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Japan, the East Asian island, is renowned for its many qualities, from the gorgeous natural landscapes to its striking cultural identity; there are many reasons why so many people love the country. Aside from its beautiful aesthetics and strong heritage, Japan offers the world a delicious cuisine that utilises fresh ingredients and fantastic taste combinations.
Whether you’re a self-proclaimed lover of Asian food or yet to try it, we have compiled a list of the ten ultimate Japanese dishes you need to sample in your lifetime.
The first dish on our list has to go to sushi, arguably the most iconic dish of the Japanese culture. Sushi, in basic terms, is simply raw fish served with rice that is lightly seasoned with a dash of vinegar. Sushi offers the taste buds a diverse range of flavours and textures that allow for an exciting eating experience. Despite current Western culture linking sushi with high-end dining, its origins are actually from an entirely different world, starting its life as simple street food; however, we are not surprised it is enjoyed by a range of clientele.
Sushi can be sampled in restaurants around the world or picked up in local supermarkets, however, we would recommend spending an evening making your own sushi for a truly immersive experience of Asian dining. To ensure you create authentic offerings, make sure you follow the five essential rules for sushi.
Noted as Japan’s favourite evening meal, Ramen must make it to your dining list. The dish is made up of egg noodles in a salty broth, with four major styles to choose from. Your selection for Ramen can be picked from the following: tonkotsu (pork bone), salt, soy sauce or miso.
One for the adventurous eaters among you, the term Unagi refers to a native river eel that is laced with a sweet barbecue sauce and grilled over a bed of burning charcoal. Folklore states that this dish is the perfect antidote to those who suffer in the blistering summers experienced in Japan. Furthermore, because of its well-established presence in Japanese cuisine, this delicacy is considered a classic and authentic Japanese dish that is reflective of the ‘old Japan’. If you want to experience this dish, chances are you have to take a holiday over to the amazing Asian country to source a restaurant that specialises in eel dishes. You can expect this dish to be on the menus from May to October.
A naughty addition to the list, the light and fluffy deep-fried seafood and vegetable combination is a dish everyone will fall in love with! Fried with a coat of sesame oil, and served with a side of salt or soy sauce broth.
Originating a few centuries ago, alongside the tea ceremony in Kyoto, Kaiseki is a number of small courses that utilise fresh ingredients and designed with the current season in mind. If you’re feeling inventive, why not order some authentic Japanese products from our store and try your hand at a Kaiseki meal?
What Japanese dining experience is complete without noodles? Soba are long and thin buckwheat noodles that have long been used amongst locals as a more cost-effective alternative to rice. Soba noodles are best-served piping hot and swimming in a soy-sauce broth, or at room temperature with a broth for dipping.
Shabu-shabu refers to thin slices of pork or beef that is dipped into a bubbling broth. Its interesting name is, in fact, an onomatopoeia for the sound it makes as the meat is swirled in the broth. A simple, but tasty dish.
Okonomiyaki is the epitome of Japanese comfort food; it is a savoury pancake that is filled with numerous things, however, the most common combination is cabbage and pork. The pancake is then topped with dried seaweed, mayonnaise and a Worcester-style sauce.
Tonkatsu dates back to the end of the 19th century, a time where Japan’s culture was heavily influenced by their Western neighbours. Although this dish originates from Europe, the Japanese take on the meal makes it a must-try. The dish is essentially a breaded, deep-friend and tender pork cutlet, and usually served with a miso soup and shredded cabbage on the side.
Yakitori are charcoal grilled chicken skewers that are perfectly paired with a cold hite beer. The chicken is traditionally seasoned with salt or tare (a super sweet soy-sauce). This is a perfect choice for anyone new to the cuisine.
If you’re feeling inspired to incorporate some Japanese cuisine into your diet, why not check out our online store today? You can purchase all the ingredients you need to create some of these dishes in your own home, meaning you can bring Japan to you!
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