Top 5 Dishes You Need To Try In Japan
When most of us think about Japanese food, we automatically think about sushi or ramen. However, the truth is that Japan has an amazing, unique and varied cuisine that goes beyond just fish and rice. With this blog we will help you to have a more elaborated view about the Japanese food culture, so you can know what to order at the moment you sit at the restaurant and also where to go to have the best gastronomic experience.
1 - Sushi/Sashimi
The first one is the most iconic Japanese dish, which most people associate Japan with:Sushi and Sashimi. Sushi is very famous all around the world and consists of a piece of rice seasoned with a rice vinegar mix (made with sugar and salt) mixed with different ingredients - a variety of fishes, vegetables and nori (seaweed) for example. Depending on the shape and ingredients that are used, sushi can be: Nigiri sushi, Maki sushi , Oshi sushi , Temaki sushi and etc.
You use the chopsticks to grab the pieces of sushi and dip them into soy sauce or wasabi, or both, according to you preference. It is a explosion of flavors in your mouth!
Sashimi, another iconic food of Japan, is basically raw fish or seafood served with wasabi (a spicy japanese condiment) and soy sauce. It usually comes with slices of radish portions on the side. Sashimi is written like this in kanji: 刺身, the first kanji meaning spine and the second kanji one body.I t’s name originates from the fact that the tail of the fish used to come together with the meal to identify what you are eating.
2 - Ramen
Another very popular option to enjoy the oriental flavour is Ramen, a wheat noodles bowl served in a soy sauce or miso soup mixed with many kinds of ingredients. The most typical toppings are green onion, slices of pork, egg and seaweed; but the most important part of this dish is the soup, which vary a lot depending on the restaurant. The flavor is very unique, different from anything you ever tasted before and can be very strong according on where you order it. The way the pork is cooked, makes it so soft that sometimes it breaks into pieces as soon as you catch it with your chopsticks. With one bowl of ramen and a side dish, you can be sure that by the time you finish your meal, you will be satisfied.. If you can finish it!
3 - Tempura
Tempura is more of a snack than a dish and is made basically from seafood and vegetables that have been battered and deep fried, seasoned with a sauce made with soy sauce, ginger and sugar. Tempura made from fowl and fish can also be found. The size of the piece has to be able to be eaten in one bite and even when it is fried, it is carefully looked after not to be oily. Tempura is served with Tetsuyu sauce that it is a mix of consomme, sweet sake, soy sauce, ginger, radish and spices. What many people don’t know is that tempura is actually a classical Portuguese dish brought to and made famous by Japan.
4 - Kare raisu (rice with curry)
This is a simple but delicious dish that can be found all around Japan. Very popular among Japanese kids, Kare raisu is just rice with curry, but the taste is different from the original indian one. To make the japanese curry, it is used a variety of meats and vegetables. The meats used are usually chicken, pork, beef and sometimes duck. As for the basic vegetables: onions, carrots and potatoes. To fit every taste, here are different levels of spicy: soft, regular and hot are the most common.
5 - Okonomiyaki
Literally meaning ‘grilled as you like it’, this savory Japanese version of pancake is a mixed made with flour, yam and egg. As the name suggests, you can also add anything you like. The most commons ingredients are green onion,shrimp, beef, vegetables, squid, mochi and cheese. It is cooked in a griddle and usually made by the customers themselves, which can be part of the fun. Because the preparation has to be cooked from both sides, by the time it has to be turned, it is a stressful and also funny moment, especially when it is your first time doing it! However if you find it hard, the staff will gladly help you or even make it for you, so don’t worry.