Singapore Japanese Restaurants

The Japanese Food Etiquette

Japan is a country rich with a history of honor, hierarchy and etiquette. In fact, they give so much emphasis to these values that they include when partaking their gourmet food.

Japanese have their own gourmet food such as sushi, sashimi and nikogori. But there is so much more to just putting chunks of these delicious and exotic gourmet food in your mouth. To truly experience the Japanese culture that is so predominant in preparing and partaking in their cuisine, you must also practice their unique table etiquette.

First and foremost, be sure to say ”itadakimasu” before starting a meal. This means, “I shall receive” in English. After the meal, say “gochisosama deshita” which means “That was a feast” in English. Saying this to your host or the restaurant staff shows that you appreciate the gourmet food they prepared for you.

Take note that before eating, Japanese restaurants or homes will put a hot towel or a plastic wrapped wet napkin on the table. You should use this to clean your hands before eating. Never wipe the towel or napkin on your face or any other part of the body. It is considered rude if you do that.

To eat the rice or soup that is provided, take the bowl with your left hand and use the chopsticks with your right. Although it is okay to sip soup or noodles directly from the bowl, do not do it with rice. Also, do not pour the soy sauce on your food. Instead, dip a morsel in the sauce dish.

It is okay for noodles to be slurped. It shows the host that you enjoy his or her cooking.

Also, in eating rice, you should not leave the chopsticks sticking vertically into the rice. Doing so is a ritual that is offered to the dead. Chopsticks cannot be used to spear food, to point to someone else, or to transfer food to someone else’s chopsticks.  Doing so is rude and is discouraged.

When getting a morsel from gourmet food that is shared by everybody, turn the chopsticks around to pick up the food because it is considered cleaner. If you want to share your food to someone else, pick up your plate or bowl and move it directly to the person’s bowl or plate.

Lastly, make sure you finish your meal to the last grain. Also, do not ask for special gourmet food aside from the ones the host has served. It is considered rude to ask for something else, especially in a business environment. Good manners will show that you respect your host’s selection.

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