Japanese Food Culture: 9 Examples of Amazing Japanese Cuisine

Japanese Food Culture Sushi
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Japanese food culture is undoubtedly one of the most sophisticated and varied in the world. This isolated island country has had to make do with the food that can be found in the surrounding seas, creating a unique set of dishes that are now famous around the world. With keen attention to detail, the Japanese have invented the world’s best-loved meals.

You can probably get Japanese food where you live. However, this won’t be the authentic taste of Japan. To experience that, get on a flight and head over to this amazing country. Only there can you taste the amazing flavors that come out of this part of Asia.

Are you interested in learning more about Japanese food culture? Then keep reading. Below you’ll find nine amazing examples of Japanese cuisine. This will open your eyes to a whole new way of looking at and experiencing food.

Shabu-Shabu

Shabu shabu: a staple of Japanese food culture
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Shabu-shabu is a dish that epitomizes what Japanese food culture is all about. It’s a kind of hotpot that contains delicately and thinly sliced meat along with boiled vegetables. The name actually originates from the sound the food makes as it’s stirred around and cooked in the pot. This cooking process will often happen in front of the consumer.

Each element of the dish is prepared individually by the chef in front of the customer. The meat, usually beef, goes in first because it needs to cook the longest to become tender. Then vegetables like carrots are added, before finally quickly frying up some tofu and onions. It’s all about timing it to perfection. Once all the solids have been eaten, use your rice to soak up the remaining stock that’s left in the pot.

Gyoza

Gyoza is a kind of Japanese dumpling
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Dumplings are a common dish found around the world, including countries as diverse as Portugal and Poland. The best ones, though, probably come from Asia. Japan, in particular, has made good use of the dumpling. They call it gyoza and it’s a must-try if you’re ever in the country. Whether at a cheap food stall or a fancy restaurant, they’ll be made to perfection.

They contain a vast array of fillings so try them all or stick to the ingredients you like. You can try them with beef, pork, or seafood. Vegetarians should be sure to try the vegetable-filled gyoza, which are equally as delicious. If you want a surprisingly filling snack, then this is your best bet.

Wagashi

Try this delicious Japanese wagashi treat
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Symbolizing the true uniqueness of Japanese cuisine, you just have to try some wagashi. Japanese food includes plenty of meat and fish but these are usually plant-based, meaning that they’re perfect for vegans. Packed with sugar, these traditional Japanese confections are ideal if you have a sweet tooth.

They’re made to be looked at as much as they are to be eaten. That’s why they’re usually colorful and made into pleasant shapes, like flowers. You’ll find them served with a side of fruit – I guess to trick yourself into thinking you’re being healthy – along with plenty of green tea. For centuries, the Japanese had no candy, instead using fruit as a treat. Once the sugar trade began with China, though, confections like these really took off and remain popular to this day.

Sushi

Sushi is quintessential Japanese food culture
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Nothing screams Japanese food culture quite like sushi. It’s everything you need, wrapped up into one bite-size package. It’s uniquely Japanese as well, meaning you won’t find authentic sushi in food from Bali, China, Korea, or anywhere else in Asia. If you’ve never tried it, then give it a go. The food is so popular globally that you can find amazing sushi restaurants in Europe or America – although it won’t be the same.

Traditionally, it starts with some rice seasoned with vinegar, sugar, and salt. To this, add some vegetables and seafood. Roll it all up together and you’ve got a flavor explosion waiting to happen. These days, vegetarian and vegan versions are becoming increasingly common. Naturally, though, raw seafood is the most traditional way to consume this amazing Japanese dish.

Tempura

Tempura is delicious Japanese food
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In the winter months, when you’re looking for something decadent and indulgent, fried food is often the way to go. Although the Japanese tend to deal with delicate flavors, they do reserve some room for deep-frying. While in Japan, you just have to order some of the tempura. Introduced to Japan in the simple century, tempura batters vegetables and seafood before deep-frying them to create a deliciously crispy exterior.

