The Order in Which to Properly Eat Food, Inspired by Kaiseki-Ryori

Better mindfulness will bring better health

Kaki Okumura
5 min readOct 22, 2020

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I was with my parents, and we were at a Japanese restaurant somewhere in Tokyo. A rather small and humble place, with only a small sign out front that you’d probably miss had you not been looking for it. But once you stepped inside, you were welcomed with warm light, wooden paneling, a familiar “irasshaimase!” and an oshibori towel that made you feel instantly at ease.

We ordered a fantastic dinner course that I could describe in paragraphs of intricate detail, but perhaps what you’d find more interesting is what happened at the end — after a whole parade of beautiful vegetable, tofu, fish, and small plate dishes, to close the meal was a small bowl of rice and miso soup. No frills, no fuss, presented as simply as it is written.

I never understood why this is always the case. It’s not just this restaurant, but almost every Japanese dinner is done this way as well-- the end is always a bowl of rice and soup. It’s a custom that’s also never really bothered me, for had we ordered al carte we probably would’ve ordered our dishes to come out in a similar order. Had I been eating at home, I probably would’ve done something similar, leaving a portion of rice and soup to be enjoyed at the end. But why is Japanese food eaten like this? Who started it, and why has it persisted as so?

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Kaki Okumura

Born in Dallas, raised in New York and Tokyo. I care about helping others learn to live a better, healthier life. My site: www.kakikata.space 🌱