An article from: Gabriele Ferrando
Japan offers a huge variety of tasty and traditional dishes that are worth trying during your trip to this country.
Here are some of the most popular and typical dishes of Japan:
Sushi is probably the most famous Japanese dish in the world.
Sushi is a traditional Japanese dish that consists of small balls of sticky rice (shari) topped with raw fish, seafood, or vegetables.
The fish or seafood used in sushi can include tuna, salmon, eel, shrimp, and squid, among others.
Sushi can also be rolled using seaweed (nori) and filled with a variety of ingredients such as fish, vegetables, and egg.
The origins of sushi can be traced back to the 4th century in Japan, where fish was preserved by fermenting it with rice.
However, the sushi that we know today, which is made with fresh fish and vinegared rice, was developed in the 19th century in Edo (present-day Tokyo).
There are many different types of sushi, the most popular are nigiri sushi (hand-formed sushi), maki sushi (rolled sushi) and temaki sushi (hand-rolled sushi).
Nigiri sushi is a small ball of rice topped with a piece of fish or seafood, maki sushi is a roll of rice, fish and vegetables wrapped in seaweed, and temaki sushi is a cone-shaped sushi roll made with seaweed and filled with rice, fish and vegetables.
Sushi is considered as a delicacy in Japan, and it's enjoyed in many different settings, from casual sushi bars to fine-dining sushi restaurants.
It has also become popular worldwide, with many different variations and styles.
Ramen is a type of Japanese noodle dish that consists of Chinese-style wheat noodles in a savory broth.
The broth is typically made from chicken or pork bones, and can be flavored with soy sauce, miso, or salt.
The origins of Ramen can be traced back to China, but it was further developed and popularized in Japan during the 20th century.
Ramen can also include various toppings such as sliced pork (chashu), green onions, and dried seaweed (nori).
Some of the most popular types of ramen are shoyu (soy sauce) ramen, shio (salt) ramen, and miso ramen. Shoyu ramen is flavored with soy sauce, shio ramen is flavored with salt, and miso ramen is flavored with a fermented soybean paste.
Ramen is considered as a comfort food in Japan and it's a popular dish among the Japanese people.
It can be found at many ramen restaurants, from casual to fine-dining and also at street vendors.
Ramen has become a global phenomenon, and it's enjoyed by people all around the world, with various regional variations and styles.
Ramen is a versatile dish that can be enjoyed in different ways, with different broths, toppings, and seasonings.
Tempura is a type of Japanese dish in which seafood, meats, or vegetables are coated in a light batter and deep-fried.
The batter is typically made from wheat flour, corn starch, and cold water, which creates a light and crispy texture.
The origins of tempura can be traced back to the 16th century, when it was brought to Japan by Portuguese traders.
Seafood such as shrimp and squid are among the most popular ingredients for tempura, but vegetables like sweet potato, eggplant, and pumpkin are also commonly used.
The ingredients are coated in the tempura batter, which is made from wheat flour, cornstarch, egg, and cold water.
The ingredients are then deep-fried in oil until golden brown.
The tempura is then served with a side of tentsuyu (tempura dipping sauce), which is a mixture of dashi, soy sauce, and mirin.
Tempura is often considered as a delicacy in Japan and it can be found at many restaurants, from casual to fine-dining.
It's also a popular dish to make at home and it's enjoyed by many as a side dish or an appetizer.
Some restaurants specialize in tempura and called "tempura-ya", they usually offer a variety of tempura dishes and with different ingredients.
Udon is a type of thick wheat noodle that is often served in a mild broth.
The noodle is made from wheat flour, salt, and water, and it has a chewy texture and a neutral taste.
Udon can be served in a variety of different ways, such as in a hot soup, in a cold broth, or even stir-fried.
One of the most popular ways to serve udon is in a hot soup called "kake udon", it's a simple dish of udon noodles in a mild, soy-based dashi broth, and it's usually garnished with green onions and tempura crumbs.
Another popular way to serve udon is "tempura udon" where udon noodles are served in a hot soup with tempura on the side.
"Zaru udon" is a cold version of udon, where udon noodles are chilled and served on a bamboo mat with a cold dipping sauce.
Udon is a popular and comforting food in Japan, and it can be found at many restaurants, from casual to fine-dining.
It's also a common dish to make at home, and it's considered as a versatile food that can be enjoyed in different ways and different seasons.
Yakitori is a type of Japanese dish that consists of skewered and grilled chicken.
The chicken is typically marinated in a sweet soy-based sauce called tare, and then grilled over charcoal.
The skewers of chicken are often cooked over a high heat, which results in a slightly charred and smoky flavor.
Yakitori can be made with different cuts of chicken such as breast, thigh, and liver and it can also include vegetables such as onions, mushrooms, and peppers.
