A Japanese dinner Japanese breakfast foods
Below is a list of dishes found in Japanese cuisine. Apart from rice, staples in Japanese cuisine include noodles, such as soba and udon. Japan has many simmered dishes such as fish products in broth called oden, or beef in sukiyaki and nikujaga. Foreign food, in particular Chinese food in the form of noodles in soup called ramen and fried dumplings, gyoza, and western food such as curry and hamburger steaks are commonly found in Japan. Historically, the Japanese shunned meat, but with the modernization of Japan in the 1860s, meat-based dishes such as tonkatsu became more common.
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Rice dishes (
Rice porridge (
- Nanakusa-gayu (
) is the long-standing Japanese custom of eating seven-herb rice porridge (nanakusa-gayu) on January 7 (Jinjitsu).
- Okayu (
) is a rice congee (porridge), sometimes egg dropped and usually served to infants and sick people.
- Zosui (Zōsui,
) or Ojiya (
) is a soup containing rice stewed in stock, often with egg, meat, seafood, vegetables or mushroom, and flavored with miso or soy. Known as
in Okinawa. Some similarity to risotto and Kayu though Zosui uses cooked rice, as the difference is that kayu is made from raw rice.
Rice bowls (
A one-bowl dish, consisting of a donburi (どんぶり, 丼, big bowl) full of hot steamed rice with various savory toppings:
- Gyūdon: (
beef bowl): Donburi topped with seasoned beef and onion
- Katsudon (
): Donburi topped with deep-fried breaded cutlet of pork (tonkatsudon), chicken (chickendon)
- Oyakodon (
): Donburi topped with chicken and egg (or sometimes salmon and salmon roe) (literally Parent and Child bowl)
- Tekkadon (
): Donburi topped with tuna sashimi
- Tendon: (
): Donburi topped with tempura (battered shrimp and vegetables)
- Unadon: (
): Donburi topped with broiled eel with vegetables
- Wappameshi: (
): rice topped with other ingredients, cooked in wooden containers called wappa
- Variation of Oyakodon made with deep-fried chicken pieces and onsen egg
Sushi ( 寿司, 鮨, 鮓 ) is a vinegared rice topped or mixed with various fresh ingredients, usually seafood or vegetables .
- Nigirizushi (
): This is sushi with the ingredients on top of a block of rice.
- Makizushi (
): Translated as “roll sushi”, this is where rice and seafood or other ingredients are placed on a sheet of seaweed (nori) and rolled into a cylindrical shape on a bamboo mat and then cut into smaller pieces. Now, sushi is a very popular favorite food. It consists of cooked rice, sesame oil, salt, vinegar and sesame seeds, sugar is often added as seasonings. Then it is placed on a sheet of nori, dried laver. The seasoned rice is spread on the laver, and then fried egg, julienned carrots, julienned ham, seasoned ground beef or seasoned fish cakes, pickled radish, seasoned spinach, and seasoned gobo and cucumber are then placed closely together on the rice.tuna, cheese, yakiniku, vegetable, and more.
- Temaki orTemakizushi (
手巻き 、 手巻き寿司
): Basically the same as makizushi, except that the nori is rolled into a cone-shape with the ingredients placed inside. Sometimes referred to as a “hand-roll”.
- Temaki orTemakizushi (
- Chirashizushi (
) or Bara-zushi (
): Translated as “scattered”, chirashi involves fresh seafood, vegetables or other ingredients being placed on top of sushi rice in a bowl or dish.
- Inarizushi (
): Fried tofu packet braised in sweet soy sauce stuffed with sushi rice (no fillings)
- Oshizushi (
): A pressed sushi using cured or cooked fish, most commonly mackerel.
): Sumeshi wrapped in Takana leaves. Unique to Wakayama Prefecture.
Noodles (麺類) often take the place of rice in a meal. However, the Japanese appetite for rice is so strong that many restaurants even serve noodles-rice combination sets.
- Traditional Japanese noodles are usually served chilled with a dipping sauce, or in a hot soy-dashi broth.
- Soba (
): thin brown buckwheat noodles. Also known as Nihon-soba (“Japanese soba”). In Okinawa, soba likely refers to Okinawa soba (see below).
- Zaru soba (
): Soba noodles served cold
- Zaru soba (
- Udon (
): thick white wheat noodles served with various toppings, usually in a hot soy-dashi broth, or sometimes in a Japanese curry soup.
- Miso-nikomi-Udon (
): hard udon simmered in red miso soup.
- Miso-nikomi-Udon (
- Sōmen (
): thin white wheat noodles served chilled with a dipping sauce. Hot sōmen is called Nyumen.
