Teishoku (Meal Sets)
Meal sets are often available at local eating establishments and family restaurants at a reasonable price. The main dish usually includes rice and miso soup on the side, among other things.
A typical meal set includes rice, miso soup, a main dish, a side dish, and pickled vegetables. Restaurants that specialize in meal sets are called “teishoku-ya” (tey-show-koo-yah). The type of meal sets available will differ depending on the shop.
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In Japan, the word "Ichiju-Issai" (ee-chee-joo ee-sai) is used for a meal that comes with rice, pickled vegetables, soup, and a main dish. This was originally the customary meal of Zen temples, but gradually spread throughout the country, and evolved into the meal sets of today (although the amount of food may vary in the modern meal set).
Most meal sets should be positioned in front of you with rice at your left side, soup at your right side, and the main item positioned to the back. Generally the more important item is placed on the left in Japan, which is where the rice is positioned. But it's perfectly fine to position the foods in an order you feel most comfortable with.
Meal sets are usually eaten for lunch or dinner, but recently some restaurants have been serving small meal sets for breakfast as well.
Ingredients & Price
Meal sets usually are named after the main dish being offered, such as “Sashimi Meal,” ”Hamburg Steak Meal,” etc.
Other than the main dish, one to three side dishes are included as well, such as boiled food, fried eggs, salad, etc. White rice, soup (usually miso soup), and pickled vegetables are also part of the set. Sometimes a special seasonal rice is served, or a rice ball with other ingredients in the middle is offered instead of plain white rice. Meal sets in which the main dish is a type of soup, such as the Pork Soup Meal, do not include an additional bowl of soup on the side.
On average, a meal set will cost around 500 to 1,000 yen.
How to Order & Pay
Sit down at your table and call over a waitress when you’re ready to order. Additional single items can be added on to the meal if you so desire.
Payment is usually done at the cash register, but keep in mind that a lot of places will not accept credit cards.
The main dish of a daily special will change on a daily basis, giving you the advantage of ordering something different every day at the same restaurant.
Types of Meal Sets
The side meals and types of soup included will vary for each establishment. The following is a list of typical main dishes that come with a meal set.
Kara-Age Teishoku (Fried Chicken Meal)：Tasty chicken fried in oil, also called “kara-age” (kah-lah ah-geh).
Tonkatsu Teishoku (Pork Cutlet Meal)：Pork cutlets deep-fried in batter, eaten with sauce.
Sashimi Teishoku (Sashimi Meal)：Slices of raw fish with soy sauce and wasabi.
Mix Fry Teishoku (Fried Variety Meal)： An assortment of fried foods, usually two to five types per meal, that vary according to the restaurant. Some examples include fried shrimp, oysters, pork, and scallops.
Pork Soup Meal (Tonjiru Teishoku)
Yakiniku Meal (Yakiniku Teishoku)
Broiled Fish Meal (Yaki-Zakana Teishoku)
Hamburg Steak Meal (Hamburg Teishoku)
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