat a one or two slices during an entire sushi outing.

I love it! But I think it’s kind of a love it or hate it sort of thing. To me it tastes like, you know, pickled. It’s a strong taste but very clean.

ETA - the plastic grass, by the way - not a palate cleanser. :slight_smile:

Pine-Sol? I never imagined that. To me it tastes like ginger. That’s been pickled. I like it. That said, the flavour varies. Some is mild, some is strong. Some is ‘hot’, and some, not so much.

Pickled Ginger can vary somewhat in flavor, but I’ve never encountered any that I would have thought of as REMOTELY piney. I quite like it. There’s not really any flavor like it - though I’m generally a fan of most pickled things, since I like the vinegar.

The taste shouldn’t linger in your mouth though - I wonder if you got a bad batch or something.

(Oh, and as for “different from the knobby stuff…” well, it’s been sliced thin. When it’s done properly, it still tastes a little like ginger, so maybe you should be “on the lookout” for that flavor in an effort to avoid the bizarre pine-sol association.)

I don’t like it and I eat sushi as often as budget allows. It’s not a big deal if you don’t eat the pickled ginger. If you don;t like it, just ignore it. It’s a side dish, not a subpoena. :slight_smile:

Heh, i usually avoid the pink stuff and the wasabi often, I prefer just soy sauce on my Sushi.

Love it, love it, love it. I look forward to the ginger on the side, and finish it off every time.


I figure I’d like to give it a fair shake before I declare I don’t like it. We’ll try a couple of different places. Though this place had lots of good reviews, so I don’t think quality was an issue. But if it turns out I really don’t like it, I’ll be happy to cleanse my palate with water/wine.

I had also wondered where the soy sauce was. About halfway through I noticed the little ceramic pitcher and the stack of little dishes up on the bar. Ooops. I guess it was “help yourself” and not “we’ll serve it to you.” The sushi chef was hella busy, so we didn’t have much opportunity to ask questions. We had fun watching him work, though.

Surprisingly, we both liked the wasabi, and usually we’re not horseradish fans. Mr. S liked how it gave just a flash of heat and then faded.

Let’s see, we had . . . a California roll, a smoked salmon roll, tuna and crab nigiri, and an inari roll. All yummy, especially the inari, but I just about fainted when I got home and saw the Weight Watchers points for it. :eek: The rest was all very low-point, though so I’ve added another WW-friendly restaurant choice to the roster!

Sounds like a good introduction. I love the tuna. Mmm… Melts in my mouth! The salmon (raw, not smoked) is also good. Try the tako (octopus) and unagi (freshwater eel). I prefer saltwater eel (anago), but I can never find it.

Question: Do you like other kinds of ginger?

Here is a chirashi bowl from Musashi’s.


I’d have to be pretty committed to trying eel, octopus, etc., because Mr. S is so far pretty dead-set against them, so I’d have to eat the whole thing myself. We’ll see, I guess.

I use fresh ginger (or jarred, if I’m feeling lazy and can’t find any good stuff) all the time in cooking. I’ve also enjoyed candied ginger, gingerbread, ginger tea, and ginger ale. Must be the pickling that offends me. :slight_smile:

Wait, the ginger’s supposed to be a palatte-cleanser? Man, I’ve been putting it on my sushi, along with a little soy sauce and not-a-little wasabi, and eating it all like that. Mind you, I do eat it plain too, but that’s post-meal, not between rolls. Hell, there’s never even close to enough of it to do that.

In the picture I posted, the eel is in the upper-right (about 2 o’clock position). It’s cooked, with teriyaki sauce on it. It’s delicious.

I didn’t know at first that you were not supposed to put wasabi and ginger on every piece you ate. So…I always did, and loved the contrasts. I do like ginger, quite a bit, but plain like that, even as a palate cleanser? Not so much. Combined with the salty of the soy, the tang of the wasabi, and the textures and tastes of <insert roll preference here> and yum…

I’d eat the stuff by the forkful, if that were in any part of the universe, acceptable.

I don’t care for it on my sushi, but that’s the reason I love wasabi peas. Try 'em!

My favorite at the local place is the dragon roll, which has the barbecued eel on top of it. If they’ve got that, try it. It’s awesome. You wouldn’t know it was eel if I didn’t just tell you.

I love the ginger, but I tend to save it for after the meal. Who needs a clean palate, anyways? Take Johnny L.A.'s recommendation on the eel. It’s the most like a normal dish, since it’s cooked and teriyaki-ed. Every kind of tuna is awesome, especially albacore and toro (fatty belly). Hamachi (yellowtail) is also a big favorite of ours.

I have a jar of pickled ginger in the fridge right now, and I don’t make sushi at home, nor do I rarely get take out. I just bought it because it’s delicious, and I eat a little bit here and there.

Also, while drunk a couple weeks ago, I discovered it compliments swiss cheese really well.

sushi straight up without wasabi, soy sauce, or ginger. you really get to taste the fish, and the rice is vinegared already anyway.

if you all really have to use soy sauce, dip the fishpart in, otherwise you’re getting too much soy sauce. the wasabi (which isn’t real wasabi usually but rather horseradish and mustard mixed together) is there to open your taste buds, and the ginger is to cleanse the palate.

i’m certainly not a sushi snob, but i sure do love the stuff. i have no problems with the western bastardization of rolls - avacado (mimics the fatty tuna taste very well) is one of my favorite fillings. what i DO hate is people who over-sauce their sushi. it’s such a waste of prime ingredients. It’s like smothering a good piece of steak with A1 or drenching a polish sausage with ketchup. please let your tongues taste some more complex flavors than just simple sugars. itll be worth it.