One unfortunate woman in Tokyo, however, was recently treated to something a little different with her traditional starter: a live worm which embedded itself in the back of her throat.
After five days of unexplained pharyngeal pain, the woman visited a hospital where doctors identified the source of irritation to be a black worm living in her left tonsil, according to a case study published in The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.
Removing the worm with tweezers revealed it be nearly 1.5in long and 1mm wide.
The worm, known scientifically as Pseudoterranova azarasi, was in the process of shedding its skin at the time of removal.
The woman's condition was said to have "rapidly improved" after the parasite was removed.
Pseudoterranova is an uncommon roundworm of the family Anisakidae, members of which are known for causing stomach and intestinal infections in humans.
Stomach infections from this species of worm occur when people consume raw or undercooked fish in which larvae are present.
More than 700 cases have been reported across Japan and the north Pacific, South America and the Netherlands.
Throat infections of the kind affecting the woman in Tokyo, known to doctors as “tingling throat syndrome”, are rare, though cases have increased worldwide alongside a growing taste for sushi and raw fish dishes.