When it comes to making sushi, you obviously need some good fish, unless you’re happy with kappamaki and cucumber, we suppose. But there’s one other ingredient that you’re not going to want to forget: Rice!

If you prefer to stick with rolls, getting the rice just right isn’t quite so important, but when it comes to nigiri-zushi, or hand-pressed sushi, it’s essential. Since there’s no seaweed there to hold everything together, it’s easy for your tasty dish to literally fall apart on your plate. If you’re looking for some good chopstick practice, you could try picking up the individual rice one by one, but for the rest of us, there’s a new tool on the market to help perfect your rice shaping: The “Hayawaza! Nigirizushi Tongu”!


Now, before we get into what makes this device so helpful, a quick note about the name, or rather the pun in its name. In Japanese, a gu (具) is a tool, and the word for tongs (as in salad tongs) is “tongu.” We think you’ve figured this out already, but the company has combined tongu (トング) with gu (具) to get: Tongu!


Well, we thought it was funny…

Anyway, what’s so great about these 2,000 yen (about US$20) tongs? Very simply, they make the process of preparing shari–vinegared rice–for nigiri-zushi much easier by allowing greater precision and automation. The tongs actually have three arms–instead of the pitiful two of most tongs–which are used to gently squeeze the sides and top of your shari. The tongs allow hungry nigiri-zushi makers to quickly and efficiently prepare their shari so they can get to the eating faster.

But here’s the million dollar…er, $20 question: Do they work??


According to one review, by Kaden Watch, a Japanese household appliances news site, the answer is a very loud and happy yes. The reviewer found that using the tongs allowed for making fluffier shari than using regular plastic molds. The writer said that while the shari made with a mold was somewhat hard, the Nigirizushi Tongu shari was almost as good as eating at a sushi restaurant!


But how about in terms of time? With a mold, you can prepare five shari at once. With the tongs, you can only make one. However, it turns out that making shari with the tongs was slightly faster. The writer said that using the tongs sped things up by…one-half of a second!

Okay, maybe that’s not really a big improvement, but it does get rid of any reservations we have about the tongs.


While the tongs are definitely not cheap–we never thought we’d spend $20 on a utensil that didn’t at least wash itself–they definitely do have quite a bit of value. Especially if you’re as bad as preparing sushi as I am; somehow my fish always ends up cooked…

To get a better idea of how the tongs work, check out this video from Arnest, the manufacturer.

If you’re ready to slap down your credit card and pick up some tongs, you can order your own Nigirizushi Tongu on Amazon Japan or Amazon USA. Please do note that the tongs are slightly more expensive on the US site (about $22) than on the Japanese site (about 1,700 yen or $17), probably due to import costs.

If you do happen to pick up some Nigirizushi Tongus, let us know how they work for you! And, um, maybe send us a few samples as well. Or, heck, we’ll even let you come over and prepare a whole feast for us!

Sources: Kaden Watch, Arnest, YouTube, Amazon Japan
Images: YouTube