- Soba (
- Chinese-influenced noodles are served in a meat or chicken broth and have only appeared in the last 100 years or so.
- Ramen (
): thin light yellow noodles served in hot chicken or pork broth with various toppings; of Chinese origin, it is a popular and common item in Japan. Also known as Shina-soba (
) or Chūka-soba (
) (both mean “Chinese-style soba”).
- Champon (
): yellow noodles of medium thickness served with a great variety of seafood and vegetable toppings in a hot chicken broth which originated in Nagasaki as a cheap food for students.
- Hiyashi chūka (
): thin, yellow noodles served cold with a variety of toppings, such as cucumber, tomato, ham or chicken, bean sprouts, thin-sliced omelet, etc., and a cold sauce (soy sauce based, sesame based, etc.). The name means “cold Chinese noodles.”
- Ramen (
- Mazesoba (
: wheat noodles served with a number of savory toppings, including raw egg, ginger, and meat
- Okinawa soba (
): thick wheat-flour noodles served in Okinawa, often served in a hot broth with sōki, steamed pork. Akin to a cross between udon and ramen.
- Yaki soba (
): Fried Chinese noodles.
- Yaki udon (
): Fried udon noodles.
Bread (the word “pan” (パン) is derived from the Portuguese pão) is not native to Japan and is not considered traditional Japanese food, but since its introduction in the 16th century it has become common.
Common Japanese main and side dishes (okazu,
- Okazu (
): Common Japanese main and side dishes
Deep-fried dishes (agemono,
- Agemono (
): Deep-fried dishes
: bite-sized pieces of chicken, fish, octopus, or other meat, floured and deep fried. Common izakaya (居酒屋) food, also often available in convenience stores.
: marinated fried fish.
- Korokke (croquette
): breaded and deep-fried patties, containing either mashed potato or white sauce mixed with minced meat, vegetables or seafood. Popular everyday food.
- Kushikatsu (
): skewered meat, vegetables or seafood, breaded and deep fried.
- Satsuma-age (
): fried fishcake (surimi), often used as an ingredient for oden.
- Tempura (
): deep-fried vegetables or seafood in a light, distinctive batter.
- Tonkatsu (
): deep-fried breaded cutlet of pork (chicken versions are called chicken katsu).
- Agedashi dōfu (
): cubes of deep-fried silken tofu served in hot broth.
Grilled and pan-fried dishes (yakimono,
- Yakimono (
): Grilled and pan-fried dishes
- Gyoza (
): Chinese ravioli-dumplings (potstickers), usually filled with pork and vegetables (spring onion, leek, cabbage, garlic, and ginger) and pan-fried
- Kushiyaki (
): skewers of meat and vegetables
- Motoyaki (
): Baked seafood topped with a creamy sauce.
- Okonomiyaki (
) are savory pancakes with various meat and vegetable ingredients, flavored with the likes of Worcestershire sauce or mayonnaise.
- Takoyaki (
): a spherical, fried dumpling of batter with a piece of octopus inside. Popular street snack.
- Teriyaki (
): grilled, broiled, or pan-fried meat, fish, chicken or vegetables glazed with a sweetened soy sauce
- Unagi (
), including Kabayaki (
): grilled and flavored eel
- Yakiniku (“grilled meat”
) may refer to several things. Vegetables such as bite-sized onion, carrot, cabbage, mushrooms, and bell pepper are usually grilled together. Grilled ingredients are dipped in a sauce known as tare before being eaten.
- Horumonyaki (“offal-grill”
): similar homegrown dish, but using offal
- Jingisukan (Genghis Khan
) barbecue: sliced lamb or mutton grilled with various vegetables, especially onion and cabbage and dipped in a rich tare sauce. A speciality of Hokkaidō.
- Horumonyaki (“offal-grill”
- Yakitori (
): barbecued chicken skewers, usually served with beer. In Japan, yakitori usually consists of a wide variety of parts of the chicken. It is not usual to see straight chicken meat as the only type of yakitori in a meal.
) is flame-grilled fish, often served with grated daikon. Was one of the most common dishes served at home. Because of the simple cuisine, fresh fish in season are highly preferable. Some species traded as dried fish, such as hokke (Arabesque greenling) are also served this way.
- Gyoza (
Nabemono (one pot cooking,
Nabemono ( 鍋物 ) includes :
- Motsunabe (
): beef offal, Chinese cabbage and various vegetables cooked in a light soup base.
- Shabu-shabu (
): hot pot with thinly sliced beef, vegetables, and tofu, cooked in a thin stock at the table and dipped in a soy or sesame-based dip before eating.
