Jun, I’m only cooking

Many visitors to Japan find themselves impressed by the general high standard of most restaurants. This is largely due to the consistently high attention to detail, excellent sourcing of ingredients and huge abundance of dishes. In fact, Tokyo alone has more Michelin starred restaurants than London, Paris and Los Angeles combined.

Despite all this many chefs remain excruciatingly modest.

So it’s little surprise that many Japanese dishes have become popular all over the world. However, some people may still feel that Japanese cooking is a little confusing or mysterious. This doesn’t have to be the case. The truth is that with a little explanation anyone can understand its manifold secrets. So that’s why I’ve written my a little guide to help you understand the various complicated steps involved in eating a typical Japanese meal. The pictures come from a fantastic Tokyo restaurant I visited just last week.

As is common in Japan, the dishes on offer are on display outside.

Enticing you inside…

Once you’ve made your choice a highly-trained chef will pour boiling water into the polystyrene container in a highly ritualised and ceremonious manner which, if carried out improperly,  can result in death or some spilled water. Then comes the traditional five minute wait.

It’s considered polite to keep the five minute egg timer to the left of the tray

Many people pass the time by admiring the fine craftsmanship evident in the plastic chopsticks or perhaps the fox placemat thingy. Once it’s ready the diner can can peel off the top and enjoy what’s inside.

Words can only go so far

It was so transcendent I had seconds. This particular dish is normally only found in Hokkaido, making it something of a regional delicacy.

Luckily the ingredients had lost none of their original freshness.

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