Introduction to Japanese Food

Although rice consumption in Japanese households is declining, rice is a staple of the Japanese diet. Rice cakes (mochi) are also commonly consumed. Japanese people even call each meal "gohan (steamed rice)", such as "asa (morning) - gohan" for breakfast. A bowl of rice is included in typical Japanese meals. Side dishes are called okazu and are served with rice and soup at the same time. A Japanese meal usually ends with drinking green tea. People in Japan generally eat three times a day: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Traditional Japanese breakfast consists of steamed rice, miso (soy bean paste) soup, and side dishes. Common side dishes are grilled fish, rolled omelet, pickles, dried seaweed, natto, salad, and more. Popular Japanese lunch dishes are rice bowls and various noodles. For example, beef bowls, soba noodles, ramen noodles, and udon noodles are popular. Many people bring bento (lunch boxes) to school or work. Popular lunch box menus are rice balls, sushi rolls, steamed rice, and various sandwiches. Dinner is the main meal in a day. You might be surprised by the variety of food available in Japan. You'll find that not only sushi or tempura is popular in Japan, but also Italian, Chinese, Korean, French, and American dishes. For example, spaghetti, hamburgers, and Korean BBQ are some of the most popular menu items among Japanese children. Modern Japanese dishes are highly influenced by other Asian and western countries. Japanese people adapted the cuisines to their eating habits, creating their own dishes from foreign fare. Japanese people distinguish traditional Japanese-style dishes as "Washoku" (Wa means Japanese-style and shoku means food) as opposed to Western foods, which are generally called "Yo-shoku" (Yo means western-style). Chinese dishes are called "Chuuka." Chuuka dishes in Japan are arranged in the Japanese-style and are often cooked at home. It's similar to authentic Chinese food, but has its differences. For example, ramen noodles originated in China, but ramen became a typical Japanese food. Essentials in Japanese Food Besides rice, seafood is highly consumed in Japan since the country is surrounded by oceans. Seaweed, fish, clams; fish cakes are essential ingredients in Japanese cooking. Dashi soup stock used in Japanese-style meals is made from katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes) or konbu (kelp). Other essential ingredients in Japanese cuisine include mushrooms, noodles, beans, ginger, and more. Essential seasonings in Japanese cuisine are soy sauce, mirin (sweet rice wine), miso (bean paste), sake (rice wine), rice vinegar, wasabi (Japanese horseradish), and so on. Regional Food You can't forget the regional food in Japanese cuisine. Japan is a small country, but each region or even a city has own specials. Mainly, there are Kanto (eastern area of the main island) region food and Kansai (western area of the main island) region food. Kanto region foods have strong taste. Kansai region foods are lightly seasoned. For example, the soup for udon noodles is dark in the Kansai region and is clear in the Kanto region. Many dishes are cooked differently between Kansai region and Kanto region. Regional ramen, which differs in type of soup stock, is established all over Japan. There are lots of regional Japanese foods. For example, okonomiyaki in Hiroshima, sanuki udon noodles in Kagawa, miso-katsu (deep fried pork with miso sauce) in Nagoya, kiritanpo in Akita, Kyo-ryori in Kyoto, goya chanpuru in Okinawa, and so on. Table Manners To eat Japanese-style meals, chopsticks are used. (Learn Japanese chopsticks manners) Also, Japanese people use forks, knives, and spoons, in addition to chopsticks. It depends on what type of food people are eating. (Learn how to eat Japanese food) Traditional Japanese table setting is to place a bowl of rice on your left and to place a bowl of miso soup on your right side at the table. Other dishes are set behind these bowls. Chopsticks are placed in front of rice and soup bowls, pointing left on a chopstick holder.

This product was added to our catalog on Monday 07 June, 2010.