Skip to main content

All About Japanese Food, From Sashimi, Sushi to Street Food Like Yakitori

  • Author:
  • Updated date:
intro-to-japanese-food

Japanese food is very popular these days among health conscious Americans and those that enjoy authentic Asian food. Not only does it look like a piece of art, it tastes great and is low in calories. But do you really know about Japanese food? Most people are aware of sushi and ramen. But, Japanese food has lots of variety that you have never had before. This hub talks about the authentic Japanese food that the local people eat in Japan everyday. This list will sure to make your mouth water!

Sushi

Sushi is one the most well known Japanese food in the west and elsewhere in the world. It is a piece of cooked vinegar rice and a slice of usually raw seafood on top. Certain types of sushi are wrapped in seaweed while other types are served as is. There are many different kinds of sushi because you can use a variety of different seafood or even meat toppings. People usually eat it with soy sauce and wasabi. In Japan, sushi comes in every price level from supermarket lunch box sushi to high-end Michelin star restaurants that serve the finest fish available in the country. One of the most celebrated sushi is made from the fattiest part of the tuna fish. This sushi is called Otoro. The fish is marbled and has a very good amount of fat for a melt in your mouth texture. To experience authentic sushi and not break the bank, go for a high quality sushi conveyor belt restaurant in Tokyo.

intro-to-japanese-food

Sashimi

This is a piece of raw seafood or meat that is presented by itself and eaten with dipping sauce. This is considered Japan's finest meal because the best sashimi needs to be made from the freshest ingredients. There are lots of varieties here because a lot of seafood and meat can be eaten raw or semi-cooked in Japan. One of the most exotic sashimi served in Japan is Fugu or puffer fish. This fish is highly toxic and can only be prepared properly by a certified chef. Sashimi is similar to sushi but is prepared without the vinegar rice. This dish is good for those that are watching their carbohydrate intake.

intro-to-japanese-food

Noodles - Ramen, Soba, Udon and Yakisoba

Noodles are everyday meals that Japanese people love. The soba is a buckwheat noodle that is either served cold in a modified soy based dipping sauce or hot as a noodle soup. Traditionally, the soba is eaten on New Year's Day in Japanese families. Ramen are noodles that are served in a meat or fish based broth with a variety of different toppings. There are lots of ramen shops in Japan and many people eat it for lunch or dinner. With a piece of fatty pork, vegetables and noodles, this bowl of piping hot Japanese ramen will warm you right up during the cold winter months. Udon is fat wheat noodles that you can eat in a noodle soup or cooked stir fried. Yakisoba is widely served in Japanese restaurants. These noodles are often served stir fried at summer festivals. In Japan, noodles are quick and delicious meals that people love to eat everyday.

dipped ramen

dipped ramen

ramen

ramen

ramen

ramen

hot soba

hot soba

cold soba

cold soba

yakisoba

yakisoba

udon

udon

Japanese Curry

In Japan, curry over rice is very popular and eaten regularly. Unlike Indian and southeast Asian curries, Japanese curry has its own unique taste profile. Nevertheless, Japanese curry is adapted from authentic Indian curry but modified to fit the Japanese taste. It is inexpensive, delicious and widely available in Japan. Curry over rice is a favorite food among Japanese children. Be sure to give it a try when you are in Japan! Although mostly cooked with chicken, beef or pork, vegetarian options are increasingly available in Japanese curry restaurants.

intro-to-japanese-food

Takoyaki

These are little balls of pieces of octopus that are battered and cooked. They are topped with some okonomiyaki sauce, Japanese mayonnaise, aonori seaweed and bonito (fish) flakes. These little bit size snacks are street food that is extremely popular in Japan. When you visit the city of Osaka, be sure to grab a plate of these to experience the authentic Japanese street food experience. Osaka is the birthplace of this little snack.

intro-to-japanese-food

Green Tea, Red Bean and Black Sesame Ice Cream

Aside from many traditional ice cream flavors that most dessert shops offer, Japanese confectionary shops often have green tea, red bean and black sesame ice cream on the dessert menu as well. These three Asian ice cream have unique flavors when compared to other types of ice cream. The green tea or matcha ice cream has distinctive green tea flavor that is slightly sweet and balanced with rich milk. The red bean ice cream is a classic of East Asian culture. Traditionally used as a dessert filling, the red bean and its paste can be made into ice cream as well. The black sesame has sesame flavor and it's only subtly sweet. All three ice cream flavors deserve a try!

