5 Things You Should Know About Eating Out In Japan

Food & Drink

I love going to restaurants. I love eating out, but there are some things that you need to know about best Japanese food singapore in a Japanese restaurant.

Japan is home to some of the most exciting and delicious cuisine on Earth, so it should be no surprise to learn that Japanese food culture extends far beyond the standard sushi-and-sake combo. But before we dive into all the different types of food you can get at your local eatery, let’s take a moment to discuss how exactly you order your meal.

1. The Ordering Process

If you walk into any Japanese restaurant, you’ll notice immediately that there isn’t an open kitchen right off the floor. Instead, waiters will approach one table or another, ask what they want, then bring the entire meal over. This is because the majority of Japanese restaurants are “cold.” That means there’s no direct line of sight between the kitchen and the diners; instead, chefs must work behind closed doors. As such, if you want something specific, you need to request it from the waiter.

However, this does not mean that you are limited to ordering by number. If you don’t like the way your food tastes, you can tell the chef to rework it. You might also ask for more seasoning, or change the type of sauce you prefer, or even simply request that the dish be served with bread. All of these requests are perfectly acceptable, though some people feel uncomfortable requesting changes to their orders when they have already paid for them.

2. How to Ask For Substitutions

When it comes time to pick up your plate, be sure to ask your server if you need anything else. This is especially important if you are on a diet or just want to try something new. Many times, your server will happily accommodate you, while others may decline. Remember, in Japan, it’s considered rude to point out someone’s shortcomings; therefore, it’s best to ask first. It never hurts to inquire, anyway.

3. Table Settings

In many Japanese restaurants, tables come with two sets of chopsticks. One set is meant for use with rice and noodles, while the other is for sashimi, tempura, and other foods that require more delicate handling. Be sure to give your chopsticks a good wipe before using them. Also, remember that when you grab two pieces of meat, you should cut them into bite-sized pieces, rather than trying to hold them together as one piece.

4. Sushi & Seafood

If you enjoy sushi, be prepared to pay extra for “superior grade.” This is due to the fact that many sushi restaurants only serve a certain variety of fish on a daily basis. Therefore, if you choose to go for the lesser grade, you may find yourself paying less money than you expected. However, if you do manage to score some super sashimi, you’ll likely be able to negotiate a price reduction.

For seafood, you’re also looking at paying extra cash. This is because many different kinds of seafood are available fresh every day, which means that they aren’t frozen. When you see the “freshness” symbol, this indicates that the item has been caught within the last 24 hours, and thus is fresher and more expensive.

5. Don’t Forget Your Drink Order

Drinking water and beer is free at most Japanese restaurants. However, if you want sake (or other alcoholic beverages), you’ll have to pay extra. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t drink. In fact, one of my favorite ways to enjoy Japanese food is drinking sake while enjoying an entree. It makes me feel like a real Japanese person, since most Japanese people are pretty obsessed with alcohol.

The same goes for dessert. Even though desserts are usually free, you’ll need to pay if you want ice cream, fruit, or cake. You may also be asked to pay for your coffee, too. Most Japanese coffee shops offer a range of flavored syrups that you can add to your brew. These are typically quite sweet and often contain caffeine, which can be very addictive. So be sure to ask beforehand if you want one or not. And if you’re really feeling brave, you can always opt for green tea, which is completely caffeine-free.