THE 34 MUST-TRY JAPANESE DISHES IN 2023

THE 34 MUST-TRY JAPANESE DISHES IN 2023

Japan has contributed significantly to the culture of other Western countries over the past few decades. In addition to revolutionizing cars, computers, and cartoon characters, Japan has also introduced us to a delicious and highly unique cuisine. Outside of Japan, Japanese cuisine is often restricted to just a few dishes (such as sushi and ramen), but the island's variety of options and culinary precision produce impeccable dishes that satisfy every aspect of dining. They are not only fresh and delicious, but they also have a healthy diet. Japanese food is associated with lower rates of cardiovascular disease and obesity, as well as a longer life expectancy. There is a great deal of respect within the country for the dietary lifestyle and traditional dishes, and they have been recognized internationally. Apart from history and tradition, Japan has a vibrant culinary scene and is consistently rated as one of the best food countries in the world. The country's cuisine is known to be a special passion among chefs. However, Japanese meals need not be fine dining to be exceptional. These 30 Japanese dishes are worth trying.

Sushi & Sashimi

It combines two categories, each with a wide range of options. Both sushi and sashimi are commonly served together as two of the more popular Japanese dishes. If one does not take notice of the importance of seafood in Japanese cuisine, it is easy to forget that Japan is an island country. In sashimi, raw fish is sliced thin and served with soy sauce, wasabi, and daikon radish. Among the possible protein choices are tuna, salmon, flounder, shrimp, and squid. As can be seen, sashimi does not include seaweed, rice, or other ingredients - it keeps things simple. Sushi, on the other hand, can be translated as vinegared rice. Essentially, the rice is paired with raw seafood and rolled up in seaweed to make it easier to handle. Sushi restaurants, on the other hand, provide a virtually unlimited range of options for adding fillings. There are a variety of extras that can accompany raw fish outside of Japan, such as fish roe, eggs, and vegetables. Sushi is best paired with pickled ginger, wasabi, and soy sauce for the full experience.

Takoyaki

Tacoyaki, also known as octopus balls, is an authentic Japanese street food you have to try. The meat of an octopus is usually seasoned with pickled ginger and green onions and coated in a wheat flour batter, which is then rolled into a ball. Following that, the spheres are grilled in a special pan with rounded indentations for holding them. Topping the cooked balls with takoyaki sauce is similar to Worcestershire sauce, Japanese mayonnaise, and dried bonito flakes (fish flakes). This may seem like a lot, but the doughy balls combine a juicy filling with a creamy, sweet, and salty coating that makes it difficult to eat just one. Thanks to the fact that they are always sold in multiples, you will not have to settle for less than you expected.

Yakiniku

Yakiniku, which means grilled meat in Japanese, encompasses a wide range of items. Western barbecue traditions and Korean grilled specialties like bulgogi and galbi inspired its development post-World War II. Among all kinds of meat, wagyu beef is prioritized for its quality. There are also other options, such as short ribs, sirloin, tongue, sausages, chicken, pork, lamb, seafood, and vegetables. As a result of the high quality of the foundational ingredients, very little seasoning is added - often just salt and miso. Although modern chefs are paving the way for experimental flavors, both pre-grilling and dipping sauces can be incorporated. Grilled meat can be enjoyed with leafy green lettuce for a fresh, crunchy contrast to the umami-rich meat.

Curry Rice/Kare Raisu

Japanese curry is known as kare or Kare Raisu, a yoshoku dish that was introduced to the Japanese by the British during the Meiji era (1868-1912). Despite the fact that you may not associate curry with Japan, most Japanese people eat the dish on a regular basis, and it is frequently ranked among their favorite foods. Due to its ease of preparation, curry became popular among large groups, and eventually, premade curry mixes were available for quick home cooking. A Japanese style of cooking is thick, sweet, and rarely spicy. A comforting meal can be found in many different styles across the country, as each region perfects its own version. Curries are often prepared in Japanese homes using curry roux; solid blocks of Japanese curry paste that melt into the stew to create a flavorful curry sauce. There are many different types of curries. One of the most popular is the one topped with a breaded pork cutlet and served with rice and sauce. Ingredients commonly included in this dish include carrots and meat, usually pork or beef. In a contrast to the rich curry, sweet pickles and scallions are commonly served.

