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Editor’s Notes

Hello, this is Pocket Concierge editing team.
Japanese cuisine, “washoku” has been registered as a Intangible Cultural Heritage of UNESCO and is gaining global attention.
Did you know that the exactly location for placing the rice, soup, main dish, and side dishes are specified in washoku?
Today, we are going to show you the reason behind this.

Contents

1. 1 Soup 3 Dishes Is the Golden Rule for Washoku

2. What about Left Handed People?

3. Summary

1. 1 Soup 3 Dishes Is the Golden Rule for Washoku

The basic serving method for washoku is “ichijyu san sai,” which literally means “one soup three dishes.”
In addition to the main staple, rice, the one soup three dishes meal consists of the following:
・Soup (Miso soup, osuimono)
・Main dish (Example: sashimi, grilled dishes, fried dishes, steamed dishes, simmered
・Side dishes (Example: simmer dishes, steamed dishes, dressed dishes, grilled dishes)
・Extra side dishes (Example: Sesame dressed dishes and dishes dipped in bonito flavored sauce)

Yamatoya Shinsaibashi Branch | Pocket Concierge

Generally, when serving washoku, the rice bowl should be on the left, the soup bowl on the right, the main dish on the upper right, the side dish on the upper left, and the extra side dish should be placed in the middle.
Pickles that do not count as part of the one soup three dishes rule is usually place between the rice bowl and the soup bowl.
There are different theories about the origin. One theory is that the philosophy that believes the left side is more respectable. This was brought by the ambassadors from China during the Asuka Period.
There is a Chinese proverb that says, “The Emperor in the North Star and faces the south.” From the Emperor that faces south, the sun rises from the east (left) and sets in the west (right). This is why the left was considered to be a higher position. This belief is reflected in washoku, so the rice that has been eaten since ancient times is on the left and the soup is placed on the right.
Another reason is that since there are a lot of people who hold chopsticks with their right hand, the rice bowl that is easier to hold with their left hand is placed on the left. This is also proven from the fact that the main dish is placed on the upper right, with is easy to reach with chopsticks.
This “left is superior” belief that came from China uniquely evolved with Japan’s food culture and became the basic service method for washoku.

2. What about Left Handed People?


Japanese Cuisine Tagetsu | Pocket Concierge

The serving method for washoku does not change for left handed people. Only the direction of the chopsticks are different. Only when people serve food to ancestor alters the position will change, so be sure to not mistake the position when you are at an important business meeting.
Washoku has various serving rules, but one thing you should note is how to handle the plates and bowls.
In the rule of one soup three dishes, you can hold rice bowls, soup bowls, and small plates to about your chest and eat the food in it.
However, do not do this for middle or large-sized plates with the main dish as this will go against proper manners.

3. Summary

How was this article? We may not pay a lot of attention to how washoku is serviced, but there are a lot of intriguing facts behind the cuisine.
Washoku reflects the heart of the Japanese people. Next time you go to a Japanese restaurant, try paying attention to the position of the plates and bowls and the chopsticks rest.

TRUNK(KITCHEN) | Pocket Concierge

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