15 Japanese Food Etiquette Rules
How to Use Chopsticks
There are many Japanese etiquette rules about how to use chopsticks. First and foremost, they must be held correctly.
Secondly, when you have finished your meal, chopsticks should be rested on a “hashioki” – a chopstick stand. This is because chopsticks left at the side of your dish indicate to the chef that you are still hungry. Chopstick placement can also infer death if you leave your utensils sticking upwards from your food, or if you place them crossed over one another.
Chopsticks are never to be pointed at anyone or the tables sharing dishes, and above all are never used to pass food from chopsticks to chopsticks between people.
The most important person at the meal must sit in the seat of honour. This tends to be farthest from the entrance to the room – something to bear in mind if you are having a business meal. If you are inviting guests, as well as being furthest from the door, they should be facing it, whereas the host should be sat opposite the guest, facing away from the door.
Learn Your Lingo
In many cultures, there are certain phrases which signify the beginning of a meal: For example, in Italian culture, “Buon Appetito” means “Enjoy your meal”. In Japanese etiquette, “Itadakimasu” means “I humbly receive”.
A relatively unknown etiquette rule in Japanese food revolves around Soy Sauce.
Soy Sauce should never be poured directly onto your dish, but rather poured into a provided shallow dish, into which you dip the food. On completion of your meal, the dish should be near enough empty as to not waste any of the sauce.
Whether you opt for miso or noodle soup, the etiquette rules are the same.
Rather than struggle with scooping the liquid out, don’t be afraid to pick up the bowl and drink the soup like you would out of a cup. This is not seen as rude in Japanese culture, but more flattering as you are showing that you are enjoying your meal.
Finish Your Plate
The rule of thumb tends to be that whoever has invited you for food pays the bill. This is due to the pride and honour of the host, and payment is either made on a provided tray or secretly by the host near the end of the meal.a id=”title-9″>
Whenever pouring a drink, care should be taken to ensure that the bottle is poured forwards as pouring backwards is considered insulting.
You should aim to finish your meal when you are around 80% full; this is known as “Hara hachi bun me” (more on that here) and the table should be left in the exact state that you found it on arrival.
Contrary to popular belief, asking for wasabi in some Japanese restaurants can be seen as offensive to the chef. This is because a chef should take pride in their cooking and seasoning, so asking for extra seasonings could be upsetting. You should always try to taste a meal before you ask for seasoning.
As previously mentioned, alcoholic drinks should be served to each other – your guest shouldn’t be left waiting with an empty glass for you to pour the next drink. In addition, you should aim to keep up with the host’s intake: if they finish their glass, you should try to also.
With fish being a staple in Japanese food, scallops are often on the menu. If served with a shell, you should leave the shell in the bowl it was served in when you have finished.
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Eat at Sapporo
Where better to try out all of the above Japanese etiquette rules than at Sapporo Teppanyaki, where deliciously authentic Japanese dishes with a Western twist are prepared right before your eyes.
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Of course, we don’t expect you to keep all of these etiquette rules when dining with us – the most important thing is that you have fun! Although, if you want to try your hand at some traditional Japanese dining etiquette, give it a go at our sushi bar Liverpool or sushi bar Manchester