Hosting a Japanese dinner party is a fun way for friends and family to get together and share some great, flavorful, healthy food. The eclectic experience will certainly leave a lasting impression, and you’ll receive a multitude of requests to plan another Japanese dinner!
You don’t need to spend a fortune to host a Japanese dinner party — most of what you need can be easily found at Asian supermarkets for inexpensive prices or online if you do not have a nearby market.
To better determine exactly what you need, you must first plan the menu; different foods require different tableware and kitchen equipment.
Planning the Menu
Planning the menu for a Japanese dinner party is a little different than planning for an American-style dinner. In contrast to the multiple courses served at an American dinner, all components of a Japanese meal are served at once, with dessert being the exception. Smaller portions of each part of the meal are served to each individual, rather than focusing on the protein being the largest component of the dish, graced by a few side items.
This makes for a delightful table full of bright, fresh foods exhibiting wonderful scents and promises of umami.
While you can include sushi on the menu, it isn’t wholly necessary. A sushi party can be a completely different dinner, and concentrating on other Japanese fare lets you create a more authentic Japanese dinner experience.
Consider most or all of the following to provide a well-rounded and delicious meal:
- Miso soup
- Pickled vegetables
- A protein — fish, chicken, shellfish or beef
- Soba noodles
You can choose from a large assortment of Japanese recipes to create your dinner. Then make a list of the ingredients you need for each recipe and go shopping.
And, of course, you can make a nice dessert as well to serve after the meal.
Depending on what recipes you choose, it is likely you already have everything you need in your kitchen. But if you want to prepare and cook everything using more traditional Japanese equipment, you can purchase items such as a bamboo steamer, a tempura fryer, a rice steamer and a wok.
Setting the Table
Using Japanese-style tableware will really set the scene and help the dinner party to make a lasting impression. Look for items such as bamboo placemats, an assortment of bowls with pretty Japanese designs such as cherry blossoms, square or rectangular plates and plenty of finger bowls for dipping sauces. Don’t forget chopsticks, sake sets and Japanese tea sets. Additions such as Japanese fans and flower centerpieces lend themselves quite nicely to the Japanese theme.
If you haven’t already purchased some of these extras as part of the ingredients needed for your dinner, consider the following seasonings and dipping sauces to further complement the meal:
- Crushed nori flakes
- Rice seasonings such as furikake or bonito flakes
- Soy sauce
- Nanami togarashi
- Japanese sauce
Enjoy your Japanese dinner!