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What is 一汁三菜(Ichiju Sansai)?

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Hello everyone! Thank you for reading my article!

I’m a Japanese writer, blogger, and podcaster based in the UK.

Are you interested in Japanese food? Have you ever wondered why a lot of Japanese people are healthy? Today, I will introduce一汁三菜(Ichiju Sansai), Japanese traditional style of meal?

Japanese food culture has been inscribed on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List.

There are four characteristics of Japanese food culture that have been inscribed on the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage

1. respect for the diversity and freshness of ingredients and their flavours

2. a healthy diet with a good nutritional balance

3. the expression of the beauty of nature and the changing of the seasons

4. a close relationship with annual events such as the New Year

The Japanese style of eating, in which one soup and three vegetables are prepared using the umami of dashi and miso, a fermented seasoning, provides an ideal nutritional balance and is something that Japan can be proud of.

What is 一汁三菜(Ichiju Sansai)?

“One soup, three vegetables" is the basis of Japanese food. In Japanese we call it “一汁三菜(Ichiju Sansai)”. It is a meal consisting of rice, a staple food for Japanese people, with soup and three vegetables (okazu). It is a well-balanced meal that provides the body with the nutrients it needs for optimal health.

Staple food

Provides carbohydrates as a source of energy.

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In the case of Japanese food, rice is the basic food.



For Japanese food, miso soup is basic. the usual choice.

Three dishes

Made up of one main dish and two side dishes.

These are the side dishes that make the main meal taste good.

It also supplements the nutrition that is lacking in the main meal and soup alone.

One dish for main and side dishes makes eating out a 'one soup, three dishes'

The Japanese diet is based on the concept of three vegetables in one soup (rice, soup and three side dishes). By combining a variety of dishes, you can get a good balance of different nutrients, which is why it is said to be good for your health. Of course, in order to get the most out of your meal, it is important to avoid duplication of ingredients and cooking methods, and to get the full range of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre.

In particular, make sure you get plenty of vegetables, potatoes, beans, mushrooms and seaweed, all of which are often in short supply. And of course, remember to keep your food light and low in salt. Make sure you have a measuring spoon to measure your food and spices to make sure your food is tasty and healthy. Eating out a lot tends to overload your diet with salt, fat, sugar and calories. If possible, choose a set meal with a number of side dishes, or a hot pot or stew that is full of ingredients and serves as both a main and side dish. Side dishes such as boiled or stewed vegetables and salads are also a good idea.

Trivia of healthy diets

It is not necessary to eat three vegetables in one soup for every meal, but it is ideal to eat two meals a day that contain a good amount of vegetables.

Breakfast in particular is an important meal as it wakes up the sleeping brain and other organs of the body and provides energy for the day.

Let’s start our day off with one bowl of soup and three vegetables for breakfast!

© 2021 Yuzu

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