The prototype of Japanese cuisine is one soup and three dishes.
The basic form of Japanese cuisine is one soup and three dishes. It refers to the combination of rice, soup, one main dish and side dishes. Many ingredients are used and there is a good nutritional balance. This is the basic style of a Japanese set meal. However, we sometimes call the set meal of rice, soup and one main dish “teishoku”. Some times a teishoku has three or more side dishes, some even with a dessert and drink.
Any dish that goes well with rice can be the main dish of a set meal. Meat or fish is often used for the main dish. Grilled fish or meat, tempura or sashimi can also be served. Sometimes western dishes such as a hamburger, something deep-fried, or Chinese style stir-fried dishes are also served as a main dish.
Rice and Miso soup
Short grained white rice is at the heart of Japanese food and is central to many Teishoku meals. Miso soup is another essential component for teishoku meals. It will always be included in a Teishoku set, unless the main dish is already a soup. Miso soup is made from dashi broth and miso soybean paste, it also includes spring onions and wakame (seaweed). The probiotics in the miso can aid digestion and it goes well with rice.
The side dish also plays a part in arranging the nutritional balance, for this reason many of the side dishes use vegetables, such as spinach dressed with sesame paste, or sweet and spicy burdock and aubergine.
“Triangle eating” is a good way of eating a set meal. You eat rice the main dish and side dishes little by little evenly. Don’t use chopsticks like a fork, but pinch the dishes with them. Keep in mind that you hold bowls of rice and soup while eating.