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Meilleur Plat Japonais
May 23, 2019

TOP 11 Best Japanese Dishes

5 min read

As you probably know, Japan has an exceptional food culture. However, it is often wrongly summed up as Sushi and Makis. No doubt the fault of the Japanese restaurant chains found in France. Lucky for you, thanks to this post, you will discover or rediscover traditional dishes that are excellent but all too often put aside.

Ready to salivate in front of your screen? Here we go!

1) Sushi & Sashimi

Sushi

Let's start with a great classic which by itself embodies Japan: LES SUSHIS. Very simple in appearance, yet there is a lot of know-how to make sumptuous sushi. Starting with the rice: it must be perfectly cooked, season with a mixture of rice vinegar, sugar and salt, or even an infusion of dashi kombu. Each chef has their own recipe and that's what makes the difference between each of them. Next comes the garnish. For makis, we often find nori sheets or seaweed sheets. And of course, a whole range of fish, vegetables, sometimes meats etc ... An infinity of combinations dictated by the imagination of its creator.

The name of this Japanese dish varies according to the form and the ingredients: Nigiri sushi, Maki sushi, Oshi sushi, Temaki sushi etc…

The Sashimis on the other hand are more or less thin slices of raw fish or seafood generally accompanied by chopped radishes.

The whole thing is accompanied by soy sauce and wasabi. Be aware that in some restaurants, especially during tastings, the wasabi and soy sauce are put directly on the sushi by the chef, in order to have a perfect dosage depending on the garnish.

While traveling in Japan, it is customary to do a sushi tour. Do not hesitate to get information from local tourist guides or on platforms such as TripAdvisor.

2) Ramen

Ramen

This hugely popular meal is almost a fantasy to fans of Japan. If you've ever watched animes, read manga, or even documentaries about Japan, you've probably seen these Japanese people sucking noodle bowls together!

It's a simple bowl of noodles bathed in a soup flavored differently depending on the chosen ramen, there is usually soy sauce, miso and many other ingredients.

Regarding the toping, we usually find slices of pork, slices of green onion, nori leaves, a hard-boiled egg and the famous, unique, Naruto!

What will vary from one ramen to another is of course the toping but also and especially the soup! It is this which determines the taste of the dish, some are very sweet, others much stronger. Some restaurants offer several types of soup to include in your ramen, others will choose for you according to the toping chosen.

3) Tempura

Tempura

Arguably Japan's most popular fry. tempura are generally vegetables, seafood and possibly fish, dipped in a relatively light paste and then fried! These snacks are usually served with a sauce made from soy sauce, mashed ginger and sugar.

Despite the fact that it is fried, the tempura do not have a very oily texture thanks to the lightness of the dough. Tempura pieces are quite small like most of what you can eat in Japan since the Japanese only use chopsticks. Each ingredient must therefore be able to be eaten in one mouthful.


4) Kare-Raisu (Curry Rice)

Curry Japonaise

A staple of Japanese cuisine, despite its simplicity! It is a very different dish from the ones we are used to eating in Europe, because it is a special curry. It is found in Japanese grocery stores in the form of a plate of dough separated into a cube to be melted. The texture is creamy and makes the dish wonderfully good. In terms of chili there are different levels: sweet, spicy, very spicy.

Know that the very spicy is not for everyone! So which one will you choose?

Several ingredients simmer in this curry, including onions, potato carrots and of course meat. In general we find pork, beef or chicken and more rarely duck.

5) Okonomiyaki

Okonomiyaki

It's a kind of filled pancake. To make it, nothing could be simpler: flour, egg, a little baking powder and dashi (a Japanese broth). Then we integrate all the filling directly into the dough: the cabbage (basic ingredient) then it's your imagination will do the rest: meat, seafood, fish, cheese, vegetables etc ...

The most complicated step in this recipe is flipping the okonomiyaki without breaking it, good luck!

There remains the dressing: an okonomiyaki sauce, mayonnaise, aonori (finely chopped seaweed sheet) and dried bonito. It's ready!


6) Miso soup

Soupe Miso

A great classic of Japanese cuisine and very well known among us as it is very popular with French Japanese restaurants. It is served at almost every meal as a side dish. It can also be used as an entrance.

It is a broth made from miso paste (fermented soybean) and dashi. For the garnish, we usually find pieces of tofu, onions, leaves of wakame seaweed and more rarely vegetables.

7) Yakitori

Yakitori

Meat kebabs, the simplest thing is the sauce that does it all! The staple meat used for these sweet treats is chicken. Like any recipe, variations have been proven, especially with pork, beef and sometimes even fish. The meat is marinated in a yakitori sauce, assembled on a skewer and then cooked on a grill!

It is a staple of Japanese street food and fast food.

The sauce caramelizes on contact with the hot plate, which intensifies the flavors of the sauce, a real delight!


8) Onigiri

Onigiri

More rice! It is the most popular snack in Japan. No matter what time it is, if you are hungry and don't have time, onigiri is the solution.

onigiris are rice balls seasoned in different ways and in different shapes. They are usually garnished with meat, vegetables, eggs or even fish and they are generally covered with nori sheet to avoid getting your hands dirty. You can also add more sauce.

It is very often found in bentos, a compartmentalized food tupperware that the Japanese take everywhere with them.

9) Udon

Udon

Aaah udons, arguably the best noodles that can exist! They are made from wheat flour and are quite thick. They are usually served in a soup with soy sauce and mirin. The size and shape of these vary depending on the prefecture they come from.

They can be eaten cold or hot. They are very popular in Japan as well as Soba.

It is a popular meal for workers and students because it is eaten fairly quickly and is not excessively expensive.


10) Gyudon

Gyudon

The Japanese love bowls, here's a very popular one: a bed of rice on which sits a beef seasoning in which we usually find onions. All marinated in a sauce that permeates each of the ingredients of this dish.

11) Gyoza

Gyoza

Japan's most popular dumplings are for sure the Gyozas. There are 3 different types depending on how they are cooked:

  • Yakigyoza if they are fried
  • Suigyoza if they are boiled
  • Agegyoza if they are first dipped in a batter before being fried.

Classic gyozas are cooked in a covered oiled pan.

They are filled with a stuffing made from cabbage, minced pork or chicken, onions, garlic, ginger, chives and mushrooms.

They are served with a soy sauce mixed with rice vinegar and sesame oil or a ponzu sauce (lemon and soy sauce).

We took a tour of the most popular dishes in Japan. There are of course a bunch of others and the ranking is perfectly arbitrary. Do not hesitate to tell us in the comments what is your favorite dish! 😊



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