intro-to-japanese-food
Scroll to Continue

Gyoza - Japanese Dumplings

This is the Japanese version of the Chinese dumplings. These are similar to the Chinese version. They are made from thin pieces of dough with filling (meat, seafood or vegetables in many different combinations) that are pressed together at the edges. In Japan, they are usually eaten with soy sauce and chili (hot) oil. Dumplings are very common in Japan and you will be able to find them almost anywhere in the country.

intro-to-japanese-food

Donburi

This is a bowl of steamed white rice with condiments on top. Yoshinoya is a fast food restaurant that specializes in beef donburi. The beef brisket is very thinly sliced and cooked in a soy based sauce that is enhanced with plenty of onions. After the meat and onions are simmer in the rich sauce, a layer is added to freshly cooked white rice. This is Japanese comfort food! A more expensive type of donburi is called unadon. This is grilled eel served over white rice. Some restaurants specialize in this dish and even earned Michelin stars with their delicious tasting fresh eel.

intro-to-japanese-food
intro-to-japanese-food

Yakizakana

This is Japanese style grilled fish or meat. Traditionally, they grill many different types of fish or meat. The taste is very mild and seasoning is light. There are some Japanese restaurants that specialize in this type of cuisine with an irori (Japanese fireplace). The dining experience is usually a selling point of the restaurant. The food is cooked right in front of you in an irori. This type of dining is really experiencing traditional Japanese culture through its fine cuisine.

intro-to-japanese-food

Tempura

Tempura is Japanese deep fried food. This dish is very common in Japan and available in every city. The chef can utilize different types of ingredients such as fish, shrimp and vegetables for the tempura. The ingredients are dipped in a light batter and fried to perfection. It can be served alone on a plate or as topping for a bowl of white rice. Restaurants that specialize in tempura make this fried food an experience in itself. The ingredients are coated with a very thin coat of batter and cooked to perfection. Japanese tempura makes western fried food seem excessively oily and not enjoyable to eat.

intro-to-japanese-food
intro-to-japanese-food

Miso Soup

The miso soup is consumed in Japanese households everyday. In its simplest form, it includes white or red miso paste (fermented soy beans), bonito fish stock, scallion and tofu. Other ingredients such as meat, fish, vegetables or mushroom can be included as well. Many supermarkets sell instant miso soup blocks to help busy Japanese people make this soup very easily. Just add hot water to the pre-made miso soup block and you will have miso soup.

intro-to-japanese-food
intro-to-japanese-food

 Matcha - Japanese Green Tea

This is a traditional Japanese drink that is loved by Japanese and foreigners alike. The delicate green tea powder is added to a bowl along with water. The specialized bamboo whisk turns it into the perfect consistency for drinking. This slightly bitter drink is often paired with Japanese style sweets to balance the taste. Nowadays, matcha powders are incorporated in many desserts and snacks. But the purest way to enjoy it is through a cup of authentic Japanese matcha green tea.

intro-to-japanese-food

Izakaya Restaurant

Japanese culture is very unique and the types of restaurants there are interesting to say the least. If you want to try different Japanese food all at one time, the izakaya restaurant is a great place to do that. This type of restaurant serves a variety of food in small bites. You can find grilled skewers, fried foods, noodles, salads, sushi, sashimi and more. Aside from the awesome food that is available at this type of restaurant, you also have an extensive alcohol list. This is a Japanese style pub that people socialize with their friends after work.

intro-to-japanese-food
intro-to-japanese-food
intro-to-japanese-food

Comments

livingsta from United Kingdom on November 29, 2012:

Wow...that was a very interesting read. I tried Japanese Sushi for the first time last year on my birthday and it was Yum! Thank you for the hub, loaded with information and beautiful pictures! Voted up interesting and sharing!

Denise Handlon from North Carolina on November 29, 2012:

This is an interesting hub with excellent photos. Thanks so much for sharing. I rated it UP/U/I and will share. :)

Susette Horspool from Pasadena CA on November 13, 2012:

This was very comprehensive. Thank you. I posted a hub today on sushi that had a photo with yakitori in it, but I didn't know the name. Now I do. I'm going to link your hub to mine, if that's ok.

JapanLover on May 11, 2012:

This food looks so delicious. I love Japanese food and am going over soon to try even more of this delicious food.

Related Articles