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Sake Etiquette 101

When perusing the drink menu at your favorite Japanese steakhouse, you’ve probably noticed a drink called sake on the menu. Whether you’ve tried this beverage before or haven’t yet had the pleasure, you might enjoy learning about how sake is served in Japan and the customs it’s associated with. Read on for an introduction to sake etiquette.

Serving Sake

Traditionally, sake was served warm. Today, however, this alcoholic drink made from rice is typically served chilled to help preserve the flavor profiles. Different types of sake will taste best at various temperatures, but most premium varieties that you can find will have optimum flavor when served between lightly chilled and room temperature.

Pouring Sake

Just like with beer, it’s customary in Japan to pour for others and avoid pouring for oneself. While this can take some getting used to, you may find that this tradition has appeal after you grow accustomed to it. For sake, small cups, called guinomi or ochoko, and a serving vessel, called a tokkuri, are used for drinking and serving. The vessel is kept at the table to allow for refills, and because people pour for one another, this can promote social bonding. When in a formal situation, the pourer holds the tokkuri with two hands. Also, the person whose cup is being refilled lifts the guinomi with one hand and steadies it with the other.

Drinking Sake

The extent to which etiquette is followed depends on the formality of the situation. However, even for an informal gathering, it is customary for attendees to pour the sake for each other. If you plan to enjoy a night out in Japan and partake of sake, keep in mind that your companions may try to fill your glass each time you empty it, so drink with caution!

Come and give sake a try at House of Genji’s cocktail lounge, or enjoy this beverage as your teppanyaki meal is prepared right at your table. Call (408) 453-8120 to make your reservation at our Japanese restaurant in San Jose.

A Look at Traditional Japanese Breakfast Foods

In the United States, many people enjoy a bagel or bowl of cereal to start their day. However, a customary breakfast in Japan is quite different. Keep reading to learn about traditional breakfast foods that would be served in a Japanese restaurant or home.


Steamed rice, or gohan, is an essential when it comes to Japanese dining. White or brown rice can be used, and this carbohydrate component of the meal serves as a wonderful complement to the protein that is often included.

Fermented Soybeans

Natto, which is made from fermented soybeans, is a staple for many households in Japan but is a unique dish to most foreigners. Natto has a sticky, slimy texture that you won’t find in many other foods, and some people dislike its smell or taste. This fermented soybean dish is commonly served with a traditional Japanese breakfast and seasoned with dried seaweed, soy sauce, spicy mustard, dried fish shavings, or green onion. You can find packaged natto in the refrigerated section of many Asian and international markets.

Miso Soup

Miso, which is made from fermented soybeans, is the essential component of miso soup, a traditional Japanese breakfast dish. Typically, miso soup is made using miso paste and fish flake ( dashi) broth. In a bowl of miso soup, you may also find seaweed, green onions, tofu, mushrooms, or clams. It’s common for miso soup to be made from scratch using dashi and miso paste, but instant miso soup is also available.


Commonly broiled, grilled, or pan-fried, salmon and mackerel are common components of traditional Japanese breakfasts.

Pickled Vegetables

Pickled vegetables, or tsukemono, are Japanese staples that are commonly served with rice dishes. Pickled vegetables come in a huge variety of options, such as umeboshi, which is pickled plum, and takuan, which is pickled daikon radish.

If you’re looking for Japanese dining in San Jose, then come and visit House of Genji. To make a reservation with our Japanese steakhouse, please call (408) 453-8120.

Spotlight on Our Ahi Tataki Side Order

When planning their visit to a Japanese restaurant, many individuals look forward to enjoying high-quality, delicious seafood dishes. At House of Genji, we offer a wide array of teppanyaki entrees, sushi dishes, and side orders that include seafood ingredients like scallops, prawns, lobster tail, calamari, salmon, shrimp, and tuna. Among these is our popular ahi tataki side order.

House of Genji’s ahi tataki dish features sliced and seared ahi tuna that is lightly dipped in a ginger soy sauce and served with a rice vinegar dipping sauce. Ahi tuna, which is also known as yellowfin tuna, is light pink to deep red in color and has a relatively strong flavor.

Come and see us at House of Genji to try our ahi tataki option or one of our other delicious sides, such as the deep-fried calamari or shrimp sauté. To make your reservation at our Japanese restaurant in San Jose, call (408) 453-8120.

See the Chefs of House of Genji in Action

House of Genji is a Japanese steakhouse in the heart of Silicon Valley that features teppanyaki dining and a cocktail lounge. Their teppanyaki tables seat 8-11 people and offer a great option for birthday parties and office get-togethers. Watch this video to see a House of Genji chef in action.

The restaurant tends to have a lot of action going on, and this group brought the whole family to enjoy the delicious food and fun atmosphere. First, sushi, salad, and soup are served, and the chef then prepares fried rice on the large griddle. Next, onions, zucchini, and mushrooms are expertly cooked, followed by shrimp, steak fillets, and bean sprouts.

If you’d like a front row seat to see the House of Genji chefs in action, please call our Japanese steakhouse in San Jose at (408) 453-8120 to make your party’s reservation.

Top Reasons to Fall in Love with Teppanyaki Cooking

For many people who enjoy Japanese dining, teppanyaki represents the epitome of fun and excitement that can be enjoyed at a restaurant. If you’ve yet to give this type of meal a try, then keep reading to learn the top reasons why you might fall in love with teppanyaki cooking.

The Unique Ordering Style

Like most people, you’ve probably experienced that awkward moment when no one can decide if they want an appetizer or dessert because they don’t want to be the only one to order. With teppanyaki cooking, dishes are prepared and served as they are ordered, eliminating the need to worry about courses.

The Open Kitchen

If you love the fact that some of today’s most stylish restaurants are removing kitchen walls to allow guests to see the cooking in action, then you might fall in love with teppanyaki dining. This cooking style has incorporated an open kitchen since long before it was trendy, and teppanyaki chefs specialize in entertaining the patrons at their table with their flashy cooking and knife skills.

The Fun Experience

For many diners, watching a teppanyaki cook in action is great entertainment. The chefs often make this experience even more fun for the guests by making jokes or encouraging conversation. If you’re interested in something other than a quiet evening meal, then teppanyaki may be just what you’re looking for.

The Exciting Atmosphere

Watching your chef’s quick hands chop, flip, and toss your food as it’s being prepared in front of you makes for a lively event, but the presence of fire takes the display up a few notches. The flames will be hot, bright, and quite close, making a teppanyaki dining experience anything but a typical night out.

If you’re ready to fall in love with teppanyaki cooking, then come and see us at House of Genji. To schedule your appointment at our Japanese steakhouse in San Jose, please call (408) 453-8120.

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