Do’s and Don’ts When Dining in a Traditional Japanese Restaurant
The Japanese culture is filled with inspiring contrasts. Within their walls, you see ostentation and austerity of character, even more so in their food culture. If you find yourself wanting to try out authentic Japanese cuisine within your city, here are some reminders for an enjoyable meal and a good first impression.
DO Remember Where to Put Your Shoes
Tradition dictates that outside shoes should remain at the door. Common sense, really, since Japanese restaurants pride themselves for spotlessness. Coupled with the handling of fresh, raw food, and you get the picture. Don’t worry, though, since you will be led to shoe storage compartments to avoid misplacing or losing them.
DON’T Be Too Chummy With Staff
Japanese culture is based on appropriateness, politeness and service. The staff will be attentive, bowing and melodious in conversation. However, it is a sign of professionalism and shouldn’t be interpreted as being overly friendly. You may get small talk from them, but don’t expect life stories.
DO Try Your Hands
While chopsticks are the fashionable thing to use in Japanese restaurants, you might want to try your hands as well. It’s permissible to use your hands when eating sushi, and it’s infinitely easier than trying to learn chopsticks on the fly. You should also use the wet towel on the table to clean your hands. Sankai.com.au, a Japanese restaurant in South Bank, says it’s meant to be used for that purpose, after all.
The more authentic the restaurant, the more likely the staff will chase you for leaving money on the table. Continued patronage and good reviews are far more appreciated. The more modern fusion Japanese restaurants of South Bank may be more forgiving, but ask them first about tipping when you make reservations.
The best way to enjoy food from another country is to be as close to its roots as possible. If you don’t have a ticket to Japan yet, you can always look for a local place that offers a taste of their cuisine. Don’t forget to say ‘Ittadakimasu’ before eating and ‘Gochisosama deshita’ afterward.