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Top Tips For Eating Japanese Foods

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A recent article by The Independent highlighted a few mistakes that people in Britain commonly make when it comes to eating Japanese food that could be inhibiting our experiences. Having only in the last few years’ truly embraced Japanese cuisine as our adventurous taste buds grew; it’s little surprise that some of us are a little unsure of the way in which certain dishes should be eaten. But don’t worry! We’ve got a handy little guide here to help you out with a few of your favourite Japanese dishes:

1. Chopsticks

Hold the upper chopstick with your index finger, middle finger and thumb, then place the second chopstick between the bottom of your thumb and the tip of your ring finger. You should only move the upper chopstick to pick up your food. The more use you get of using chopsticks, the better your skills will be. You should never stab a chopstick into a piece of food (this is considered to be very rude), and should never place your chopsticks vertically into a bowl of rice.

2. Soy Sauce

Soy sauce is a key ingredient in many Japanese dishes, particularly when paired with sushi rolls. However, it is common for many of us to use too much soy and to overpower the other flavours hidden within the dish. Due to the sticky nature of sushi rice, it can absorb soy sauce incredibly quickly, leaving a very salty taste that masks the core flavours. Therefore you shouldn’t soak your sushi in soy; instead, use it sparingly, and when possible, dip only the fish into the soy and not the rice.

3. Matcha Tea

Matcha tea is something that has greatly grown in popularity in the UK over the past few years, and has popped up in many recipes, from cakes to noodles, alongside its traditional tea uses. However, a little-known secret is that you should never use boiling water on your matcha green tea, as doing so can create a bitter and often unpleasant taste. If you’ve tried matcha green tea before and found it to be quite bitter, it might be worth having another go, as it is likely that the boiling water altered the taste. Browse our range of oriental teas and herbal teas to discover the best matcha for you!

4. Sushi

There are a few things that you might not know about sushi, the first being that ‘sushi’ is actually the rice with vinegar, rather than a finished roll. Each type of roll has its own name, all of which will include sushi (the rice). Another point to make on sushi is that it should actually be served luke-warm, paired with cold fish. This is said to enhance the flavours of the fish and create an overall more enjoyable experience.

5. Ginger

You may have often observed in restaurants that ginger is readily available with your Japanese meal. However, what you might not have known is that the ginger is traditionally meant as a palate cleanser between dishes, as opposed to garnishing a dish. It is common for people to pile up ginger on top of their sushi rolls and other dishes, which can mask the delicate flavours already within the dish.

6. Miso Soup

You should always sip miso soup from the bowl, rather than using a spoon. The bowls that miso is served in are specifically created to be the perfect size to sip the soup from. This will save on washing up, as well as giving you a more authentic, enjoyable experience as the aromas tickle all your senses from the close proximity of the bowl of broth!

7. Sake

Sake is a traditional Japanese alcoholic drink, which is made from fermented rice. It is commonly enjoyed at social occasions, however, should never be poured by the one who will drink it. This means that if you see someone else’s empty glass, you should re-fill theirs and hope that they return the favour. It is said to make a situation more social, more special, and, of course, more traditional. It is also important to note that some sake should be enjoyed cold, while others benefit from being heated slightly.

We hope that this will help you have the best time during your Japanese dining experiences. Maybe it will encourage you to hold your own dinner party and share your tips; we’d love to hear from you if so!

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