Previously, we shared some tips on how to behave correctly in Korea. Today, let’s learn the intricacies of dining in Japan, where our correspondent Ryoko Iwase tells us more about how eating out in Japan is different from dining in Japanese restaurants in Malaysia.
You can’t find sweet sauce in sushi restaurants.
“Japanese soy sauce (shoyu) doesn’t contain sugar, so you can’t find sweet soy sauce anywhere in Japan. When I first went to a Japanese restaurant in Malaysia with my college-mates, I saw that they mixed the sweet sauce with wasabi instead of using shoyu.”
Wasabi is only eaten with sashimi and raw sushi.
“In Malaysia, wasabi is eaten with everything in the menu, even tempura and rice! In Japan, we only pair it with sashimi and raw sushi.
It’s considered impolite to use a fork and spoon together in Japan.
“In Japan, we only use a fork together with a knife. I was really surprised when I came here, and saw people using a fork together with a spoon to eat rice! Maybe it’s because Malaysian rice isn’t as sticky as Japanese rice (we only use chopsticks or spoons for rice). But now, I can’t eat rice without a fork and spoon, haha!”
You have to bus your own tray at fast-food restaurants.
“At places like McDonald’s, KFC or Starbucks, you’re supposed to clean up your own table and return the trays. They don’t have any staffs that are responsible for clearing tables.”
Ajinomoto was used as a condiment after cooking.
“When I was younger, my mother used to keep soy sauce and Ajinomoto on the table. We used it like a salt, sprinkled on top of food. It’s used differently here – Malaysians use it during the process of cooking their dishes. However, we don’t really use Ajinomoto in Japan anymore.”
You can only start drinking alcohol when everyone else’s glass is already filled.
“We have to wait for everyone’s glass to be filled first. After that, we make a toast, and then we can only start drinking. It’s quite impolite to start drinking on your own when your friends’ glasses are not filled yet, haha.”
(Photos: mk-yummy.blogspot.com, brokenmindset.org, onlyhdwallpapers.com, urbanbeerhunt.com)
Ryoko is a full-time English Language and Communications student. She moved to Malaysia from Tokyo, Japan, in 2008. The one thing she likes most about Malaysia is the weather, because “it’s like summer all year round!” Her favourite types of Japanese food are ramen, sushi, hayashi rice and gyu-don, but ever since coming to Malaysia, she has also developed a liking for spicy Malaysian food and pan mee.