Restaurant chains in Japan remove seasonings from tables in wake of viral videos

TOKYO — Major “gyoza” dumpling and curry restaurant chains in Japan have removed seasonings from tables at their branches in the wake of a series of viral videos including misbehavior by customers and footage raising health concerns.

Kyoto-based Ohsho Food Service Corp., which operates the “Gyoza no Ohsho” restaurant chain, and “Curry House CoCo Ichibanya” operator Ichibanya Co., based in the Aichi Prefecture city of Ichinomiya, are the latest major companies that have removed condiments from tables.

Ohsho Food Service announced that it removed all seasonings such as sauce for gyoza, chili oil and vinegar from tables starting on Feb. 11. Now the sauce is placed in small plates and chili oil and other condiments are supplied by the eatery staff upon request from customers.

In one video posed online, an insect was shown in a jar of dumpling sauce at a Gyoza no Ohsho restaurant. In response, the operator issued a comment on its website on Feb. 9, saying, “We have confirmed the fact that an incident similar to the time and content of the video occurred at one of our franchise restaurants.” All sauce in the branch has been disposed of, and a public health center has apparently confirmed the sanitary management situation.

Ichibanya also removed “fukujinzuke” pickles and sauce from tables at all of its 1,217 stores in Japan and changed its policy this month to serve the pickles and sauce only after receiving orders from customers.

A video of a customer eating fukujinzuke directly from a container with a spoon at a table in a Curry House CoCo Ichibanya restaurant spread on social media about three years ago. The operator said of its latest move, “We took into consideration the concerns of customers and strengthened our hygiene control measures.”

(Japanese original by Yukako Ono, Digital News Center)

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