How can We eat Japanese Grilled Fish Gracefully?
Grilled fish: it’s not a wild thing!
Although Japanese love meat－actually people are quite inclined to meat than fish－Japanese traditional food culture is invariably based on fish. As simplicity is always the main idea of Japanese culture, fish as well is to be prepared simply; grilled, poached or steamed using simple seasonings－hardly fried, thus Japanese food is considered healthy. When you hear of “grilled fish” you should not imagine the wild stuff. It is served neatly cut or arranged to deserve the main course. As you know the Japanese are the “chopstick people”, it is always eaten with chopsticks. I assure that no one will ever think of eating it with knife and fork as far as it’s served in Japanese style.
There is an established manner in handling the grilled fish on your plate.
It defines how to place a fish on a plate as well as how to actually proceed with your eating. For example, the fish, when it is served as a whole, must be placed pointing its head to your left – there’s no exception in this rule and you can’t rotate it for your convenience! If you like to watch how a fish should be eaten, you can find some videos on YouTube!
It comes in two styles.
Grilled fish comes in two types; fillet and whole fish. Most of the cases, the bones are removed in advance for a fillet thus no much struggle is required. While for a whole fish, you really need be able to operate the two sticks very skillfully. But either way, there is an “official” steps to follow that will guide you to eat successfully and neatly – so don’t worry, you can learn.
Here are some tips to handle the most popular salmon fillet:
A grilled salmon fillet is the most typical and easiest piece to start with. Here is a brief description how to eat them properly within the range of your plate.
Salmon fillet usually comes with a strip of the skin un-removed and some pin bones. So pick the tip of the skin with your chopsticks and peel it; it shall not be a big deal. Some people like to eat it for it’s grilled to crispness. Some people leave it behind on the plate－it’s totally up to your preference. (I don’t eat the skin)
Grilled fish filet easily flakes that enables you to separate the meat apart without any troubles.
If you find pin bone, pick the tip of it with the chopsticks and pull it out one by one. If you have detected the bones in your mouth, let your tongue deliver it to the tip of your mouth and let your chopsticks receive it, not with your fingers. It is noteworthy that you shouldn’t mess up the section of the bones as it is anatomically placed in order. By doing so, you will only need to work in line, not to do a search.
The bottom line of the manner is to make sure that your plate remains neat at the end of the meal.
Don’t scatter the removed skin and bones, or any inedible parts, and pieces of the fish meat but purposely collect them at the corner of your plate; hopefully, cover the remains with the removed skin, if you didn’t eat it, instead of letting the bones that came out from your mouth to be apparent. It’s also nice to wrap them with a paper napkin. After all, neatness is that matters.
How well you can treat the grilled fish reveals how well you were raised!
Japanese are taught to eat tidily; not leaving anything on one’s plate. This spirit has come from the idea of “Mottainai” which was introduced to the world by the Kenyan Nobel Prize laureate Ms. Wangari Maathai in mid-2000s.
Mottainai is the traditional concept embraced by Japanese over the centuries that appreciates simple and plain quality and being, highly averse to waste. This idea can be seen in every corner of Japanese living and culture; to eat clean is one of them.
Actually, many Japanese leave their plate with no mess after eating and it quite often amazes people from other culture. The person who can eat neatly is considered “well mannered” and gives a hint of a good family background.
Yet in Japan, not everyone can do it perfectly but the concept is widely shared so that the one who does it will be admired even among Japanese! In this meaning, Saber and Lancer have good table manners.
However, it must be interesting to know that this manner makes a clear contrast to some other cultures whose value is to consider eating completely as vulgar and ill-mannered as it suggests that “the food isn’t enough!”.
Variations and accompaniments
Salted grilled fish is the most popular and simplest recipe but there are a lot of variations. Miso or soy sauce marinated version is also very common. You can have it in Teriyaki style too. A difference of the cut creates the difference of the taste. Shiro Emiya who is a really good cook surely should know them.
©TAa・KADOKAWA・TYPE-MOON / 「衛宮さんちの今日のごはん」製作委員会
The accompaniment such as grated Daikon radish, pickled ginger, and fresh Shiso basil leaves will enhance the taste and embellish the look. If you are looking for new fish recipes, try Japanese. It’s simple and healthy!