April 17, I attended an event to learn about sake and table manners for Japanese cuisine held at "Nagaya Cafe Satowa" in Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo.
I learned many things there and I wanted to review the lessons by summarizing them in my blog. This is the last installment of the "Manners for Drinking Sake and Eating Japanese Cuisine" series. (Read the first installment or second installment.)
Grilled fish is served on a plate, on which it is placed with its head on your left side and tail on your right and its belly on your side. Pin the head of the fish to the plate with your left hand and eat the fish with the chopsticks. Begin eating from the part on the back from left to right (head side to tail side), and then the part on the belly side from left to right. When pinning the head, you can use kaishi (pocket paper) so that your hand does not become dirty. When you have eaten the upper side of the fish, remove the backbone of the fish with the chopsticks. Be sure not to turn over the fish to eat the other side of it.
When eating foods such as boiled, vinegared, or fried foods arranged on a plate, start from the side closer to you so that you will not destroy the neat arrangement of the foods.
When eating skewered foods, remove the foods from the skew with chopsticks before eating them. Do not eat the foods directly from the skewer.
Boiled foods are usually served with broth in a serving dish. You may bring the serving dish to your mouth and drink the broth directly.
When rice, miso soup, and pickled vegetables are served, it is time to stop drinking sake.
I learned something about kaishi (pocket paper) in this event. Now, I know there are many ways of using pocket paper. The following are use examples of pocket paper:
1. To wipe your hands or mouth
2. To pin the fish to plate when eating it
3. When bringing food to your mouth with chopsticks, hold pocket paper beneath the food so as not to drop any drips or bits from the food.
4. To cover fish bones or any food particles left on your plate
5. To spit out a pit or something in pocket paper
As I wrote above, I summarized what I leaned in the "Manners for Drinking Sake and Eating Japanese Cuisine" workshop over three installments. I hope you become interested in table manners of Japanese cuisine through these articles.
Suzushizake (Ozawa Syuzou Co., Ltd.)
This junmai namachozoshu is a bit low in alcohol and its acidity is really refreshing. The characteristic junmai flavor of this sake is quite nice. I believe it will be a breath of fresh air in the coming summer season.