Turns Out, We Might’ve Been Eating Japanese Food WRONGLY!

Japanese culture is all about manners and respect, so when it comes to dining, it’s no surprise that etiquette is a big deal. In Japan, your three-year-old may get a free pass to ‘whack’ the food freely, but you most definitely won’t. To fully enjoy the local culture and the taste of the dishes, we recommend you follow our guide for eating Japanese food the correct way.

Here goes!

#1 Sushi

“Just dip in sauce only what, got so difficult meh?” Actually, yes! Some believe you should dip the rice side, while others think you should dip the topping part. But the right way to consume it is to pick it up with your chopsticks, flip it sideways, and then dip it in the soy sauce. If you want to use your hands, hold the sushi between your thumb and two index fingers. Another thing: Don’t drink your miso soup before eating the sushi. Always drink it after.

Additionally, sushi manners is more than just how you eat the food. It’s also about being considerate to others. It’s good practice not to wear strong perfume when visiting a fancy sushi restaurant because it’s said to affect the taste of the sushi.

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#2 Sashimi

For this, it’s quite straightforward. Use your chopsticks to lift it off the side plate and dip into the sauce. You should never lift the sauce plate off the table, and you should never pour the sauce over the fish slices.

#3 Tempura

The deep-fried vegetables and seafood usually come served with quite a few things: Just salt, or a dipping sauce with grated daikon radish and ginger. If you were always just winging it and eating everything separately, that’s incorrect.

You should mix the daikon and ginger into the dipping sauce (ten-tsuyu), and then dip your tempura in it. If it only comes served with a dish of salt, then you don’t have much to do: Just dip and enjoy.

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#4 Japanese Noodles

While it’s typically rude to eat noisily, the Japanese chefs love to hear that their noodles are being slurped up! It’s the best way to enjoy your noodles and compliment the chef at the same time.

For cold noodles, many make the mistake of pouring the sauce into their bowl of noodles. You should instead dip the noodles in the sauce, and then slurp it up. The sauce usually comes with daikon and wasabi too.

#5 Shabu-shabu

Hotpot is hot favourite among Singaporeans, especially for those visiting in the colder months. Shabu-shabu is a hotpot-style dish where you cook the meat and vegetable ingredients in a personal pot of soup. It’s usually kelp soup, called konbu dashi.

The table will be set with a pair of long chopsticks (for cooking the food) and a sieve-spoon for scooping out the oil as and when you need to. First cook the raw ingredients by dipping them in the soup. Then, dip it in either ponzu or sesame sauce, and eat.

Usually, the locals do not drink the soup after cooking the meat and vegetables.

#6 Rice

We’re no strangers to rice, but it seems that the Japanese have quite a specific way of enjoying their rice. For instance, you should not pour sauce or soup all over your rice. You should consume it on its own. When eating, you should hold the bowl with one hand, and use chopsticks to pick up rice with the other.


Although Instagram-ing your food is incredibly trendy, it’s polite to refrain from using your phone excessively during the meal. So snap a quick pic or two if you must, but try not to be glued to your phone the whole time.

Bon Apetit!

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