I recently posted a recipe for miso soup that Ayako Egawa from Japan helped me with. When she saw the photo of the bowls and spoons I used to serve it with, she made this comment: "It is interesting you use a spoon for Miso soup, because we use chopsticks for it. And we usually put it in a deep bowl. But of course it is all right! It looks yummy!"
Ayako said (regarding the photo above): "This is my Miso soup bowl. Most Miso soup bowls have beautiful pictures and they have covers."
I said to Ayako: "That’s interesting that you eat miso soup with chopsticks. Do you drink the broth at the end? Here, in restaurants, we use big, deep spoons to eat it."
Ayako replied: "We drink the broth at the end by putting our mouths on the bowl. In Japan, it’s not against good manners to do that, especially when eating Japanese food such as Miso soup, Udon or Soba. We drink western soup with spoons. In some restaurants, Miso soup may taste better than ours at home. But the important point is that each family has its own tastes. Generally people in northern areas prefer red miso and ones in western areas, especially Kyoto areas prefer white miso. But it depends on each family. It’s interesting"
Thanks for sharing that with us Ayako! Very interesting!
Hat tip: Thanks also to Linda Austin of Cherry Blossom Memories for sharing her Miso traditions too. Linda’s Mom is from Japan. She wrote, "My mom insists on using red miso, someday I’ll try white."
This article was posted on Sunday, May 24th, 2009 at 3:21 pm and is filed under Cooking, Countries & Cultures, Cuisine, Customs and Traditions, Domestic Life, Japan, Japanese, Japanese Cuisine, Languages, Miso Soup, Recipes of the World, Soup, USA. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
4 Responses to “Miso Soup Traditions”
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May 24th, 2009 at 3:31 pm
[…] UPDATE: Check out this later post to learn about some Miso Soup Traditions! […]
May 24th, 2009 at 4:07 pm
Yes, we also use the small bowls as Ayako shows. Miso is more like an appetizer (my mother grew up having miso as part of her breakfast!). The deep spoons I believe are really for Chinese soups as the Japanese sip directly from the cup. In the case of noodle dishes, the chopsticks help push the food into one’s open mouth awaiting at the edge of the picked up bowl.
May 24th, 2009 at 4:25 pm
The large bowls we used for miso soup were way too big. We were full from too much miso soup!
Linda, the way you describe the use of chopsticks is, I believe how Chinese people eat rice: “the chopsticks help push the food into one’s open mouth awaiting at the edge of the picked up bowl.”
We Americans often try to use the chopsticks to pick up the rice from the plate to our mouths. It’s much more difficult this way and not really correct.
May 24th, 2009 at 4:41 pm
I think Japanese people eat this way, too. They eat such small portions so little bowls aren’t too awkward (or rude) to put up to the mouth. Here is a funny link to Japanese eating habits vs American http://www.davidappleyard.com/japan/jp49.htm