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AdrianB

Kaiseki etiquette and unfinished rice

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Good day all

What is the etiquette when it comes to being unable to finish a kaiseki meal (when it gets to the rice course)? Often I've found myself unable to eat more than a token amount (as I am very full). Is it acceptable to do this or am I 'obligated' to eat more and accept as it's offered? Is there a way to avoid embarassement or awkwardness in this situation? What do the locals do?

Kind regards

Adrian

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leave what you cannot eat but never leave it messy. Do not pick around and only eat your favorite bits. If the person who made it is in the position to bus your dishes apologize appropriately.

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For future reference, ask for a smaller portion before it's served.

A good kaiseki restaurant will adjust your portions accordingly. Even at Ryugin (a good restaurant, but not traditional kaiseki, so I wrote "even at"), the staff will notice if you are struggling to finish your courses, and will offer you a smaller serving. At kaiseki places where you have a private room with your own personal server, they should notice such things, too.

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Thank you for the helpful replies.

The problem was only experienced at Kikinoi and other more modern places. No problem at Mankamerou (one of my personal favourites in Kyoto especially the 'ryo-ryori').

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I know this may be considered maybe bad manners but since I have no shame...

If I know I am crazy full as I am getting served the second to last course, which is usually before when they serve you the last rice course I will actually tell them I am full and to not give me the rice. I'd rather they not waste their rice on me since I won't be able to eat more than a few bites. I figure that maybe they'd appreciate it since they may think it wasteful if you get served the rice course and it looks like you didn't touch your bowl of rice.

So I will tell either the wait staff or chef in my broken Japanese - "Gomen na-sai, ippai des. Gohan taberi-nai." (gesturing fullness). This basically translate - I am sorry but I am full. I cannot eat rice.

I hope that helps.

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