Japanese cuisine, with its ultra-famous flagship, sushi, has entered the hearts and homes of people all over the world. Since then, interest in their complex but incredibly delicious aromas, combining freshness and subtle flavor notes, has grown exponentially.
So much so that Japanese cuisine was included in the UNESCO Intangible Heritage List in 2013, and since 2011 has retained the title of the country with the most 3-star Michelin restaurants in the world. Coincidence? Don’t think!
Nowadays, of course, most people recognize names like sushi and ramen, but no country could achieve and maintain such popularity among gourmets based on two such delicious dishes. A long gastronomic history, great respect for the product and the influence of sophisticated cuisines such as Chinese have made it more diverse and attractive to taste buds around the world.
If you are not very familiar with the best Japanese dishes to try, then this article will be an educational discovery for you. And each of the top 10 Japanese dishes you should try will serve a purpose in the grander scheme of understanding the country’s flavor map. So hold on tight and maybe make a sandwich in case you get hungry reading about all these mouth-watering dishes!
Understanding which Japanese dishes are best to try should start with a deeper understanding of their philosophy and nutritional elements. As elsewhere in the world, the most traditional aspects of cuisine have evolved over centuries and been influenced by other, outside cultures. China and Western countries have greatly influenced the way people eat in Japan today.
It is commonly called “Washoku” , which literally means a combination of two characters: “Japan” or “harmony” and “food” or “eat”. This also means that it is a harmoniously prepared dish that combines nutritious ingredients perfectly.
In the following paragraphs you will hear more detailed descriptions of the dishes, but before we move on, I want to explain the main pillars of Japanese dishes that are worth trying. The food that the Japanese are accustomed to relies heavily on rice.
fermented soy products (such as miso and soy sauce), and apparently seasonal foods. Fish and seafood are common, eaten grilled or raw. Pickled vegetables, foods deep-fried in a light batter called tempura, and various types of noodles are other common staples that make up many of their plates on a daily basis. So, let’s get to the fun part!
Here are the 10 best Japanese dishes you should try and why!
So here you will see a list of our favorite dishes, but there is one thing you should keep in mind while browsing through them. Some are just traditional cooking or serving techniques, and some are just very typical ingredients that can be prepared in different ways. Let’s get down to business.
Okay, there’s nothing innovative about this list item because any Japanese food list will have sushi, but we hope you get the idea; There was no way we could leave this unmentioned. The art of making sushi is like that – an art that has to be developed through painstaking work over decades. Eating sushi prepared by a true master will be an experience that will take you to another dimension as it is the epitome of Japanese philosophy towards food.
All the respect for elders, the quality of the products and the craftsmanship are embodied in a small piece of freshly prepared local flavor. Even though it will be an expensive step, sushi is definitely one of the Japanese dishes worth trying in Tokyo. There you will find a wide variety of places, and therefore the opportunity to choose the appropriate price range.
To each other
This is a serving and eating technique: thin slices of marbled pork or beef, served raw along with a pot of sizzling broth right on the table. And the fun begins here – the person who eats wraps the pieces of meat on chopsticks and dips them into the hot liquid, quickly preparing them for consumption right then and there. If you’ve ever heard of pristine Wagyu beef, it’s a must-try among other Japanese dishes in Kyoto.
Ramen (egg noodles in salty broth) is a favorite late-night dish for the Japanese. It’s also a great example of an imported dish – in this case from China – that the Japanese have completely and deliciously put their own spin on. There are four main styles of soup: tonkotsu (pork bone), miso, soy sauce and salt. Fukuoka is especially famous for its rich tonkotsu ramen, and spicy miso ramen is a specialty of Hokkaido.
Part dinner, part work of art, kaiseki is Japanese haute cuisine. It originated many centuries ago with the tea ceremony in Kyoto (and Kyoto remains the birthplace of kaiseki). There’s no menu here, just a string of small dishes carefully arranged on fancy plates. Only fresh ingredients are used and each dish is created with the current season in mind.