Each skewer is usually seasoned with salt or tare sauce before grilling.
Yakitori is often enjoyed as a casual food, and it's a popular food to eat while drinking at izakaya (Japanese pubs) or at outdoor food stands.
It's also a popular home-cooked meal and enjoyed as a family meal.
Yakitori is considered as a simple and affordable food that is also delicious.
Tonkatsu is a popular Japanese dish that consists of a breaded and deep-fried pork cutlet.
The pork is typically cut into thin, rectangular slices, then coated in a mixture of flour, egg, and bread crumbs before being deep-fried.
Tonkatsu is often served with a side of steamed white rice, and it can be also served with shredded cabbage. Tonkatsu is typically served with a sweet and savory Worcestershire-based sauce.
There are different types of tonkatsu, such as "hire" (fillet) tonkatsu, and "rosu" (loin) tonkatsu, fillet is leaner and more tender, while loin is fattier and more flavorful.
There are also variations of tonkatsu, such as "katsu-don", which is a bowl of steamed rice topped with tonkatsu and a savory egg-based sauce.
Tonkatsu is a popular dish in Japan, and it can be found at many restaurants, from casual to fine-dining.
It's also a common dish to make at home and is considered as a family-friendly dish.
Okonomiyaki is a type of savory Japanese pancake that can be made with a variety of ingredients.
The name "okonomiyaki" roughly translates to "grilled as you like it", which refers to the ability to customize the dish with your favorite ingredients.
The batter is typically made from wheat flour, eggs, and dashi (Japanese fish stock) and can include ingredients such as seafood, meats, and vegetables.
The most common ingredients for okonomiyaki are shredded cabbage, green onion, tempura scraps, and meat or seafood.
The ingredients are mixed into the batter and grilled on a hot plate or griddle.
After cooking, Okonomiyaki is topped with a variety of ingredients such as fish flakes, green onion, and a special okonomiyaki sauce.
Some variations of Okonomiyaki are Hiroshima-style, Osaka-style, and Tokyo-style.
Hiroshima-style is layered with yakisoba noodles, Osaka-style is mixed with yakisoba noodles, and Tokyo-style is mixed with a small amount of meat or seafood.
Okonomiyaki is a popular dish in Japan and often enjoyed at Okonomiyaki restaurants, where you can cook the pancakes yourself on a hot plate.
It's also considered as a comfort food and enjoyed as a casual meal.
Onigiri is a traditional Japanese food that consists of a ball of white rice formed into a triangular or cylindrical shape and often wrapped with seaweed (nori).
Onigiri is often filled with various ingredients such as fish, meat, or vegetables, and can also be left plain.
Some of the most common fillings include salmon, tuna, pickled plum (umeboshi), salted salmon (shio-zake), and dried bonito flakes (katsuobushi).
Onigiri is often considered as a convenient and portable food that is easy to eat on the go.
It's a popular lunch food among Japanese people, and also a popular food to bring when traveling or picnicking.
They can be found at convenience stores and supermarkets in Japan, and sometimes at Japanese restaurants and sushi bars outside of Japan.
Onigiri can be also made at home, it's a simple and easy to make dish, and it's a great way to use up leftover rice.
9. SHABU SHABU
Shabu-shabu is a type of Japanese hot pot dish that consists of thinly sliced meats, such as beef, pork, or lamb, and vegetables, cooked at the table in a pot of boiling water or broth.
The name "shabu-shabu" comes from the sound that the ingredients make as they are swirled in the pot.
The meat and vegetables are cooked by the diners in the pot, typically for a short period of time, so that the meat remains rare or medium-rare.
Once the meat and vegetables are cooked, they are typically dipped in a variety of sauces before eating, such as a ponzu sauce or sesame sauce.
Some popular vegetables to include in shabu-shabu are Napa cabbage, mushroom, carrot, and onion.
It's served with a bowl of rice and sometimes with dipping sauces such as goma (sesame) sauce, Ponzu sauce and so on.
It is often considered as a healthy and light meal and enjoyed as a communal meal.
Mochi is a traditional Japanese sweet made from glutinous rice.
It is made by steaming glutinous rice, then pounding it into a sticky, dough-like consistency.
The resulting mochi is then shaped into small balls or other forms, and can be filled with sweet fillings such as sweet bean paste, fruit, or ice cream.
Mochi is often used in traditional Japanese confectionery and also used in the traditional Japanese New Year's cuisine.
It is also used in many traditional Japanese festivals, such as the mochitsuki (mochi-pounding) festival.
It can be found in various forms such as sweet, savory and in different sizes.
Mochi has a chewy texture, and it's often enjoyed as a snack or dessert.