The biggest problem I’ve faced regarding the tableware when I immigrated to the US in 1998 was that I was not able to find any Kobachi! Kobachi (which literally means "small bowl"), is typically used to serve appetizers in Japanese cuisine. Using Kobachi in your dinner table makes a dinner time completely different experiences.
A lot of people in US place meals in a big plate. You put some veggie, steak, and bread or rice etc. That is fine, but you are missing one important aspect of meals – enjoying the dinnerware which is very important aspect of Japanese cuisine!
In our dinner table I typically place a main meal, either meat or fish, in a medium size plate, miso soup in a lacquer soup bowl, Japanese rice in rice bowl, then small salad or appetizer in kobachi bowls (typically 2 – 3 bowls). Whenever I mention this the typical reaction is “I don’t have time to cook that many”. Trust me, I hear you. I myself am a working mom with two young kids (7 and 5) and lovely husband who loves eating a lot. I come home around 6:15 from work and dinner is typically ready by 6:40. The key is all about making it as your habit and routine. We have a rice cooker with timer so rice is ready by the time I am home. While I prepare for main meal my miso soup is heated up next to it. What about Kobachi meals? I do not need to cook them every day! I may make small appetizers such as sweet beans or fish that I can just buy from local Asian grocery stores, or just fresh veggie like just grape tomatoes. I sometime cook simple veggie meal for Kobachi but those are often good in fridge for a few days. Nothing fancy but you enjoy and appreciate each meal by placing each of them in separate bowls. My kids are always thrilled to see many kinds of foods in many bowls. With all kind of simple foods your table looks very much entertaining and full of appreciations just by placing them in separate dinnerware. That’s what I call “Kobachi Magic”!
Interested in mixing and matching a variety of these small bowls to serve condiments or small tapas portions? Please take a look at our Tableware Collections!