February 14, 2019

10 interesting Japanese food facts

Even though the cooking process of Japanese food recipes looks easy from the outside, it takes many years of training, especially if you would like to be a sushi chef.

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They are trained to use simple techniques in order to highlight the colours and ingredients of the food. Other than this interesting fact, tipping after having a meal should be considered as not tipping since it seems rude in Japanese food culture. So it is not recommended and should be avoided. Here are some other information with interesting and fun facts;

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1. Consuming rice

Believe it or not, Japanese people may consume rice more than once a day! It is very common to be consumed at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

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2. Using chopsticks

When having a meal, you should not stick your chopsticks into your food. You may use the chopstick rest or leave them horizontally on a bowl, not vertically. Do not lick them! If there is food stuck on your chopstick, do not put it in your mouth. Instead, you should wipe it with a napkin.

Must-know don’ts:

  • Do not point someone or any food on the table with your chopsticks

  • Do not play with your chopsticks as they are utensils for eating.

  • Do not stab any food to your chopsticks.

  • Do not pass food with your chopsticks. If so, it is believed that the food is ruined.

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3. Dishware

While most of the world would like to use matching dishware when serving or having meals, Japanese cook and people prefer them to match with what they are eating. They use the ones with colourful patterns and different shapes which also states the season.

4. Raising the food

You should never raise your food above your mouth. The mouth should be the highest point reached by chopsticks.

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5. Slurping noodles

If you are having noodles in a Japanese restaurant, you should slurp to the end! Unlike most people had been taught, Japanese people say that if noodles are slurped while eating, it automatically improves the flavour of noodles. Making sounds like burping is not good while having a meal but slurping is definitely a good thing in Japanese food etiquette. It shows that you are enjoying the meal!

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6. Soy sauce and other sauces

Instead of pouring the sauce over the food, a small amount should be placed in a small bowl, and the food should be dipped into it. Also, do not forget finishing the sauce when you are done with your meal. Leaving sauce behind is not considered as good.

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7. Soups

When having a bowl of soup or especially ramen, first the ingredients should be eaten by chopsticks. After that, you should hold the bowl with your hands and drink the clear soup like drinking a tea.

8. If you fall the food…

Never catch it! Just leave it and let it fall. Catching the food with hands is considered as bad manners.

9. Paying for your food in a Japanese restaurant

After finishing your meal, you should place the money on a small tray rather than giving it to the server. If there is no tray for that, the money should be held with both hands when giving or receiving.

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10. If you are invited…

If you are invited to a house or to a restaurant by someone, a gift should be given. Also, giving any gift in sets of four or nine should be avoided because these two numbers sound familiar to the words of death and suffering.

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What about Japanese table manners?

If you don’t want to be misunderstood, you should consider learning at least some and pay attention during a meal. For example, if you are going to have a meal on the tatami floor (Japanese low tables) you should remove your shoes before stepping on. Also, you should not step on anywhere but your cushion.

Before starting the meal, hands (only) should be cleaned by a wet towel and the word itadakimasu (I gratefully receive) should be uttered. When eating, small bowls should be taken by hand, in order to keep it close to yourself. But if a dish is being shared, the opposite side of chopsticks should be used in order to move or take the food. If there are ingredients that you do not like or cannot eat, you may want to replace them beforehand since leaving food is not a good thing in Japanese food culture. After finishing the meal, it is important to leave everything the way you found like leaving the chopstick on its rest and saying gochisōsama deshita (thank you for the feast).

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If you would like to read more about Japanese cuisine, please click here.