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10 Japanese Foods that You Must Try First Edition

Japanese food is one of the healthiest in Asia as it is mostly comprised of fish, seafood and vegetables.

Ebi Tempura

10-japanese-foods-that-you-must-try-first-edition

Ebi Tempura is one of the most popular Japanese dishes and is shrimp in batter that is deep fried.

Shrimps are peeled and de-veined and dipped into a batter mixture that may be as simple as flour and water or maybe a bit more complex with

flour, water, baking soda, salt, pepper, bread crumbs and monosodium glutamate.

The battered shrimps are then deep fried in cooking oil until they are golden yellow.

The crispy shrimps are then dipped in sauce that is a mixture of soy sauce, dashi (Japanese soup stock), radish, sugar and mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine).

What makes tempura amazing is the crispy outside and very soft and juicy inside.

Pork Katsudon

10-japanese-foods-that-you-must-try-first-edition

Pork Katsudon is a popular rice topping. It is what is considered as Japanese soul food or comfort food.

It features a cut of tender juicy pork coated in panko (Japanese bread crumbs) served with onions, a special sauce and eggs.

It is topped with spring onions.

The special sauce is a mixture of water, dashi (Japanese soup stock), soy sauce, mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine) and sugar.

Pork Katsudon is a simple dish yet incredibly satisfying.

Dorayaki

10-japanese-foods-that-you-must-try-first-edition

Doraemon may be a fictional character from the famous manga series written and illustrated by Fujiko Fujio but his favorite snack, dorayaki, is very much real.

Doraemon is a robot cat from the 22nd century who was sent back in time to help his owner's ancestor, Nobi Nobita, succeed so he can get a better life for himself and for future generations. Doraemon is armed to the teeth with futuristic gadgets which he uses to help Nobita solve his everyday problems.

Dorayaki is essentially a honey pancake sandwich. You have two fluffy mini pancakes with azuki bean filling in the middle.

The pancakes are made from eggs, sugar, honey, flour and baking powder.

The filling is red bean paste made from azuki beans.

Takoyaki

10-japanese-foods-that-you-must-try-first-edition

Takoyaki is one of Japan's most popular street foods. It is said to have originated from Osaka and soon its popularity spread throughout Japan. It literally translates to "grilled octopus."

They are octopus balls which are essentially balls of batter with octopus bits, green onions and tempura bits. These are then cooked in cast iron takoyaki pans which are either gas or electrically powered.

The cooked takoyaki balls are then placed on paper boats and then drizzled with mayonnaise and takoyaki sauce. They are then topped with bonito flakes (fish flakes) and seaweed strips /powder.

Takoyaki sauce is made out of Worcestershire sauce, mentsuyu (noodle soup base), ketchup and sugar.

This dish has a crisp exterior and soft and gooey interior.

Takoyaki is popular as a snack and goes great with beer.

Okonomiyaki

10-japanese-foods-that-you-must-try-first-edition

The concept of the okonomiyaki date back to the Edo period (1683-1868) but the dish gained a lot of popularity during World War 2 as there was a severe rice shortage. It translates to “grilled as you like it.”

Okonomiyaki is a savory pancake that allowed the Japanese to use whatever vegetables or proteins were available. This made it a very versatile and inexpensive dish and made it practical to eat during tough times.

The pancake base can be made using flour, eggs, baking powder, salt, sugar, yamaimo (mountain yam), dashi (Japanese soup stock), red pickled ginger and tenkasu (tempura scraps).

You can then add vegetables such as onions, corn, scallions, carrots and cabbage.

The protein can be any protein you wish such as beef, pork, chicken, shrimp or squid.

The pancakes are then drizzled in mayonaise and okonomiyaki sauce which is made out of Worcestershire sauce, oyster sauce, ketchup and sugar

They are then topped with bonito flakes (fish flakes) and seaweed strips /powder.

Kobe Steak

10-japanese-foods-that-you-must-try-first-edition

This is where the late great Laker legend Kobe Bryant got his name from.

Kobe's dad, Joe "Jellybean" Bryant loved Kobe beef so much that he named his son after the prized protein.

Kobe steak is perhaps one of the best steaks you would ever have in your life not to mention the most expensive.

This steak comes from Kobe beef which is from the Tajima strain of Japanese Black cattle which is raised in the Hyōgo Prefecture.

The reason for the high price is the scarcity of the beef. Only 3,000 heads per year qualify as Kobe beef.

The cows are also well taken care of. They are massaged daily with sake (rice wine), are fed the finest grain and beer and listen to classical music.

The result is beautifully marbled beef which is very buttery.

You can add salt, pepper and butter to further enhance your Kobe steak.

You can also add mashed potato, gravy and buttered vegetables for a more filling meal.

Miso Soup

10-japanese-foods-that-you-must-try-first-edition

Miso soup usually accompanies every meal and is very nutritious and healthy.

It is made by combining dashi (Japanese soup stock), miso paste, silken tofu and scallions.

Miso soup contains Vitamin B12, vitamin E, Vitamin K, folic acid, manganese, copper, zinc, magnesium, calcium and iron.

It also has probiotics (good bacteria) that help promote good digetive health.

Miso soup is said to improve digetive health and reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.

Yakitori

10-japanese-foods-that-you-must-try-first-edition

Yakitori are chicken or pork skewered on bamboo sticks.

They are marinated in soy sauce, mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine), sake (Japanese rice wine) and brown sugar.

They are then grilled over hot coals.

They symbolize fun times in Japan as they are usually served in pubs or in restaurants that also serve beer.

Ramen

10-japanese-foods-that-you-must-try-first-edition

Ramen is a Japanese noodle soup that contains Chinese wheat noodles, a soup base and toppings.

The soup base is comprised of meat or fish based broth, miso, garlic, ginger, shallots, sesame seeds, sesame oil, sugar, sake (Japanese rice wine), salt and pepper.

The toppings can be pork, beef, chicken, seafood, ramen egg, corn, nori (seaweed), scallions or narutomaki (fish cakes).

Ramen has gained popularity all over the world as most Japanese restaurants carry the dish.

Gyoza

10-japanese-foods-that-you-must-try-first-edition

Gyoza are pan-fired Japanese dumplings which are known for their crisp golden brown exterior and juicy soft interior.

The gyoza wrappers are made out of flour, salt and cornstarch.

These wrappers are then filled with ground pork, cabbage, scallions, shiitake mushrooms, garlic and ginger.

The cooked gyoza will then be dipped in a sauce comprised of sake (Japanese rice wine) and soy sauce.

© 2021 Jan Michael Ong

Comments

Jan Michael Ong (author) from Metro Manila, Philippines on May 11, 2021:

Thank you. Shrimp tempura is my favorite. I never liked the raw stuff though.

MG Singh from UAE on May 11, 2021:

I love Japanese food and whenever I get a chance in a restaurant always order for it, I liked reading your article; wonderful stuff.

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