The Japanese treat eating a little differently than the people of the Western world. For them, eating is a real ritual that should not only eliminate hunger, but also leave a pleasant aesthetic impression.
In Japan, food must be fresh and of high quality, and table setting must be harmonious in appearance. In addition, there are special rules of etiquette.
Of course, a foreigner does not need to know the subtleties of behavior during a Japanese feast, but to know its main points will not prevent any fan of the cuisine of this country.
In Japan, it’s customary to bow at a meeting. This rule, of course, applies to restaurants and sushi bars. It’s no problem if you don’t know how to do it properly – you can just nod back.
During bowing (and in general during communication) Japanese try not to look into the eyes. Do not be surprised if you have to take off your clothes at the entrance. In traditional Japanese restaurants, guests are sometimes placed at a low table on tatami. Japanese people sit in the seijza pose (with their heels straightened back), but sometimes men are allowed to sit in the Agura pose (with their legs crossed in front of them).
Of course, it will be difficult for a European to sit in this position for a long time, so you can just sit comfortably. By the way, in modern Japanese restaurants there are more and more usual for us tables and chairs.
The order of the meal
Before the meal, the Japanese say something like our “good appetite”, expressing gratitude for the food. Guests are often provided with wet towels to clean their hands before and during meals. Although tradition dictates that meals should be served at the same time, it is a departure from this rule in catering establishments.
Then they are served in the following order: rice, sashimi, soup, sushi or rolls, dishes with bright flavour. The portions are small, but the Japanese do not appreciate the quantity of dishes, but their variety. It is customary to drink beer or sake while eating, but no one pours alcohol on their own.
In Japan, some of our etiquette rules do not apply, as it is customary to finish everything to the last crumb, bread loudly or munch – this is considered the highest praise for the cook.
How do you eat with chopsticks?
As in all Eastern countries, in Japan they eat with sticks. They’re called “hashi” and are made from different materials. It may be difficult for some of us to learn how to hold the chopsticks properly. However, that’s not even all, there are a number of rules about how to eat sticks:
- Before you direct the chopsticks towards the plate, you should decide which piece of food you are going to take. The Japanese think it is wrong to aimlessly pick food with chopsticks and draw something on a plate with them.
- You should eat all the pieces, not bite them. So if you realize that the piece is too big, you better split it with sticks on your plate.
- Do not insert chopsticks into the food and do not poke it. This food behavior will surprise and even outrage the Japanese.
- Waving chopsticks or using them to point at someone is also unacceptable.
- Do not lick chopsticks or use them to tamper with food in your mouth.
- Also, do not use chopsticks to slip the plate closer to you.
- Do not hold sticks in your hand, as this can take an aggressive gesture.
- It is not advisable to place the sticks across the bowl.
- If you want to attract someone’s attention, do not knock your sticks on the dishes – it is considered obscene.
It is worth noting that, according to tradition, some dishes Japanese can eat with their hands. This, for example, applies to sushi. This exclusive right has been granted only to men, so now in mixed companies, as a rule, everyone eats with sticks.
Soup, strange as it may seem, is eaten with sticks, but beforehand they drink the broth. All dishes that are served in the bowl, it is accepted to eat by lifting a plate to the chest, and bending over the table is considered very rude. Noodles are usually very long, so they are taken from the plate, brought to the mouth and drawn in.
Sushi and rolls are no longer considered unusual or exotic in our country, so they are ordered both for lunch at the office and for dinner at home. The Sushi Room menu offers a huge selection of sushi and rolls, and you can also enjoy traditional miso soups.
So if you don’t have the time or desire to go to a Japanese restaurant, ordering from Sushi Room is the perfect way to enjoy Japanese dishes.