This food is best served fresh out of hot oil. Dip it in some sauce for flavor, then be careful not to burn your mouth and ruin your taste buds. This is a real treat and certainly not the healthiest option. However, it reveals the true diversity of Japanese food culture. Try to find a high-quality restaurant that can serve you the best version of tempura.

Tamagoyaki

Why not try Tamagoyaki while in Japan?
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You’ve probably had an omelet before but tamagoyaki is a unique Japanese twist on this classic dish. Fried eggs are rolled together to make a distinctive cuboid shape. This is then placed in a pan and cooked so that all the ingredients combine together. To the egg, chefs will often add soy sauce and vegetables.

If you’re used to having eggs for breakfast, then this is how you can consume the same meal in Japan. It’s a unique way of preparing a dish that is loved around the world. The taste and texture is a little different but many people find they prefer this Japanese style of omelet.

Ramen

Ramen is simple but satsifying food from Japan
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If you’ve ever been a student, then you’re probably intimately familiar with ramen. It’s a dirt-cheap staple of Japanese cuisine and has become a favorite for anyone looking for quick and easy meals on a strict budget. In essence, ramen is nothing more than a blank canvas onto which you can add the most incredible flavors.

The noodle soup is just the base. Make sure you flavor it with fish broth, soy sauce, and other toppings such as pork. Ramen is great street food but it can also be more sophisticated. Go to a fancy Japanese restaurant to discover the amazing potential of this deceptively simple dish. You’ll be amazed at what a well-trained Japanese chef can do with some noodles.

Sashimi

Sashimi is the best of Japanese food culture
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For Westerners, sashimi is a strange concept. Considered a Japanese delicacy, it consists of thin slices of completely raw meat and fish. In the West, we often fear raw animal flesh but in Japan, it’s considered perfectly safe. When prepared properly, this makes for a uniquely delicious treat. We strongly recommend you at least give it a try.

The key is to use the freshest and highest-quality ingredients you can get your hands on. Commonly, it consists of squid, octopus, salmon, and shrimp. To eat, simply dip the food in some soy sauce and pop it in your mouth. Despite the simplicity of this dish, it often tastes exquisite. Sashimi is the ultimate luxury food but can also be eaten as a quick snack.

Miso Soup

Japanese people love miso soup
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A simple yet satisfying dish, miso soup is one of Japan’s most widely consumed dishes. It’s often eaten for breakfast but you can have it at any time. At its core, miso soup consists of miso paste and broth. To this, you can add any ingredients that you fancy. Usually, this includes local seasonal vegetables and seaweed. Like with most Japanese dishes, it’ll come with a side of rice to mop up any remaining liquid.

When you stay in Japan, you’ll find miso soup everywhere. After a while, it’ll become a staple of your diet. It’s quick and incredibly cheap to prepare but offers plenty of energy and nutrients to keep you feeling healthy. You can even buy packets of instant soup, sold as a powder, which is surprisingly delicious.

What is traditional food in Japan?

Japanese food tends to be simple but cooked to perfection. Rice is the staple and forms the base of many meals. On top of this, the Japanese use their surrounding waters to make delicious seafood.

What is Japan’s most popular food?

Japanese cuisine has taken over cities around the world with many people loving the amazing flavors that this style of food generates. The most popular food has to be sushi, which can be found in almost every country on Earth.

What is a traditional breakfast in Japan?

Japanese breakfast is probably different from what you’re used to, often consisting of rice, miso soup, and pickled vegetables. It might seem unusual but this food is bursting with energy to set you up for the day.

What makes the food in Japan unique?

Attention to detail is at the heart of Japanese cuisine. Chefs are dedicated to taking simple items – such as rice and fish – and turning them into something sublime. This longstanding respect for fresh ingredients and delicate flavor combinations sets Japanese food apart from the rest of the world.

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