Sipping from a Lacquered Bowl

The delicate soups of Japan are served in fragile lacquered bowls. While dining, the soup is sipped first and the solid ingredients and eaten.
Sometimes the lids of the bowls are difficult to remove gracefully.
The reason for this is because the lid is placed on the bowl while the soup is hot; steam fills the bowl and condenses as the soup cools. This in turn causes air pressure inside the bowl to decrease—thus the lid is difficult to remove because air pressure outside the bowl is greater.
To equalize this pressure—and thus avoid spills—see below:

Lacquered Bowl

Lacquered Bowl


  1. Place bowl on table, and hold it with the left hand while removing the lid with the right. (photo1)
  2. If the lid is difficult to remove, press the rim of the bowl gently inward with the fingers of both hands to create a small gap between lid and bowl. The lid can then be easily lifted. (photo2)
  3. Place the lid upside down on the right-hand side. (photo3)
  4. Lift the bowl with both hands. Use one hand to support the bowl from beneath. Use the thumb to hold the rim. Pick up chopsticks with the other hand. After finishing, replace the lid as it was when served. (photo4)
photo1 photo2 photo3 photo4