These days, Westernization has begun to eat away at time-honored dining customs. Here are some food practices that can bring back an authentic Japanese flair.
Today’s Japanese families start using Americanized tables. However, there are still many traditionalists who sit on cushions at low tables like their ancestors before them. Chabudai tables, typically round and about 12 inches high, are usually found in classic tatami rooms.
If you find yourself dining with a Japanese family, you have to be sure to honor their food customs. Do not point with your chopsticks; be sure to lift your bowl to eat noodles or drink your miso and leave no grain of rice behind.
When dining in a traditional tatami room, sitting upright on the floor is common. In a casual setting, men usually sit with their feet crossed, and women sit with both legs to one side. Only men are supposed to sit cross-legged. The formal way of sitting for both sexes is a kneeling style known as seiza. To sit in a seiza position, one kneels on the floor with legs folded under the thighs and the buttocks resting on the heels.
When dining out in a restaurant, the customers are guided to their seats by the host. The honored or eldest guest will usually be seated at the center of the table farthest from the entrance. In the home, the most critical guest is also seated most now away from the gate. If there is a tokonoma, or cubicle, in the room, the guest is sitting in front of it. The host sits next to or closest to the entrance
Try Traditional Cuisine
Because of the history of the country, traditional Japanese food consisted of less meat and simple dishes. To replicate this experience, serve a bowl of soup, a small bowl of rice, and two bowls of vegetables. This style of dining is called ichiju-sansai.
It isn’t hard to go back to the roots of Japanese dining traditions if you are open to trying something a little new.
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