Japan isn't only known for its fascinating history and culture but also for its delicious dishes. The country's food is notoriously nutritious and packed with flavor, making for a unique cuisine that continues to develop over time.
From fresh seafood to pickled vegetables and from perfectly-cooked noodles to rich broths, there are so many dishes to try in Japan that go beyond the usual rice and fish! The only dilemma you'll be facing when trying Japanese cuisine is knowing where to start. With the vast choices and types of food from its traditional culture or inspired by other countries, it can get tough choosing what to indulge in first.
Are you planning on visiting Japan soon or want to get your fix of its authentic cuisine? Then read on as I share with you five mouthwatering dishes from Japan you must try to get a real taste of this excellent cuisine! Number five will definitely surprise you!
When you hear the word Japan, doesn’t sushi automatically come to your mind? Well, that is expected. But, did you know that sushi was first mentioned in China in the second century AD? It only made its way to Japan by the seventh century.
Although it can be a common food to try during your visit, believe me, you would definitely love to experience eating this authentic Japanese food right at the center of Japan. Sushi comes in different varieties, but one ingredient is common among them all – vinegared rice.
Ramen is another staple dish that you can feast on. With the different types of ramen based on the type of the broth being used, you will never run out of appetizing choices. Indulge yourself in a ramen made with shoyu (soy sauce), shio (salt), miso, tonkotsu (pork), and more (oil-based sauce, dried fish, etc.).
If you’re in Japan, you’ll be surprised to see different ramen restaurants where you choose the type of ramen that you want at a vending machine.
Introduced to Japan by the Portuguese in Nagasaki during the 16th century, tempura has evolved over the centuries into a well-loved Japanese food popular both in and out of Japan. Basically, tempura is prepared by dipping pieces of seafood and vegetables in eggs, water and flour, and then deep-fried in vegetable oil.
You can find tempura in many types of restaurants in Japan, where it is commonly served as a main dish, side dish or as a topping for soba or udon noodles, or tendon rice bowls. If you want to try the best tempura, then you should head straight to specialized tempura restaurants called “tempura-ya.”
4. Chanko nabe
Originally, chanko nabe was the one-pot dish eaten by sumo wrestlers for their weight gain diet. Nowadays, you can eat this tasty delicacy in restaurants operated by retired sumo wrestlers. It is a hot-pot dish made from seasoned broth, seafood, vegetables and/or tofu. The broth is made from soy sauce, sake and mirin, so you don’t need a dipping sauce. The ingredients are cooked in the broth, which is why there is no oil in cooking chanko nabe.
Take a look at this video so you can feel the vibe around the sumo area in Tokyo and you can appreciate chanko nabe even more:
You might have tried eating hot soba, but how about cold soba noodles? That is one Japanese food that you should not miss. Soba noodles are made from buckwheat flour, are roughly as thick as spaghetti, and are prepared in various hot and cold dishes. You can eat these scrumptious noodles with savory side dishes and toppings, and they go very well with tempura.
If you’re concerned about slurping, don’t worry, it is very much okay to slurp noodles in Japan. In fact, it is considered rude if you don’t.
That’s a wrap for now! Are you starting to hear the gurgling sounds inside your stomach after imagining yourself in a gastronomic feast in Japan? If you are heading to Tokyo, it's best to stay in a centrally located Tokyo hotel so that all these Japanese foods can be within easy reach.
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