- Sukiyaki (
): thinly sliced beef and vegetables cooked in a mixture of soy sauce, dashi, sugar, and sake. Participants cook at the table then dip food into their individual bowls of raw egg before eating it.
): hot pot with fish and vegetables.
): hot pot with blowfish and vegetables, a specialty of Osaka.
- Chigenabe (
) or Kimuchinabe (
): hot pot with meat, seafood and vegetables in a broth seasoned with gochujang, and Kimchi.
- Imoni (
): a thick taro potato stew popular in Northern Japan during the autumn season
- Kiritanponabe (
): freshly cooked rice is pounded, formed into cylinders around Japanese cypress skewers, and toasted at an open hearth. The kiritanpo are used as dumplings in soups.
- Chankonabe (
): commonly eaten in vast quantity by sumo wrestlers as part of a weight-gain diet.
Nimono (stewed dishes,
Nimono ( 煮物 ) is a stewed or simmered dish. A base ingredient is simmered in shiru stock flavored with sake, soy sauce, and a small amount of sweetening .
- Oden (
): surimi, boiled eggs, daikon radish, konnyaku, and fish cakes stewed in a light, soy-flavored dashi broth. Common wintertime food and often available in convenience stores.
: chunks of pork belly stewed in soy, mirin and sake with large pieces of daikon and whole boiled eggs. The Okinawan variation, using awamori, soy sauce and miso, is known as rafuti
: beef and potato stew, flavored with sweet soy.
: fish poached in sweet soy (often on the menu as “nitsuke”
: Okinawan dish of pork stewed with bone.
Itamemono (stir-fried dishes,
Stir-frying ( 炒め物 ) is not a native method of cooking in Japan, however mock-Chinese stir fries such as yasai itame [ ja ] ( 野菜炒め, stir fried vegetables ) have been a staple in homes and canteens across Japan since the 1950 s. Home grown stir fries include :
- Chanpurū (
): A stir-fry from Okinawa, of vegetables, tofu, meat or seafood and sometimes egg. Many varieties, the most famous being gōyā chanpurū.
- Kinpira gobo (
): Thin sticks of greater burdock (gobo,
) and other root vegetables stir-fried and braised in sweetened soy.
Sashimi ( 刺身 ) is raw, thinly sliced foods served with a dipping sauce and simple garnishes ; usually fish or shellfish served with soy sauce and wasabi. Less common variations include :
- Fugu (
): sliced poisonous pufferfish (sometimes lethal), a uniquely Japanese specialty. The chef responsible for preparing it must be licensed.
: live sashimi
: raw/very rare skipjack tuna or beef steak seared on the outside and sliced, or a finely chopped raw fish (Japanese jack mackerel or Sardine), spiced with the likes of chopped spring onions, ginger or garlic paste.
: horse meat sashimi, sometimes called sakura (
), is a regional speciality in certain areas such as Shinshu (Nagano, Gifu and Toyama prefectures) and Kumamoto. Basashi features on the menu of many izakayas, even on the menus of big national chains.
: chicken breast sashimi, regional specialty of Kagoshima, Miyazaki prefectures
is typically liver of calf served completely raw (the rare version is called “aburi”: あぶり). It is usually dipped in salted sesame oil rather than soy sauce.
Soups (suimono (
) and shirumono (
The soups (suimono (吸い物) and shirumono [ja] (汁物)) include:
- Miso soup (
): soup made with miso suspended in dashi, usually containing two or three types of solid ingredients, such as seaweed, vegetables or tofu.
- Tonjiru (
): similar to Miso soup, except that pork is added to the ingredients
): soup made with dumplings along with seaweed, tofu, lotus root, or any number of other vegetables and roots
) or “osumashi” (
): a clear soup made with dashi and seafood or chicken.
- Zōni (
): soup containing mochi rice cakes along with various vegetables and often chicken. It is usually eaten at New Years Day.
Pickled or salted foods (tsukemono,
Thes e foods are usually served in tiny portions, as a side dish to be eaten with white rice, to accompany sake or as a topping for rice porridges .
- Ikura (
): salt cured and pickled soy sauce salmon roe.
: Salt-cured cod roe or pollock roe
: salt-cured and red pepper pickled pollock roe
- Shiokara (
): salty fermented viscera
- Tsukemono (
): pickled vegetables, hundreds of varieties and served with most rice-based meals
- Umeboshi (
): small, pickled ume fruit. Usually red and very sour, often served with bento (
) lunch boxes or as a filling for onigiri.
