All Hail White Rice

Have you ever heard the word Teishoku?

written by Miki Nomura

A classic set meal style in Japan where you can see the meal laid out beautifully for you to intake a balanced meal with vegetables, a cup of soup normally miso soup, and a bowl of white rice as a set with main dishes such as fish and meat.

The idea of Teishoku (a set meal) takes nutritional balance, seasonality, color into account. It has variations depending on the occasion, and it is a daily meal that warms everyone both physically and mentally.

As shown in the illustration, the position of each dish is determined so that rice is on the left and soup is on the right. you might wonder why it is laid out like this.

The prominent belief is derived from the ancient idea that the dish on the left is of the highest rank, which in Western culture is the opposite; where the right is thought to have ranked higher. 

It seems to be a rule that white rice, which has been treated as the most special and important ingredient in Japan, is always placed on the left, and soup and main and side dishes are placed around to frame it.
The rules of how to place them are interesting because they give a glimpse of all the considerations of seasonality, colour and nutrients.

At first glance, it might be hard to decide where to start and how to eat.
A typical way to eat begins from the bowl of white rice. Next is soup. Then, returning to the white rice to eat together with the main dish and side dishes. How you intake these dishes expresses the idea that it all seems to circulate around the centerpiece; a bowl of white rice.