Japanese food, for us, is one of the best cuisines in the world. We have had a love affair with the cuisine for a long time now and to this day it is still one of our favorites. That is actually an understatement. It is our favorite. We just can’t get enough of Japanese food that we have it as often as we can. One of the reasons why we love going to Japan is because we love their food. The nice thing about Japanese food is that they tend to lean towards the healthy side and we feel we can indulge in it without so much guilt. Healthy delicious food. Following are some of the Japanese dishes that have captured our hearts and our palates.
Japanese Sushi. We start off with the all-time favorite, the Japanese sushi. Sushi is basically vinegared rice mixed with raw fish or seafood and/or vegetables or fruits. Presentations can vary but the most common presentation we know is the one rolled with dried seaweed sheets called nori. Another variation is the temaki, a cone-shaped roll wrapped with nori, with the same variation of fillings. One favorite of ours is the futomaki, which is a large cylindrical sushi, also wrapped in nori, and with two or three fillings. Sushi is best eaten dipped in soy sauce laced with wasabi. Who doesn’t love sushi?
Sashimi. Sashimi is raw meat, typically fish, either salmon or tuna, which is sliced very thin and eaten raw. Some people mistakenly use the term sashimi and interchangeable and think that the two terms mean refer to the same thing. While sushi contains rice, sashimi is pure meat or fish. My personal favorite is fresh salmon sashimi. As in sushi, though, we like dipping sashimi in some soy sauce with wasabi.
Gyoza. Gyoza is Japanese dumpling made of ground pork and vegetables, usually cabbage, wrapped in chewy dough and pan fried till browned on both sides. This is much like the Chinese dumplings that we all know. I love dipping the gyoza in a sauce made of soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, sesame oil and some chili for that subtle kick. Yummy!
Chawan mushi. This is a steamed egg custard dish, not sweet but savory, with ingredients like shitake mushrooms, shrimps, fish cakes, and bonito flakes. The dish is I love it as the velvety smooth custard melts in my mouth and blends so well with these ingredients. This is actually one of the few Japanese dishes that is eaten with a spoon. We have tried several chawan mushi but I love the one that we had at a sushi house in Japan.
Ramen. Ramen is Japan’s version of the noodle soup and comes in different variants, with each variant different by its soup base. There is the shoyu whose broth is made with chicken, pork, beef or fish and is flavored with soy sauce. There is also the miso whose soup is flavored with, you guessed it right, miso, making the broth thick and rich. The shio has a simple clear broth flavored by salt and other meats. Another variant is the tonkotsu whose soup is made of pork bones that have been boiled slowly for a long time resulting in a white creamy broth. All variants have wheat noodles in them and are topped with pork, bamboo shoots, tamago or eggs, seaweed, bean sprouts, fish cakes and leeks. Comfort food at its best!
Soba Noodles. Soba noodles are noodles made of buckwheat flour and are served either cold with a dipping sauce or hot in a noodle soup. The variant we love most is the cold soba which we dip in a sauce with a soy sauce base. So delicious in its simplicity! The noodles are chewy which gives it that unique characteristic. We usually pair this with our favorite tempura or other fried Japanese delights.
Kobe beef. Kobe beef is a premium variety of beef raised in Japan’s Hyogo Prefecture. It is well known for its high levels of marbling that gives it that distinct flavor and tenderness. We like to have this grilled in front of us and eat it while it is still hot straight from the grill. The excellent marbling of the meat gives it that melt-in-your-mouth texture, so tender, juicy and so full of pure beef flavor. Just thinking of it now makes my mouth water. This is steak at its best really!
Tempura. I think we all know tempura. Tempura is a dish made of fried lightly battered seafood or vegetable. This light batter gives it that crunchy on the outside, juicy on the inside texture. Dipped in tempura sauce made of soy sauce, mirin, dashi and a little sugar, tempura tastes so good whether it is made of vegetables or seafood. Variations include shrimp, fish (usually what we know as asuhos), vegetables such as mushrooms, eggplant, sweet potatoes and a combination of vegetables sliced thinly called kakiage. We usually pair this with ramen which makes for a perfect meal!
Donburi. Donburi is simply what we refer to as rice topping or rice topped with some other viands on top of it. It comes in several variations. Oyakodon has chicken and egg as topping, katsudon (which I think is the most popular in our country) is made of pork and egg, gyudon is topped with thinly sliced flavorful beef, tendon which is topped with shrimp tempura and kakiage, and unadon which is topped with barbecued eel. A complete meal in itself!
Unadon. I know I have already mentioned unadon previously but I think I should write more about this dish as it really is a delicious dish. It is made up of steamed white rice topped with filleted slices eel glazed with a sweet soy sauce and grilled over charcoal. When we eat this at a restaurant, we usually request for more of the sweet soy sauce to pour over the fish and rice underneath and sprinkle some Japanese chili powder over it. The tender eel melts in your mouth and tastes so good.
Do you want to have a taste of authentic Japanese cuisine? Join us as we go on a fun-filled trip to Japan to enjoy these and other mouthwatering dishes. Click here for a fun-filled journey to food heaven http://pathwaystravelandtours.com/package/affordable-japan/