Disney's Not-Quite Japanese Breakfast
For generations, Disneyland and Hawaii have been two of the most popular destinations for Japanese travelers—so it only makes sense that Disney’s Aulani Resort in Hawaii sees visitors from Japan as a key demographic. But while the main appeal of travel is the opportunity to experience something new, Disney realizes that not everyone rolls out of bed at their most adventurous, so it offers a Japanese breakfast for those wanting to start their day with a taste of home.
It’s a considerate service, and for the most part, the resort’s done a great job. True connoisseurs of Japanese cuisine, however, will probably spot three odd quirks to Disney’s (almost) traditional Japanese breakfast.
Starting with the most subtle mistake, table-setting conventions dictate that the miso soup (seen with the bowl still covered) should be placed to the right of the rice bowl, not to the left as in the picture tweeted by the Disney Aulani resort.
Odd Negi Out
Speaking of miso soup, some people like to add diced green onions, called negi in Japanese, to the broth. Tasty as negi are, though, the flavor, not to mention the smell, tends to stay in your mouth for a long time after the meal is over. As a result, just how much negi to use, if any, is a matter of personal preference, and they’re sometimes served on a small side dish so that each individual diner can season the soup according to their tastes.
We’re not sure if Disney’s chefs were unaware of the practice of using a separate dish or simply were trying to conserve space on the serving tray, but either way, they decided to put the onions in a somewhat less orthodox position—on top of the lid covering the miso soup.
Putting the negi on top of the lid like that is a bit of a faux pas. Obviously, you have to remove the lid to get to the miso soup. The heat of the broth, though, causes condensation to form on the inside of the lid, so in order to keep the table from getting wet, you’re supposed to flip it over before you set it down. We’re assuming the lids are thoroughly washed after every meal, but still, this is a little like presenting a steak on the underside of a plate in that it doesn’t conjure up the cleanest of images. It’s also going to be pretty hard to get the lid off without spilling negi all over the place.
Sleep with the Fishes
Finally, there’s the fish. Again, this traditionally gets its own plate in Japan, with maybe a tiny dollop of grated daikon radish lying next to it. Disney, though, has opted to put it on top of a bed of shredded cabbage. This is actually a pretty common presentation style in Japan. However, we’ve never seen it done with grilled fish before, since it’s the norm for deep-fried food like tonkatsu pork cutlet.
Authenticity in appearance aside, it’s nice to know Disney gives Japanese travelers the option to ease into their stay in another culture, not to mention provide American guests with a chance to experience a little internationalism of their own.
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