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Chinese Food vs. Japanese Food

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Asian food is perhaps one of the most diverse cuisines in the entirety of the world. Each Asian country has their own cooking styles and ingredient preferences, making every Asian culinary experience a very special moment for any Western diner. Whilst there are some similarities between Chinese and Japanese food, there are also several differences that make these two cuisines so unique. Discover the differences between Chinese and Japanese food below:

What is Japanese Food Like?

Japanese food consists of traditional and regional produce, which over time, has developed with the social and economic changes. The traditional cuisine is based on rice dishes and miso soup at its core. Seasonal ingredients are also heavily utilised, even to this day, meaning that menus can adapt depending on what time of year it is.

Seafood is particularly popular in Japan where it is often served grilled or raw. In terms of side dishes, Japanese food incorporates fish, vegetables in broth and pickled vegetables. Japanese food incorporates light battered foods, accompanied with oriental rice or noodles. Broths are also favoured in Japan, the most common being fish or beef broths.

Japanese food is characterised as relatively light, particularly in comparison to Chinese food where grease and carbohydrates are utilised. As Japanese food tries to avoid these ingredients as much as possible, it is arguably healthier than Chinese food. And whilst Japanese food will include some rice, it is not to the extent of which this side dish is included within Chinese cuisine.

Nowadays, Japanese meals usually include a lot of fish, chicken and beef within their meals; however, the use of meat was shunned in ancient cooking. It wasn’t until the 1880s that meat-based dishes were introduced in Japanese cuisine when Japan modernised.

In 2011, Japan surpassed France in the leaderboard of the country with the most named Michelin-starred restaurants. It has held onto the title ever since.  

How is Japanese Food Cooked?

Japanese cooking includes the use of flat pans that are known as teppans. The teppans cook the ingredients at high temperatures, working similarly to a grill, which allows the food to crisp on the outside layer whilst remaining juicy and cooked on the inside. 

Japanese cuisine also features a lot of raw ingredients as part of their dishes, particularly seafood. Japanese food also incorporates the method of deep-frying; common choices include katsu and tempura.

What is Chinese Food Like?

Chinese food is considered an important part of their culture. The Chinese cuisine has influenced a lot of the food around Asia, particularly because of the country’s diaspora and its power in ancient history.

The Chinese climate and landscape can vary dramatically depending on where you are in the country, therefore the local ingredients available will depend on the location and thus shapes the dishes.

There are four main cuisines in China; these are Chaun, Lu, Yue and Huaiyana and these represent the west, north, south and east of the country. The Chinese utilise pork and beef meats within their meal options and use a lot of rice and noodles as the basis of their dishes.

The Chinese like to utilise a lot of herbs and spices within their dishes, as well as using an unusual combination of ingredients, and therefore Chinese food generates a lot of unique flavours. For each Chinese dish, the preparation, combination of flavours and presentation must be carefully considered. For every Chinese meal created, it must have to hold a ‘lucky’ name, and this is one of the main traditional important factors of the food. In addition to colour, smell, taste and nutritional benefits.

How is Chinese Food Cooked?

Chinese food preparation includes the use of a wok. The wok allows the ingredients to be fried evenly. The most common method of cooking is pan frying to allow the food to evenly cook from the inside out.

Unlike the Japanese, Chinese avoid raw foods in their offerings. However, they do utilise a lot of techniques in their cooking, which includes stir-frying, deep-frying, shallow-frying, braising, boiling, steaming and roasting.

The subtle, yet distinctive, differences in these two major Asian cuisines make the exploration of Asian dining exciting for those looking to taste new flavours and try new things. If you are new to Asian food, we hope our guide has helped and that you will go ahead to check out our recipes and try one for yourself!

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