- Umeboshi (
- Tsukudani (
): Very small fish, shellfish or seaweed stewed in sweetened soy for preservation
: vegetables such as cucumber or wakame, or sometimes crab, marinated in rice vinegar
Side dishes (
Chinmi ( 珍味 ) are regional delicacies, and include :
- Ankimo (
- Karasumi (
- Konowata (
- Mozuku (
- Uni (
): specifically, salt-pickled sea urchin
Although most Japanese eschew eating insects, in some regions, locust (inago [ja], イナゴ) and bee larvae (hachinoko [ja], 蜂の子) are not uncommon dishes. The larvae of species of caddisflies and stoneflies (zaza-mushi [ja], ざざむし), harvested from the Tenryū river as it flows through Ina, Nagano, is also boiled and canned, or boiled and then sautéed in soy sauce and sugar. Japanese clawed salamander (ハコネサンショウウオ, Hakone Sanshōuo, Onychodactylus japonicus)) is eaten as well in Hinoemata, Fukushima in early summer.
Sweets and snacks (okashi (
), oyatsu (
- Okashi (
): Sweets and snacks
Japanese-style sweets (wagashi,
JapanWagashi in a storefront in SapporoWagashi include :
- Amanattō: traditional confectionery made of adzuki or other beans, covered with refined sugar after simmering with sugar syrup and drying.
- Dango: a Japanese dumpling and sweet made from mochiko (rice flour),[citation not found] related to mochi.
- Hanabiramochi: a Japanese sweet (wagashi), usually eaten at the beginning of the year.
- Higashi: a type of wagashi, which is dry and contains very little moisture, and thus keeps relatively longer than other kinds of wagashi.
- Hoshigaki: dried persimmon fruit.
- Imagawayaki: also known as Taikoyaki, is a round Taiyaki and fillings are same.
- Kakigōri: shaved ice with syrup topping.
- Kompeito: crystal sugar candy.
- Manjū: sticky rice surrounding a sweet bean center.
- Matsunoyuki: a wagashi that resembles a pine tree dusted with snow.
- Mochi: steamed sweet rice pounded into a solid, sticky, and somewhat translucent mass.
- Oshiruko: a warm, sweet red bean (an) soup with mochi: rice cake.
- Uirō: a steamed cake made of rice flour.
- Taiyaki: a fried, fish-shaped cake, usually with a sweet filling such as a red bean paste.
- Namagashi: a type of wagashi, which is a general term for snacks used in the Japanese tea ceremony.
Old-fashioned Japanese-style sweets (dagashi,
Dagashi include :
- Karume-yaki: Brown sugar cake that is also called “baked caramel”.
- Sosu Senbei: Thin wafers eaten with sauce.
- Mizuame: Sticky liquid sugar candy.
Western-style sweets (yōgashi,
Yōgashi [ ja ] are Western-style sweets, but in Japan are typically very light or spongy .
- Kasutera: “Castella” Iberian-style sponge cake
- Mirukurepu: “mille feuilles”: a layered crepe that literally means, “one thousand leaves” in French.
Sweets bread (kashi pan,
Kashi pan [ ja ] include :
- Anpan: bread with sweet bean paste in the center
- Melonpan: a large, round bun which is a combination of regular dough beneath cookie dough. It occasionally contains a melon-flavored cream, though traditionally it is called melon bread because of its general shape resembling that of a melon (not due to any melon flavor).
Snacks include :
Tea and other drinks
Tea and non-alcoholic beverages
Japanese green tea
- Genmaicha is green tea combined with roasted brown rice.
- Gyokuro: Gyokuro leaves are shaded from direct sunlight for approximately 3 weeks before the spring harvest. Removing direct sunlight in this way enhances the proportions of flavenols, amino acids, sugars, and other substances that provide tea aroma and taste. After harvesting the leaves are rolled and dried naturally. Gyokuro is slightly sweeter than sencha and is famous for its crisp, clean taste. Major growing areas include Uji, Kyōto and Shizuoka prefecture.
- Hōjicha: green tea roasted over charcoal
- Konbu-cha: specifically the tea poured with Kombu giving rich flavor in monosodium glutamate.
- Kukicha is a blend of green tea made of stems, stalks, and twigs.
- Kuzuyu is a thick herbal tea made with kudzu starch.
- Matcha is powdered green tea. (Green tea ice cream is flavored with matcha, not ocha.)
- Mugicha is barley tea, served chilled during summer.
- Sakurayu is an herbal tea made with pickled cherry blossoms.
- Sencha is steam treated green tea leaves that are then dried.
- Umecha is a tea drink with umeboshi, which provides a refreshing sourness.
