There is undeniably one thing that comes to mind when you think about Japanese cuisine. And that is, that Japanese cuisine is super delicious. There is no denying that there is nothing like a warm bowl of ramen on a wintery Sunday, or nothing as refreshing as a small starter of edamame on a warm summer evening. Yet people most often talk only about sushi when they think about Japanese cuisine.
In this article we will try to uncover what are the 7 most tasty, yet less discussed dishes served in a japanese restaurant.
Opening our list is the famous Japanese ramen soup. Ramen is a noodle soup dish that has taken the world by storm, but its depth of flavor and variety are often overshadowed by its fast-food counterpart. Authentic Japanese ramen is a culinary masterpiece, combining rich, flavorful broth with perfectly cooked noodles, topped with a variety of ingredients such as slices of pork, seaweed, green onions, and sometimes even a soft-boiled egg. Each region in Japan offers its own version of ramen, making it a dish worth exploring beyond the instant packets.
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Next on our list is Okonomiyaki, often referred to as the Japanese savory pancake. This delightful dish is made from a batter mixed with cabbage, green onions, and a variety of other ingredients, including seafood, pork, and cheese. Cooked on a griddle, it’s flipped to perfection and often topped with a savory sauce, mayonnaise, seaweed flakes, and bonito flakes. Okonomiyaki is a testament to the creativity and adaptability of Japanese cuisine, offering a unique taste experience that’s both filling and incredibly satisfying.
Another dish that deserves more recognition is Takoyaki, or octopus balls. These are round, fluffy balls made from a wheat-flour-based batter, cooked in a specially molded pan to give them their distinctive shape. Filled with minced or diced octopus, tempura scraps, pickled ginger, and green onion, Takoyaki are brushed with takoyaki sauce, similar to Worcestershire sauce, and mayonnaise, then sprinkled with green laver (aonori) and shavings of dried bonito (katsuobushi). It’s a popular street food in Japan, offering a crunchy outside and a warm, gooey inside.
Yakitori, or grilled chicken skewers, is a simple yet delicious dish that’s often overlooked. Made from chicken cut into small pieces, skewered on bamboo sticks, and grilled over charcoal, Yakitori is seasoned with salt or coated in a savory-sweet sauce. It’s a common sight at Japanese festivals and izakayas, embodying the essence of Japanese grilling techniques. Yakitori offers a smoky flavor that’s hard to resist, making it a perfect companion for a cold beer on a warm evening.
Udon is a type of thick wheat flour noodle, often served in a hot soy-based broth. It’s a comforting dish, especially popular in the colder months. The noodles are chewy and satisfying, served with various toppings such as tempura, tofu, green onions, and sometimes a soft-boiled egg. Udon can also be served cold, in a dipping sauce, making it a versatile dish that caters to different tastes and seasons.
Kare-Raisu (Japanese Curry Rice)
Moving away from noodles and pancakes, Kare-Raisu, or Japanese Curry Rice, is a hearty and beloved dish in Japan. It’s made with a thick curry sauce, a blend of sweet and savory flavors, poured over rice. The curry can include meat (typically beef, chicken, or pork), onions, carrots, and potatoes. It’s a dish that warms the soul, offering a different perspective on curry that’s distinct from its Indian and Thai cousins.
Last on our list is the Katsu Don, a full bowl of rice topped with a breaded and fried pork cutlet, egg, and onions, simmered in a sweet and savory sauce. It’s a perfect example of how Japanese cuisine takes simple ingredients and elevates them into something that is special. Katsu Don is a very filling dish that offers a delightful contrast of textures, from the crispy pork pork and the soft and fluffy rice.
In conclusion, Japanese cuisine is full of flavors and textures and it offers dishes that go well beyond sushi. From the warming broth of ramen to the crispiness of Katsu Don, each dish tells a unique store that transcends the simple levels of taste. As we explore these less discussed dishes, we uncover the depth and diversity of Japanese cuisine, that is inviting food lovers to expand their palate and discover new flavours.