Many people nowadays take finishing all the food on their plate at every meal for granted. However, a restaurant in Sapporo has taken the task of teaching wasteful people by charging a fine for every grain of rice left behind. The virtue of a “clean plate” is highly esteemed in this seafood restaurant that a clear policy has been stated on the menu before you order.
The owner of the restaurant, Hitoshi Sugita, explained that the reason for the policy is not for financial gain. It is a way of paying respect and gratitude to the fishermen’s dangerous and sometimes life-threatening working conditions just to catch fish to be served on someone’s plate. Therefore, it is forbidden to leave even one grain of rice in your bowl. If you do so, a fine will be imposed on you in the form of a donation.
At Hachikyo Restaurant, you are only allowed to eat if you agree with the policy. If you do so, the waiters will begin to serve the restaurant’s specialty dish, tsukko meshi, which is a bowl of rice topped with salmon roe. Firstly, the rice is served and cannot be touched or eaten yet, as part of the policy – if you disobey this, your tsukko meshi will be taken away. Moments later, salmon roe will be spooned on top of the rice by the waiters who will then yell a sea shanty which the diners will then have to reply back. Once that’s done, you can then begin to eat your rice bowl. Some of the staff also continue singing songs while diners enjoy their meal.
The dish costs 1,890 yen (approximately $20). This kind of promotion has proven popular among many people as most diners finish their entire bowls with no leftovers. So, although the rules include fines, it is rarely required from customers.
Hachikyo Restaurant serves as a great reminder to every person that food is very important. It is also a way of paying homage to the fishermen’s skills as well as the hardships faced in the fishing industry.
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