Japan is one of the major countries in east Asia defined by Countryaah. Sushi is the first thing that comes to mind for many people, and sushi is a very popular dish in Japan.
However, Japanese cuisine is quite varied. Japanese food culture is based on fresh ingredients ranging from vegetables to fish and many different types of meat.
We’ve put together less than 7 Japanese dishes that every Japanese traveler needs to taste.
Ramen – ラ ー メ ン
Ramen may well be Japan’s answer to the classic Vietnamese Pho dish. Ramen servings are sold on almost every street in Japan.
This noodle soup with wheat noodles is often made in chicken broth and served with meat or fish, vegetables and boiled soy marinated egg. Vegetables typically used in cooking include mushrooms, bean sprouts and onions.
Countless different versions of Ramen soup are available. The most common is called Shoy, which uses soy sauce.
Ramen actually represents the whole of Japanese cuisine in the form of soup.
Note: When eating noodle soup, it is customary to grumble loudly. The habit is so common that you can almost find a noodle restaurant based on sound alone!
Sushi – す し, 寿司, 鮨
When you visit Japan, you can’t help but taste sushi.
Sushi is a luxurious and delicious dish that is available in many different forms and different flavor combinations.
Sushi consists of raw fish or seafood and rice, as well as various side dishes such as vegetables. The fillings of the sushi piece can be, for example, salmon, crab, shrimp, tuna and almost anything else.
Each piece of sushi is like a small work of art – a true masterpiece – and sushi experiments have the status of a master. Studying as a sushi chef takes as much as eight years, of which it takes up to three years to learn how to make perfect sushi rice.
Tempura – ら ぷ ら tai 天 麩 羅
Tempura is a delicacy fried in golden yellow, consisting of vegetables dipped in a thin dough and fish fried crispy in sesame or rapeseed oil. These simple mouthfuls are simply sinfully good.
Tempura is served with rice, soy sauce or tentsuy dipping sauce, for example.
Tempura is worth a try at a restaurant that specializes in this crunchy dish.
Dumplings / Gyoza – 餃子 (ぎ ょ う ざ)
Gyoza or dumplings are small juicy dough dumplings filled with crab meat, pork, beef, chicken or vegetables.
Delicious dumplings stuffed with meat or vegetables are dipped in soy, chili oil or other tasty sauces.
The Japanese often eat dumplings as a snack, but also as a main course. Appetizing little dumplings are also quite affordable.
Okonomiyaki – お 好 み 焼 き
Okonomiyaki is eaten all over Japan, but in western Japan it is a particularly popular dish. Okonomiyaki is worth a try in Hiroshima or Osaka, for example, whose versions of this flat dish are completely unique.
Okonomiyaki is reminiscent of flat bread with various ingredients piled on top. For example, cheese, wasabi, vegetables, meat or fish can be used as fillings.
The fillings vary from region to region, so different versions of okonomiyak are available across the country. The popular version in Hiroshima uses fried soba noodles.
In restaurants specializing in the dish, it is often possible to assemble and bake your own okonomiyaki according to your own taste.
Yakitori – 焼 き 鳥
Yakitori is a skewer made from chicken, and all parts of the chicken (e.g., skin, liver, thigh) are used for these delicious skewers. The pieces of meat are marinated, for example, in soy sauce, after which the skewers are fried on a charcoal grill.
Yakitori is worth tasting at the so-called yakitori-ya restaurants, which specialize in just this dish. Dishes are usually inexpensive, but they are also available in fine restaurants, albeit in slightly more expensive versions.
In Japan, there is a wide variety of yakitori dishes, the most famous of which are Negima with chicken thighs and leek, Reba made with chicken liver, and tsukune with chicken buns, spices, vegetables and egg.
Sukiyaki – す き 焼 き
Sukiyaki is a hotpot casserole. It is often brought to the table raw and cooked in a cast iron skillet while diners wait.
Sukiyak production begins with browning beef pieces cut into thin slices at the bottom of the pan, after which warishita broth and other ingredients based on sweet and savory soy sauce are added to the pan.
The ingredients used in Sukiyak vary from region to region, but common ingredients include tofu, vegetables and shiitake mushrooms. In some areas, an egg is added to the broth.
Want to experience a culinary Japanese experience?
Did the water rise to your tongue as you read the article? Want to get a taste of the many exciting and delicious dishes of Japanese cuisine? Nothing but going!
Take a look at the trips to Japan in our selection and contact our travel advisers if you have any questions about the trips or need help in choosing the most suitable trip for you.