- Kuwacha is a noncaffeinated tea made with white mulberry leaves.
Sake (酒) is a rice wine that typically contains 12%–20% alcohol and is made by a double fermentation of rice. Kōjji fungus is first used to ferment the rice starch into sugar. Regular brewing yeast is used in the second fermentation to make alcohol. At traditional meals, it is considered an equivalent to rice and is not simultaneously taken with other rice-based dishes. Side dishes for sake is particularly called sakana (肴, 酒菜), or otsumami おつまみ or ate あて.
Shōchū is a distilled beverage, most commonly made from barley, sweet potatoes, or rice. Typically, it contains 25 % alcohol by volume .
- Awamori is an alcoholic beverage indigenous to and unique to Okinawa, Japan
- Nigori is an unfiltered sake, presented here in an overflowing glass within a traditional wooden box cup, symbolizing abundance
- Japanese beer
- Barrels of sake, a traditional Japanese alcoholic drink, on display as an offering at an Itsukushima Shrine
Imported and adapted foods
Japan has incorporated imported food from across the world ( mostly from Asia, Europe and to a lesser extent the Americas ), and have historically adapted many to make them their own .
Foods imported from Portugal in the 16 th century
- Kasutera — sponge cake, originating in Nagasaki.
- Konpeitō — star shaped sugar candy, the name comes from the Portuguese word
- Pan — bread, introduced by Portugal. (bread is pão in Portuguese.) Japanese bread crumbs, panko, have been popularized by cooking shows.
- Tempura — so thoroughly adopted that its foreign roots are unknown to most people, including many Japanese. As such, it is considered washoku (
, native food).
Yōshoku ( 洋食 ) is a style of Western-influenced food .
- Breaded seafood or vegetables (furai
, derived from “fry”), and breaded meat (katsuretsu,
, derived from “cutlet” and often contracted to katsu), are usually served with shredded cabbage and/or lettuce, Japanese Worcestershire or tonkatsu sauce and lemon. Tempura, a related dish, has been heavily modified since its introduction to Japan by use of batter and dashi-flavored dip, and is usually considered to be washoku.
Korokke for sale at a Mitsukoshi food hall in Tokyo, Japan
- Kaki furai
) – breaded oyster
- Ebi furai (
) – breaded shrimp
- Korokke (“croquette”
) – breaded mashed potato and minced meat patties. When white sauce is added, it is called cream korokke. Other ingredients such as crab meat, shrimp, or mushrooms are also used instead of minced meat which are called kani-, ebi-, or kinoko-cream korokke, respectively.
- Tonkatsu, Menchi katsu, chicken katsu, beef katsu, kujira katsu – breaded and deep-fried pork, minced meat patties, chicken, beef, and whale, respectively.
- Kaki furai
- Japanese curry – rice – imported in the 19th century by way of the United Kingdom and adapted by Japanese Navy chefs. One of the most popular food items in Japan today. Eaten with a spoon. Curry is often eaten with pickled vegetables called fukujinzuke or rakkyo
- Curry Pan – deep fried bread with Japanese curry sauce inside. The pirozhki of Russia was remodeled, and Curry bread was made.
- Curry udon dashi. May also include meat or vegetables.
- Hayashi rice
– beef and onions stewed in a red-wine sauce and served on rice
- Nikujaga – soy sauce-flavored meat and potato stew that has been made in Japan to the extent that it is now considered washoku, but again originates from 19th century Japanese Navy chefs adapting beef stews of the Royal Navy.
- Omu raisu – ketchup-flavored rice wrapped in omelet.
Other items were popularized after the war :
- Hamburg steak – a ground beef patty, usually mixed with breadcrumbs and fried chopped onions, served with a side of white rice and vegetables. Often accompanied with demiglace sauce. Popular post-war food item served at homes. Sometimes eaten with a fork.
Other homegrown cuisine of foreign origin
- California roll – invented in Canada, then first introduced in California.
- Spam musubi – a snack from Hawaii resembling onigiri, made with Spam
Lots of Japanese foods are prepared using one or more of the following :
Less traditional, but widely used ingredients include :
- Monosodium glutamate, which is often used by chefs and food companies as a cheap flavor enhancer. It may be used as a substitute for kombu, which is a traditional source of free glutamate
- Japanese-style Worcestershire sauce, often known as simply “sauce”, thicker and fruitier than the original, is commonly used as a table condiment for okonomiyaki (
), tonkatsu (
), croquette (“korokke”,
) and the like.
- Japanese mayonnaise is used with salads, okonomiyaki (
), yaki soba (
) and sometimes mixed with wasabi or soy sauce.