Japanese tableware is closely related to Japanese food culture. One of the most distinctive features of Japanese food culture is that Japanese people hold the vessels in their hands when they eat. This custom cannot be found in Western countries or even in the neighboring country of Korea.

This practice, unique to Japan, has influenced Japanese tableware to develop in an original way, which cannot be seen in other countries.

What are the primary, substantial differences between Western and Japanese tableware? Team Ninja Kitchen Market, one of the best Japanese platforms that offer ninja cooking knives, rice bowls, and other kitchenware, has come up with the solutions that you were looking for:

Difference In Materials

Many Japanese food vessels are earthenware, made from clay, while most Western dishes are made of porcelain, a mixture of powdered stone and clay. Since Japanese food vessels are held during meals, earthenware is preferred since it feels warmer than porcelain. They are not only held but also carried to the mouth, so it is crucial for them to feel pleasant to the lips, too. On the other hand, Western cuisine calls for metallic cutlery such as knives and forks, so porcelain dishes are generally preferred since they are scratch-resistant.

Differences in weight and size

Japanese food vessels, rice bowls, and sauce containers are smaller, lighter, and easier to hold than Western ones. You can find that every bowl, container, and kitchenware has various weights and sizes as per the requirements.

Difference in shape

Since Western dishes are eaten with knives and forks, the main food vessels are low, wide, and flat. On the other hand, many Japanese vessels are deep wan or Hachi (two types of bowls) because chopsticks are used instead of knives and forks, and many Japanese dishes have high water content. Dishes served in such bowls would be unsuitable for eating with knives and forks. But what about the Chinese chopsticks? Is there any difference between Japanese or Chinese chopsticks? There is no specific difference when we talk about Japanese vs Chinese chopsticks. They are the same.

Difference in collection

Western dishes and plates are usually collected in sets, while Japanese food vessels or hot sake warmers need not be uniform in size or shape. There are many cases in which family members have their chawan (rice bowl) and chopsticks.

Differences in omotenashi hospitality

Have you ever seen a banquet scene at a traditional Japanese inn or hotel on TV? Did you notice dishes being served on individual ozens placed in front of each person, not on the table? An “ozen” is a four-legged tray used not only for carrying food but also as a dining table for a single person. Such a scene can be considered an example of omotenashi: the act of making each individual feel special. Nowadays, buffet-style meals and food served on large platters are not unusual in Japan, but this kind of hospitality is originally alien to the traditional Japanese way of omotenashi. It is said that the wide variety of Japanese food vessels is unique to Japan, and this Japanese omotenashi spirit may be one of the reasons for the diversity.

If you are looking for Japanese kitchenware, feel free to contact us at Ninja Kitchen Market to purchase.