Japanese cuisine has evolved over centuries and while it’s famous for traditions and ceremonies, the love for cuteness is very prevalent in food presentation. ‘Kawaii’ derived from a phrase that means ‘a radiant face’ of simply ‘cute’ and quickly adopted by Japanese teen girls. Since the 1970’s it has evolved and spread to most demographic segments, and of course food pop culture.
Impeccable presentation & colour is vital when serving food & drinks. From Onigiri at the local convenience store, a tiny yokocho eatery and fine dining restaurants, the food is vibrant and beautiful. In 2011 Japan overtook France in the number of Michelin-starred restaurants and to this day still holds this title. Food is serious business in Japan.
Diet plays a huge part is Japan’s impressive life expectancy with food heavy in carbohydrates, glutinous sweets, rice, bean paste, raw fish, miso and vegetables, its not hard to understand why 90 year olds are still riding around on push bikes. Maybe it’s also the cute smiling face stamped into the Mochi packaging that brightens their day.
The Basics: A Japanese meal consists of rice, miso, vegetables, meat or fish. It’s widely accepted that seasonal ingredients are used so everything is fresh and waste is minimal. Pretty colourful side dishes always make a meal more appetizing and Japanese do this to perfection. Dining at a restaurant or cooking at home, food is always served in separate dishes and placing food on top of rice is traditionally believed to be ‘soiling’ the rice and frowned upon.
A few other local favorites to cook at home:
Okonomiyaki Translates to ‘what you like grilled’. This is Japanese soul food.
Ramen : A big bowl of goodness
Tempura Soba : Light & crunchy veggies with mellow soft soba
Yakatori Food on sticks is always a good idea.
Gyoza These pot-stickers take dumplings to an entire new level.
Passion for Pickles: Japanese love pickles with street stalls and food markets offering and amazing collection of just about every vegetable and fruit pickled. Japanese love for pickles is on par with Koreans love for kimchi.
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