There are a couple of scenarios where someone might find themselves in a situation where they will need to order a meal in a Japanese restaurant. The first, and the most obvious, if they find themselves in Japan either in business or for pleasure and need to eat something. The other scenario is if they simply prefer Japanese food and find a local restaurant in which to eat.
Either experience can be an adventure, simply because Japanese food is an acquired taste and those who are unaware on how to order the right meal at a Japanese restaurant may come away feeling that they have missed out on something.
Obviously if you have knowledge of Japanese food and even eaten some in the past then the whole procedure will be a lot easier. However, if you’re new to it altogether, then you’d be well advised to do some homework before plunging in at the deep end.
Japanese restaurants, whether they are local or international, are well aware that most of the clients will not speak Japanese and therefore make use of visual aids to help those dining with them to understand exactly what they are ordering. If you have chosen a restaurant before you leave home or it has you recommend to you, it’s always a good idea to find out if they have a website. If you succeed in finding one, and it is in English, then you’re dining experience has a very good chance of being successful. It is common practice for the Japanese to provide pictures of the main courses that they serve, along with full list of ingredients and on how the meal will be prepared. That way there will be no surprises.
If an online option does not exist then there’s a fair chance that the restaurant will provide a menu with the same explanations and photographs. There are even are a number of cases, were Japanese restaurants will provide accurate plastic or wax replicas of the dishes they are serving in the foyer of the restaurant.
If you plan to, eat a Japanese meal at a local restaurant then there is a fair chance that the waiters will speak English and communication problems will be at a minimum. If in Japan the chances, while not being exactly high, are not impossible.
In either case, you will always find that the waiters and waitresses, apart from being very well trained, are always, polite and attentive, and will make every effort to ensure that you know exactly what you’re ordering. Not only that, but if the dish is not up to your expectations, they will readily exchange it.
When any barriers or problems have been overcome, dining in a Japanese restaurant can be a tremendous cultural experience, beginning with taking off your shoes, sitting at the traditional low tables, getting to know how to eat with wooden chopsticks are all part of the experience.
If you are eating out with friends in a Japanese restaurant, it is very common practice for everyone in the party to order their own meal, with each member of the party sharing the various dishes.
Japanese food has become very popular throughout the world. While it is an acquired taste for many, those who get to know and love it will always come back for more.
Andrew loves Japanese food and enjoy blogging about it. Over the last 4 years, Andrew has been distributing the sushi rice cooker and has had the chance to travel to Japan on numerous occasions.