Teishoku, or a set menu, is a regular feature in Japanese restaurants. Each menu often starts with a side dish such as "Deep-fried Pork Teishoku". Teishoku has a typical serving style that reflects what Japanese people eat on a day to day basis, and consists of rice, soup, pickles and main dishes with meat, fish and vegetables.
Even though main dishes headline the menu, rice plays the central role in Teishoku. Japanese people have been eating rice since early times. Rice is a unique ingredient that goes with any kind of dish. In Teishoku, all other dishes surround a rice bowl and they are planned and cooked in a way to enhance their flavors when eaten with rice. Regardless of the accompanying side dishes, rice completes the style of Teishoku.
Another feature of Teishoku is that all dishes are put on the table at the same time. It may seem strange from a western eating style, but it is a characteristic of Japanese food culture. Teishoku, deeply rooted in Japanese everyday life, offers healthy nutritional balance, aesthetics to please one’s five senses, chef's spirituality and more. Japanese comfort food Teishoku fulfills not only our bodies but minds, too. It also has a strong relationship with the historical evolution of Japanese food culture.
In Teishoku reside many features of Japanese food that have been drawing attention throughout the world. Our Teishoku Library explores the beauty of Teishoku.
In the early modern period of Japan, yearly production of rice from the region represented ruler's financial ability. That as an example, rice has always had special meanings to Japanese people. In Japanese diet, rice is the staple food and plays the center role on the table. People even call side dishes "Omawari (surroundings)" in Kyoto. That is indeed the representation of the idea that rice is the center and other dishes surround a bowl of rice.
Today, we also eat noodles and bread as an alternative to rice. However, the traditional style of rice, the staple food, accompanying side dishes makes great sense in terms of being able to eat variety of dishes and nutritional balance as an everyday food.
Nutritional balance is a key to a healthy diet. It is said having 13 to 20% of protein, 20 to 30% of fat and 50 to 65% of carbohydrate in one meal is ideal. Since Teishoku includes rice, soup, main side dish with fish or meat and secondary side dish with vegetables, seaweeds and beans, it is a meal one can consume the ideal nutritional balance easily. By adjusting the amount of rice and side dishes, you can control not to take too much fat and carbohydrate.
Good nutritional balance is a great appeal of Teishoku, especially compared to other today's diet that tends to be nutritionally disproportionate.
Japan's PFC balance is equally proportioned. Teishoku style of serving, a combination of rice, soup and side dishes, contributes to taking less fat and more carbohydrate than western diet.
Unlike western serving style with course of dishes, Teishoku serves all dishes at once. Though it may feel strange for the first time, Teishoku has its own way to enjoy every dish. First, start with rice and have some soup. Then go back to rice again and eat one of side dishes.You basically go back to rice every time you eat other dishes.
The merit of this kind of eating style is;
- You can prevent eating too much protein and fat. As a result, it makes good nutritional balance accessible.
- You can adjust the saltiness and sweetness of side dishes to your liking, depending on the amount of rice you eat.
- Having rice after a side dish refreshes your mouth and you can enjoy the full flavor of next side dish.
Simple and versatile rice is what makes whole meal enjoyable till the end.