Thought your mom was harsh about finishing your meal? At least she didn’t charge you for leaving food on your plate. The Hachikyo seafood restaurant in Sapporo, Japan will fine diners for not eating every last morsel of tsukko meshi, a dish that consists of a mountain of salmon roe piled on top of a bed of rice. At around $20 USD, an extra fee might seem ridiculous, but there is a reason for such a penalty.
While we could all do well to value our food a little more, dishing out a little extra money for every bite we waste may help us to appreciate what fuels our bodies and excites our palates. It turns out that tsukko meshi is not only delicious, but also very difficult to obtain. According to an explanation on the Hachikyo menu, harvesting the salmon roe comes at great expense to the fishermen who risk their lives for the sake of cuisine. Therefore, anyone who fails to eat the entire bowl must give a donation. Patrons are also not allowed to touch their rice until all of the fish eggs are dished out. The owners have even sent waitstaff onto fishing boats in order to inspire appreciation for the food they are serving.
So, the next time you are out to a seafood dinner, make sure you go with a good appetite and and take a moment to thank the brave men and women who face the ocean to fill your belly.