Restaurant Fines Customers in Japan Who Don't Finish Dish

Friday, 15 Feb 2013 10:03 AM

By Alexandra Ward

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A restaurant in Japan has an unusual policy about not cleaning your plate when eating its signature dish of rice topped with salmon roe: Customers must pay a fine.

The menu at Hachikyo, a seafood restaurant in Sapporo, clearly states that failure to finish its "tsukko meshi" will result in a fine that goes directly to the fisherman who made the meal possible. Because working conditions are dangerous for the fishermen, customers must consume the entire bowl of tsukko meshi without leaving a single grain behind, the menu states.

Midori Yokoyama, a food blogger at the Japanese site Gold Rush, reviewed his experience at Hachikyo.

"According to the explanation in the menu, the working conditions for fishermen are harsh and so dangerous that it's not unknown for lives to be lost," Yokoyama wrote. "To show our gratitude and appreciation for the food they provide, it is forbidden to leave even one grain of rice in your bowl. Customers who do not finish their tsukko meshi must give a donation."

There is no word on how much the fine is.

The restaurant also reportedly penalizes overeager customers.

"While you are waiting for the salmon roe to be piled on, it is another rule that you cannot touch your rice," Yokoyama wrote. "If you push down your rice or start eating it, your tsukko meshi will be revoked!"

A Hachikyo waitress told Yokoyama that "hardly anyone leaves their tsukko meshi unfinished."

Tsukko meshi, sometimes called "rubies of the sea" for its red color, costs 1,890 yen, or about $20. Yokoyama said it is well worth it.

"The first overflowing spoonful had very little rice in it, and as the eggs burst into salty deliciousness in my mouth, I really felt the luxuriousness of the meal," he wrote in his review. "The roe already has soy sauce mixed in it, so you can eat it without adding any additional sauce and the flavor is great. One taste and you’ll want to gobble it all up.

The restaurant owner says that the unusual concept has proven popular enough to allow him to open a second location in Tokyo this coming April.

Another establishment in Saudi Arabia also reportedly charges diners for leaving food on their plates. Marmar Restaurant in Dammam, the capital of the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, is taking a stand against leftovers to reduce food wastage, according to

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