Tempura

Tempura is the Japanese version of fried food that is shared worldwide. The dish originated with the Portuguese in the 16th century, who made it a habit to lightly flour and fry their food. A variety of fish, vegetables, and meat can be found in Japan, including sweet potatoes, shrimp, and mushrooms. The batter content and fat used in frying tempura continued to evolve over the centuries following its introduction. Each region of the country prepares the dish differently, and whereas flour, eggs, and water make up the batter in the east, eggs are not used in the west. Tempura is usually fried at high heat in sesame oil in the eastern area, while it is fried at low heat in vegetable oil in the western region. A variety of toppings may be used to season the fried snacks, including dipping sauces, daikon radish, and salt. The fried delicacy can even be paired with noodle soups if you have an appetite for the larger portions known as tendon. On top of rice, the tendon is served with a sweet and salty sauce, pickles, and miso soup.

Yakitori

If If you are familiar with the Japanese language, then you will understand that yakitori refers to grilled birds. In the present day, the term refers to skewered meats and vegetables cooked on a grill; chicken is the most common version. There has traditionally been more emphasis on yakitori made from chicken offal, though you can probably get away without even realizing it thanks to the sweet soy and mirin glaze often used. Many regional variations exist among other types of yakitori seasoned simply with salt. The typical ingredients of this dish include chicken, pork, mushrooms, leeks, and even seafood. Historically, skewers have been a popular street food snack since the late 19th century. Furthermore, Yakitori restaurants that specialize in grilled snacks are popular with after-work crowds looking for a quick snack over a beer. A variety of yakitori dishes can also be found at izakayas, a type of pub-style restaurant that serves small dishes. It does not matter how many skewers you order or how many there are, yakitori always makes for a satisfying meal.

Onigiri

The onigiri is an easy-to-grab snack you can grab on the go. These rice balls (more triangular than round) are very versatile and customizable and even serve as a nourishing meal. As a matter of fact, they are frequently served as breakfast items, in bento boxes for lunch, and are frequently consumed late at night. The dish of onigiri has been around for over 2000 years, and there is nothing new about it. Besides rice in the shape of a triangle, the dish also contains a filling such as pickled apricot, plum, grilled fish, fish roe, meat, or vegetables, with local and seasonal variations. To prevent the rice from drying out, it is often wrapped in nori leaves (seaweed), while other types are sprinkled with sesame seeds. Onigirazu is a cross of onigiri sandwiches inspired by a manga from the 1980s that incorporates Western-influenced fillings.

Fugu

Perhaps you consider yourself to be a daring individual, but would you eat something that has the potential to kill you? Savoring fugu is like playing Russian roulette. The fugu, also known as blowfish, contains a neurotoxin that inhibits nerve impulses throughout the body. A heart that ceases to respond to nerve signals will result in paralysis and death. Despite its current status as an item of luxury, fugu first came into existence as a result of a lack of food. Toxic components must be extracted precisely by a chef who has spent two to three years learning how to do so. There has been an increase in the number of farms producing fugu, which results in fish that do not contain any detectable toxins. There is still a great deal of exclusivity associated with wild fugu. It is typically served in thin slices or in a hot pot dish. If you're willing to jump into the unknown, you can enjoy fugu sashimi style. The texture is firm yet delicately chewy, and there is a subtle sweetness to the product. It is rich in collagen. Serve it with ponzu dipping sauce, green onions, daikon, and chili peppers.

Ramen

While ramen may have been introduced to many people via cheap instant noodles, there is much more to this noodle dish than meets the eye. The soup originated in China, however, ramen-ya (ramen restaurants) have become increasingly popular in Japan since their introduction. It is important to note that there are many variations of ramen, but in essence, it is composed of a seasoning (tare), broth, noodles, and toppings. Various bases can be used for the brother, including soy sauce (shoyu), soybeans (miso), pork bone (tonkatsu), and salt (shio). There is no limit to how much broth can be used in traditional establishments, and the broth is constantly being regenerated. There are many types of noodles, but the most common are wheat-based noodles, which vary in thickness and stretchiness. In hot broth, ramen noodles are unique because of their alkaline pH level, which prevents them from dissolving or becoming too soft. The noodle soup is topped with fatty chunks of braised pork, and corn, seaweed, bamboo, eggs, tofu, and bean sprouts are also common ingredients. An incredibly nourishing dish such as ramen brimming with hearty ingredients is hard to imagine.

