Japanese Cuisine: Top 7 Foods to Try

Asian cuisine features a rainbow of delicious dishes and flavours that will tantalize anyone’s taste buds. In Japan, the geography lends itself to an expansive fishing industry. Seafood, along with beef, pork, chicken and numerous veggies, are used in a myriad of delicacies and comfort foods unique to the nation. Below are seven enticing dishes you’d me amiss to try out on a trip to Japan.

eating fugu, a type of sashimi, in Japan

Me about to eat fugu in Japan (very scared!)

deadly sushi japan

If cut incorrectly, this can kill you!

1. Ramen. Many people outside of Asia associate ramen with those little blocks of noodles in convenient plastic packages that are ready to munch in three minutes. However, true ramen is a rich comfort food that can be enjoyed in a seemingly endless amount of wonderful ways. Fresh ramen features a home-made broth that’s been simmered for hours, usually accompanied by delicate pieces of pork, beef, or seafood.

2. Shabu Shabu. There’s nothing like an interactive meal. Shabu means “swish” in Japanese. In this dish, one takes a thin slice of raw meat, usually beef, and swishes it through a pot of boiling water until cooked. Yummy sauces accompany the beef for convenient dipping.

3. Pork Buns. There are many variations of the pork bun, and some even utilize chicken or beef, but the basic format is the same. A pillowy dough encases savoury, flavourful pork  and vegetables, which is usually served with a dipping sauce.

4. Oden. A hodgepodge of components such as boiled eggs, octopus, fish cakes and daikon are stewed for hours in a stock. When ordering oden, you can request which mix of various ingredients you’d like.

5. Unagi. Unagi, or ‘eel’, is a delicious delicacy in Japan that’s popular for it’s very rich flavour and texture. Resembling fish fillets when prepared, it is often served grilled in a sweet sauce and served over rice. Perfect unagi has a lightly crispy texture while the inner meat is extremely tender.

6. Sushi. Sushi has gained immense popularity around the world, becoming something of a trend with the younger set. Sticky rice served with raw pieces of salmon and tuna is a very enticing and clean flavour to sushi newcomers.

7. Sukiyaki. This comfort food consists of simmered beef and veggies in a sweet soy sauce. Before eating, pieces of meat and vegetables are commonly dipped in a dish of beaten raw eggs.

One of the most mouth watering aspects of Japanese cuisine is the complex latice of flavour and texture that is often in harmonious opposition. Sweet sauces contrast with salty, savoury meats for a delicious marriage on your tongue. Foods that are crispy and fried on the outside also have a tender and juicy centre.

While many Japanese chefs are secretive of their finest recipes, there are also many simple variations you can try at home once you get a knack for the style of the cuisine.

When planning your trip to Japan, be sure to pack your appetite with you, as there are so many marvellous treats to choose from. Search “Japan airfares” in your browser to find the most cost efficient tickets and accommodations for your adventure.

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