Beautiful presentation is one of the fundamentals of Japanese cuisine. As a result, there is a whole range of weird and wonderful garnishes which are not only used to adorn the dish but the majority of which may also be eaten. In Japanese cuisine, garnishes are varied according to the appearance of the dish with regard to the colour balance as well as according to the season in which the dish is served.
Garnishes at Matsuri restaurants
A yellow, edible chrysanthemum flower used in the autumn as a garnish in o-suimono, for sushi and in chirashi-zushi. Its petals are also used as sunomono (food pickled in vinegar) and in salad dressings. It is a bitter tasting flower so you have to blanch it in boiling water before use. The petals can also be boiled in water with vinegar and salt to make a crunchy, fragranced food.
A miniature cucumber which can be cut in many different ways and is used as a garnish. It can be eaten raw and has the same flavour as a cucumber. It is generally eaten in salads, with sashimi or as sunomono (food pickled in vinegar).
Sasa no Happa
A large bamboo leaf which is traditionally used to present food on due to its anti-bacterial properties. There has been a custom for around two hundred years of using it to store sushi, so that fish can be kept fresh and safe to eat raw for several hours without the use of refrigeration. In fact, it will help keep o-nigiri for two days and, in winter, rice will keep for up to two weeks if stored with it.