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5 Things to Remember When Serving Japanese Food

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Japanese cuisine is renowned for being nutritious, flavourful and beautifully presented. While there are many traditions and tips that help shape how a dish is put together, we take a look at five important things to remember when serving up Japanese food.


  1. Cookware is as Important as the Food

    While, of course, the taste of each dish matters greatly, the aesthetics of a dish and the way it is served should also be taken into consideration. Japanese chefs value attention to detail and consider the design of each dish to be almost as important as the food itself. A lot of thought is given to how the meal will be served up, for example, a plate depicting a certain location could be used to reveal where the ingredients have been sourced from. Alternatively, a colourful plate could be used to enhance vibrant hues in certain dishes or to liven up foods that are plainer.


  1. Colour is a Must in Each Dish

    Not so much about making a dish look more vibrant, and more about the culture of Japan, each meal should contain five colours in order to be considered balanced. The five colours that need to be used in a dish, as per tradition, are red, green, yellow, black and white. When you see all of these colours within a plate of food, you can rest assured that the meal is well balanced and nutritious. The number five plays a significant role in other areas of Japanese cookery too, including five recognised flavours, five senses, five main cooking methods and the five attitudes of the Buddhist faith.

  1. Japanese Food is Made to Be Easy to Eat

    Everything that goes into making, dishing up and serving a meal is intentional in Japanese cooking. When cooking and serving Japanese cuisine, chefs may take a few extra steps to ensure that the meal is as enjoyable as possible. For one, cuts are added into meat to help break up any fatty parts that would make chewing a little harder, so that each mouthful can be easily and quickly consumed. With fish, extra care is taken in removing even the smallest of bones and, unless it adds extra flavour, the skin will be removed before it is served.

  1. Garnish Isn’t Just Decoration

    While many people may ignore a garnish that adorns your plate, thinking of it as merely a decorative part of the dish, in Japan, the garnish is often an important part of the meal. As well as adding a nice touch visually, some garnishes will actually add some intense flavours to the dish and will have been added to the plate intentionally as part of the overall meal experience. Alternatively, a garnish may be added as a palate cleanser to be sampled at the end of each bite or plateful, allowing you to experience and enjoy the full flavours of the dish unblemished by what you ate previously.

  2. Eating in Season is Best

    Freshness is very important in Japanese cuisine, especially when dealing with raw fish and meats for sushi and sashimi dishes. This attitude towards fresh fish also extends onto other ingredients, meaning that eating seasonally is an important aspect of Japanese cooking. As well as meaning that foods are fresher, eating seasonally means that many ingredients will be locally sourced, allowing you to experience the best flavours and support local producers.


Whether you’re serving sushi or ramen, getting these five things right is very important for properly dishing up Japanese cuisine. If you are in need of some traditional Japanese tableware to help ensure your meals are correctly displayed, then be sure to check out the range available online at Oriental Mart.

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