Join 3,557 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


The Sushi Personality Test
May 21, 2014 11:53 AM   Subscribe

Read this and have some sushi with friends.
posted by sidra (58 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
I pick the first one that looks good as it approaches me on the conveyor belt. What does that make me? (he asked, bracing himself)
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:16 PM on May 21 [2 favorites]


This research is pretty fishy.
posted by srboisvert at 12:24 PM on May 21 [8 favorites]


I think we'd need more raw numbers.
posted by Lutoslawski at 12:28 PM on May 21 [6 favorites]


I, too, wonder about this. I usually eat my least favorite near the beginning of the meal and my favorite right after, then which I had another piece of yellow tail.
posted by shothotbot at 12:28 PM on May 21


I eat whatever I think will gross out the people I am around. Tentacles and a beak? Get in my mouth!
posted by cjorgensen at 12:29 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


First thing you do when the plate arrives is decide which bite you want to "end on," which flavor you want to have in your mouth after the meal's over, and eat that one last.

(Just had amazing sushi for lunch and ended on a killer bite of salmon.)
posted by jbickers at 12:29 PM on May 21 [5 favorites]


"Interestingly, we found that more females tended to employ the favorite-first rather than favorite-last strategy."

This is true of my s.o. I'm a save-the-best-for-last kind of person.
posted by ChuckRamone at 12:30 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


Maybe women were more likely to eat their favorite sushi first because they were less confident that they'd be hungry enough to eat all the sushi?
posted by ostro at 12:30 PM on May 21 [4 favorites]


This research is pretty fishy.

I think we'd need more raw numbers.


At least we can be confident they haven't cooked the data.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:31 PM on May 21 [8 favorites]


This is true of my s.o. I'm a save-the-best-for-last kind of person.

I only do best for last if I would win in a fight with whomever I am eating with.
posted by srboisvert at 12:31 PM on May 21 [4 favorites]


I save the best for last but I'm willing to bet that many women my age go favorite-first so that they don't have to fight over the favorite later, or so that they don't have to forego the favorite when they let their SO have the last piece.
posted by janey47 at 12:36 PM on May 21 [6 favorites]


Favorite first, and favorite last.

I eat whatever I think will gross out the people I am around. Tentacles and a beak? Get in my mouth!

That's probably at least half the reason I always order ama-ebi when it's available. Mmm crispy shrimp head.
posted by kmz at 12:43 PM on May 21


I eat my favorite thing first (usually uni) and my second-favorite thing last (nice fatty buttery salmon).
posted by fiercecupcake at 12:46 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


I just want to find a sushi restaurant with buckets of painfully cold water. I'm tired of always having to bring my own.
posted by orme at 12:55 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


"Interestingly, we found that more females tended to employ the favorite-first rather than favorite-last strategy."

Absolutely. The first bite tastes the best because you're hungry for it, and it's a new sensation (compared to non-eating). The 2nd bite is never as good as the first, and so on.

My buffet strategy is to leave 80% full. That way I never regret that last bite.

That restraint (not over eating) is replaced by the indulgence of eating the best first.

I'm sure there's a paper in there somewhere. Oh, wait....
posted by St. Peepsburg at 1:09 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


My buffet strategy is to leave 80% full. That way I never regret that last bite.

Not to be mean, but I dont think you would make a very good addict.
posted by shothotbot at 1:11 PM on May 21 [5 favorites]


If you eat the best first, the meal can only go downhill from there.

My buffet strategy is not to go.
posted by sparklemotion at 1:16 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


I expected more practical explanations and not GameStrategy discussions.

IMO I prefer to go a Cali Roll , then good cuts of Tuna shashimi, and finish up with Tomago

Also Obligatory: http://en.ilovecoffee.jp/posts/view/89
posted by Hasteur at 1:21 PM on May 21 [2 favorites]


I always pick the most endangered species first.
posted by planetesimal at 1:21 PM on May 21 [2 favorites]


I enjoy this sushi blog tremendously.
posted by JPD at 1:28 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


If you eat the best first, the meal can only go downhill from there.

Unless the utility of your best sushi exceeds the diminishing marginal utility from each additional piece of sushi, then it's better to eat your best first.

I usually eat my favorites first, and end with what is the cheapest that will fill me up (usually Imari, Tamago, or Cali rolls).
posted by FJT at 1:32 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


Silly researchers, it's salmon all the way down.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 1:42 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


I eat my favorite thing first (usually uni)

Uni I find very tough to sell people on, so not a bad choice if you want to ensure you get your fill of uni.

