The Japanese word “gochiso” means feast, and the gracious way to finish a meal is to say thank you by telling your host “gochisousama deshita,” which means “It was a wonderful feast.”
Indeed, Japanese cuisine really is a feast—something special that Filipinos like to enjoy on occasion. Why only on occasion? Because many ingredients of popular Japanese dishes are hard to come by! While Filipinos may not be able to faithfully recreate a Japanese meal in their homes, they can pick up some culinary principles from Japanese cuisine:
1. Food choice. The Japanese use a lot of seasonal vegetables, fruits, as well as sea catch and vegetation. They eat a lot of oily fish, some of which are available in the Philippines. You can “translate” that to Filipino cuisine by using indigenous seasonal fruits and vegetables and making fish the centerpiece of your meal.
2. Smaller portions. It may not be inherent in Filipino culture to make use of all those little decorative bowls and plates, but this principle can be applied to the Filipino table by consciously limiting the serving size. One way to do this is to use a salad plate instead of a dinner plate; another is to use a plate with a divider for the viand, rice, and vegetables. Smaller portions will be filling when the meal includes a variety of dishes, for example: rice, paksiw na salmon (viand), ginisang kalabasa at sitaw (vegetable dish), clear broth (soup), and banana (dessert).
3. Colorful plate. While Filipinos are not culinary artists, making a colorful plate is easy—after all, a lot of the popular Pinoy stews (and soups, too) call for various chopped vegetables. Fruits, which easily add a pop of color to a meal, are always available—one of the perks of living in a tropical country!
There is no such thing as “more nutritious” food, much less a “more nutritious cuisine.” The healthiness of a meal is found in the basic ingredients, how they are prepared, what is served with them, and how much of the food a person eats.