Donburi

As the name suggests, donburi is a bowl. It contains a base of rice along with popular toppings such as chicken, beef, breaded pork cutlets, raw seafood, grilled eel, eggs, and tempura. It is possible to choose from a variety of bowls. Katsudon is a pork cutlet bowl, and gyudon is a beef bowl. A variety of additional ingredients can be added to a don depending on its style and if the chef is exploring creative options. However, contrasting flavors are used frequently, such as pickled ginger or daikon radishes. The contents of the bowl are often seasoned with sugar, soy sauce, mirin, and dashi-based sauce. It is a simple, straightforward take on fast food that is popular in Japan. Thanks to its practical format, donburi has been around since some time between the 14th and 16th centuries. Chopsticks and a large spoon are both appropriate utensils for eating this dish.

Tamagoyaki

There are many benefits to eating the Japanese version of the egg dish, in addition to the fact that it is both delicious and aesthetically pleasing. Eggs are whipped with mirin, sugar, and soy sauce before being folded over themselves as they cook rather than fried in a pan. This preparation is carried out using a rectangular tamagoyaki pan that produces a light and tender tubular omelet. This roll is often served in a bento box, or you may find it served with rice as sushi. Even though the basic tamagoyaki is kept simple, variations with additional ingredients are also common. The omelet can be stuffed with fried rice and vegetables to make a filling dish that combines the influences of Japanese and Western cultures. In the middle of the 20th century, the government emphasized the importance of protein consumption for children while simultaneously encouraging farmers to raise more chickens and introducing eggs as an affordable source of nutrition.

Miso Soup

A miso soup that is served with sushi or bento boxes is much more than just a simple broth. In Japan, soup is a fundamental part of the diet, and the majority of people consume it at least once per day. In the 6th or 7th century, the Chinese introduced miso once again, which can be traced back to the 6th century. In this recipe, dashi stock is used along with miso paste, and toppings are added for contrast - or you can use instant miso soup as a substitute. Topped with wakame seaweed, tofu, mushrooms, and green onions, these salads typically include wakame seaweed, tofu, mushrooms, and green onions. In spite of the fact that you do not have as many miso options in the instant packet format, the paste is available in a range of colors. Fermented soybeans may be white, yellow, red, brown, or black depending on the preparation and aging process. A dark miso will typically have a stronger aroma and impart more flavor to the broth than a lighter miso. There are many different versions of miso soup that exist, each perfected over time by a variety of chefs and households, so it is beneficial to try a wide range of them in order to gain a deeper understanding of each.

Okonomiyaki

Okonomiyaki is a Japanese pancake or pizza dish that is always a good choice. In essence, okonomiyaki is "whatever you like, grilled," which accurately describes what the dish consists of. A hot griddle is used to prepare the pancake, which has batter, fillings, and toppings that bring the dish to life. Two distinct styles exist one from Hiroshima and the other from Kansai. There are layers of batter, cabbage, bean sprouts, meat, noodles, and fried eggs in the former, as well as green onions, dried bonito flakes, seaweed, okonomiyaki sauce (similar to Worcestershire), Japanese mayo, and okonomiyaki sauce on top. Unlike the Kansai style, the Kansai style does not include noodles and combines everything into a tamer (although equally delicious) concoction. As its name implies, you can order pretty much anything you like in your okonomiyaki, and there are even restaurants where you can prepare your own griddle.

Udon

The udon bowl will definitely appeal to those who are firmly rooted on the noodle path. Similar to soba, these noodles are made entirely from wheat flour and are thought to have been introduced to Japan by the Chinese in the early 700s. The popularity of udon has grown over the course of almost a thousand years, though various styles have emerged since then. The best way to maintain their consistency is to purchase them fresh as they are slightly thicker, softer, and chewier than other types of noodles. In the same manner as soba, udon can be served cold, dipped in sauce, or served hot. Traditionally, chewy noodles are cooked in a flavorful hot broth and topped with vegetables, meat, or tempura. In order to enhance the flavor of the dish, additional ingredients such as scallions, seaweed, ginger, and chili peppers may be sprinkled on top.

Sukiyaki

Sukiyaki is a Japanese word meaning "cook what you like", and its joy comes from being able to cook the dish with your fellow diners, at the table, using whatever ingredients you wish. Similarly to Oden, sukiyaki is a Japanese nabemono hot pot dish that is most commonly enjoyed during the winter months. Sukiyaki refers to a hot pot of beef cooked with sake, mirin, and sugar, while other preparations involve frying the beef in a pan, true to its suffix -yaki, which means grilled. There is a great deal of similarity in the flavor profile of the thinly sliced beef prepared with sake, soy sauce, mirin, and sugar in the latter recipe. It is a warm, nourishing meal that is ideal for cold weather because both styles are served with vegetables, such as mushrooms, cabbage, and green onions.

Gyoza