I'm a fan of tuna belly, myself. That was the cheapo option in most of the lunchboxes where I lived in Japan, and that was just fine by me. But there's like a 50-way tie for second place. I'll eat almost any sushi you put in front of me.
posted by Hoopo at 1:44 PM on May 21


So wait- you all don't just order omakase?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:49 PM on May 21 [5 favorites]


I'm hoping for a follow up where they examine probabilistic approaches to splitting the bill for a large party.
posted by indubitable at 1:49 PM on May 21


I always have masago or tobiko last. It's not my favorite. It's just a habit.
posted by crush-onastick at 1:56 PM on May 21


I eat my sushi in a round-robin style, with each set sorted worst-to-best. That way each bite is both different from and (usually) better than the previous.
posted by Jpfed at 2:01 PM on May 21 [3 favorites]


I've only done omakase one TWS and it was . . . not great. I think it was stuff they wanted to get rid of or were otherwise not selling well and that really scared me off of the whole concept. I can't say I've found a place where I have enough trust that it's going to be good.
posted by Carillon at 2:29 PM on May 21


I like it all, other than octopus ever since I learned how smart they are. Please, no one tell me that eel are smart. Because I might eat unagi even if it turned out they could, like, do algebra.
posted by Cookiebastard at 2:31 PM on May 21 [4 favorites]


Wow, I assumed that given the competitive aspect, everyone would try to eat their favorites first. If it was just seven pieces of sushi before me with no one potentially stealing any, I might do something like a wine flight where I eat the lightest to the most flavorful. But if it's a competition, ain't no one else getting that tuna.

It reminds me of my dilemma with neapolitan ice cream sandwiches. My favorite flavor first or last? I end up saving the best (strawberry obviously) for last.
posted by chatongriffes at 2:39 PM on May 21


I alternate: good, not so good, good, not so good...bookended by my favourites.
posted by Omnomnom at 2:40 PM on May 21


Bookends of tuna nigiri, but why would you get anything less than your favorite sushi?
posted by odinsdream at 2:44 PM on May 21 [2 favorites]


Wow, I assumed that given the competitive aspect, everyone would try to eat their favorites first. If it was just seven pieces of sushi before me with no one potentially stealing any, I might do something like a wine flight where I eat the lightest to the most flavorful. But if it's a competition, ain't no one else getting that tuna.

There are two separate parts of the experiment. You choose between two items seven times, with your partner getting the one you don't choose each time. That's the competitive part, and the purpose of that is to find out your preferences without actually asking which you prefer.

You don't actually eat the sushi then. You just select 7 times and they're placed in front of you. Then after you make your seven choices, you can eat them on your own, with no interaction with anyone else.
posted by empath at 3:09 PM on May 21


indubitable: I'm hoping for a follow up where they examine probabilistic approaches to splitting the bill for a large party.

It's pretty complicated.
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:13 PM on May 21 [2 favorites]


I don't usually order sushi I don't like, so normally it's just a matter of mixing up the flavors for best variety. But if I've gotten a random selection and it's a small enough amount that I'm sure I am going to want to eat it all, I'd usually do the bookends. Very favorite first, and saving one of my other favorites for last.
posted by tavella at 3:15 PM on May 21


Eat your favorite first. At the end, you will appreciate your least favorite more because it's all you have left and you're still hungry.
posted by scose at 3:18 PM on May 21


This is exactly what I was hoping it would be!
posted by chatongriffes at 3:35 PM on May 21


At the end, you will appreciate your least favorite more because it's all you have left and you're still hungry.

Wait, what? Eating: You're doing it wrong.
posted by Omnomnom at 3:50 PM on May 21


I'm surprised at the number of salmon lovers. Its not traditionally a highly esteemed fish to eat raw. Not to mention its all going to be farmed.

Had the most unbelievable fluke sashimi last week. Thinly sliced then placed in translucent layers across an 8 inch plate and dressed with just lemon and salt. Delicious.
posted by JPD at 3:50 PM on May 21


> Its not traditionally a highly esteemed fish to eat raw.

I think that's mainly due to it being a freshwater fish that can host all sorts of parasites and now modern freezing techniques can mostly eliminate this. The Ainu Japanese have been doing it for centuries, apparently having figured out their own flash freezing methods. It's quite delicious, and usually a good chaser after a more gamey piece of fish.
posted by planetesimal at 4:14 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


This research is pretty fishy.

I think we'd need more raw numbers.

At least we can be confident they haven't cooked the data.


Seems to be full of red herrings.
posted by zardoz at 4:41 PM on May 21 [2 favorites]


I've never really thought about it, but I guess I do have a preferred sushi routine.

I like to start with the less intense flavours and build upwards.

Basically, maki rolls first, avocado or cucumber or, if there is no other choice, california roll.

Then I move up to the sushi/sashimi. Usually tuna, then the salmon, leaving the white fish, tentacles, and egg for later bites. Always, of course, trying to turn the nigri upside down with my chopsticks to dip just the fish, and not the rice, in soy sauce.

My last bite, always, is my favourite, the Saba, as that burst of awesome fishiness is the best to let linger.

I'm not sure where that lands me except in the slightly OCD range, but there it is.
posted by cacofonie at 4:49 PM on May 21


I'm surprised at the number of salmon lovers. Its not traditionally a highly esteemed fish to eat raw.

It's also an easy entry into sushi for anyone who grew up eating lox.

My husband and I order two of each thing and eat it together, which eliminates the "one piece with two glaring at each other" problem. We only have that sort of concern with our favorite place when they give us rolls with five pieces.
posted by immlass at 5:05 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


The Japanese Tradition - Sushi
posted by gen at 5:22 PM on May 21 [4 favorites]


My last bite, always, is my favourite, the Saba, as that burst of awesome fishiness is the best to let linger.

I prefer my saba to be the penultimate bite. Since I order 一人前 (two pieces) I will have already judged what I want to chase saba as the ultimate bite.

This "research paper" is utterly ridiculous. It does not account for omakase. Oh.. I'll tell you a great omakase story.

I visited LA a few years back, and a friend of mine knew I loved sushi so he said we should visit The Sushi Nazi. I had heard of him, apparently became infamous because he got in an argument with some Hollywood starlet who sent back a piece of sushi she didn't like, so he kicked her out of the shop. No sushi for you, thus the nickname. My friend said to follow his lead, and he goes here a lot so don't embarrass him. I protested, you will embarrass me, remember I lived in Japan, I know the etiquette better than you, in fact, many an itamae has asked me where I learned about sushi. Actually, I have the table manners of a country bumpkin, and easily identifiable too, which is a great source of amusement to nihonjin.

But I digress. So we are headed to The Sushi Nazi, hey we're on Ventura Blvd, hey this is the stop light right in front of my old workplace. We turn right, into a parking lot. Oh FFS. This isn't The Sushi Nazi to ME, this is the sushi takeout place I used to get lunch! I cursed out my friend, hey I was going to this shop years before you or anyone else heard of it. I think I ate there the first week it opened.

Before we entered, my friend told me how this works. For dinner, you let itamae choose the first 3 servings. Only after that can you choose one of your own, and you better make it good. I said, "oh you mean omakase. Everyone knows about omakase, we're not even in the shop and you're already embarrassing me."

So we walk in and we're immediately greeted with "IRASSHAIMASSE!!" and suddenly I blurt out "Hai!" and bow, just out of force of habit. Oh that was a long forgotten habit, I haven't been greeted like that for years. Oh crap, I'm accidentally being one of those idiots that speaks Japanese at the sushi bar to show off. I will have to cut that out. But itamae has already noticed and is eyeing me.

We sit down and I shut up and let my friend take the lead. Yeah, he's embarrassing me. We get served some really great sushi, expertly sliced into thin slices that were disappointingly small servings. I think we started with maguro, then hamachi and ika. The usual, that's probably what I would have picked on my own. I was thinking I would order the country bumpkin favorite from my old stomping grounds, ikasashi on natto. But too late, I already had ika.

We are sitting at the counter, and for the last half hour I have been eyeing that enormous pile of uni behind the glass in the refrigerator case. Oh it is hard to get good uni in the US. And I am picky. I have eaten uni at dockside in Japan, taken live from a basket in the seawater and cracked open and served to me less than 30 seconds from the ocean. This uni isn't even close, but it will do. I order some. He just says, "no, it's no good." I just mutter quietly so only itamae can hear, "un.. nandemo nai.. omakase..." And I am rewarded with a delicious serving of saba. Umai. My friend was surprised at the choice, it was more adventurous than he expected. I needled my friend, let's get the hell out of here before you embarrass me further.
posted by charlie don't surf at 5:49 PM on May 21 [4 favorites]


I wonder if the first part, with competition for selecting which sushi you got to eat, set the tone for how to eat the sushi you had actually scored. If they just got a menu of 15 kinds of sushi and the instructions: 'pick 7 of these' would people have eaten them in a different order? Seems to me that starting from a premise of scarcity encourages people to keep going for their favourite first in case it disappears on them.

On a sushi train, I will take my favourites first in case they all go and I miss out. But if I have ordered some kind of mixed plate of sushi, I'll eat the ones I don't like as much first and finish with my favourites.
posted by Athanassiel at 5:49 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


Ok, as the epidemiologist who (still) lives in Japan, let me push back on some of the criticism -- omakase is strictly out of bounds because it would irrevocably add too many variables and destroy the methodology. This is specifically interesting because it uses a set selection of sushi pieces to evaluate how one thinks about immediate vs delayed gratification. It's marshmallow testing with older subjects and more raw fish products. And yeah, the living in Japan thing is probably not relevant to the pushback on the pushback. But it does lead to this comment -- I alternate stuff I like best with stuff I like least, which somehow puts me outside the data set in this paper. Although, as many have said, it's really the piece you end on that is the only truly important decision.
posted by Vcholerae at 8:46 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


Next time you're at a sushi place just order omakase. The chef knows better than you what fish is good and what he's good at preparing. I haven't been let down yet.

On an almost completely unrelated note, today I discovered that pink salmon tastes 95% as good as the more common silver or sockeye and costs like 1/4th as much. Why was I not informed of this before? I took a freaking sushi class and they didn't mention this....
posted by miyabo at 9:04 PM on May 21 [2 favorites]


I'm surprised at the number of salmon lovers. Its not traditionally a highly esteemed fish to eat raw

Guess I am strange then, as I only like salmon raw. Cooked salmon is tolerable, smoked salmon is horrible. But raw? Not at the top of my sushi list, but very good.

The scarcity or competition thing is weird to me too, I'm used to everyone ordering their own, not a giant pile of fish in the middle like the cornucopia from the Hunger Games. (Although I could see that as an amusing anime episode....)
posted by wildcrdj at 9:35 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


All food is calories. Aside from avoiding obviously bad for you stuff, my eating strategy is to eat and drink stuff I LIKE. If I don't like it and it contributed to me having a weight issue, that's what I call a 'Lose Lose'.
I only eat or drink stuff I don't like if it's a survival situation.
Maybe other women aren't going to be as blunt about it as I am, but it probably is part of the motivation for more women being 'favorites first'
That and what if they run out of your favorite? That would suck!
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 9:38 PM on May 21


At the place in Little Tokyo, I usually end up down the conveyer belt from the Japanese family. So I eat...some wasabi. Maybe some ginger. If I'm lucky. Damn it.
posted by happyroach at 9:38 PM on May 21


Guess I am strange then, as I only like salmon raw. Cooked salmon is tolerable, smoked salmon is horrible. But raw? Not at the top of my sushi list, but very good.

If you eat salmon truly raw, you'd get really sick or really dead. Salmon has to be frozen to kill certain bacteria that most fish don't have. So yes raw as in not cooked, but all raw salmon has been frozen and rethawed.
posted by zardoz at 9:50 PM on May 21 [1 favorite]


I started reading this after I got to my last of three Subway cookies and had a pleasant 'oh hey' moment. Science!!
posted by Quilford at 10:39 PM on May 21


pink salmon tastes 95% as good as the more common silver or sockeye and costs like 1/4th as much.

As long as it is very fresh, it is delicious. But it just doesn't keep very well at all and turns into a tasteless mush very quickly. Freezing has similar effects.
posted by ssg at 11:51 PM on May 21


Well, almost everything at the fish store was frozen on the boat, right? Just defrosted before you see it to avoid the stigma of frozen fish. I wish they'd just let me buy the frozen stuff directly so I could keep it in my freezer and defrost when I need it.
posted by miyabo at 7:26 AM on May 22


let me push back on some of the criticism -- omakase is strictly out of bounds because it would irrevocably add too many variables and destroy the methodology..

No, that's not the point. There are various styles of omakase and people become accustomed to the order. There is an enormous amount of sushi lore about picking the order of pieces. That's why this paper exists.

Speaking of sushi lore, a bonus quiz. One order of sushi is called 一人前, ichinin mae. Literally it is "before one person," like a dish you would set in front of a single customer. But why is 一人前 two pieces? Sure it's customary, but how did the custom originate?
posted by charlie don't surf at 3:12 PM on May 22


I'd wager that the vast majority of sushi eaters in the us have never heard the word omakase before.
posted by empath at 3:53 PM on May 22


I'd wager that the vast majority of sushi eaters in the US have no knowledge whatsoever about sushi. So they buy inedible crap like escolar labeled as white tuna. But most knowledgeable people have heard of omakase.

Now an answer to the sushi quiz. When sushi first became popular, it was a slab of fish on an onigiri. That's a fairly big rice ball. People couldn't get it in their mouth, nor bite off a chunk of the fish without mashing it to pieces. So lots of people asked the chef to cut it in half. It became so common to ask for it cut in halves that it became customary to serve it that way.
posted by charlie don't surf at 8:14 PM on May 22 [1 favorite]


« Older Most mainstream comics have a serious problem deal...  |  So some lunatic put together a... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments