Ramen, Kare Raisu and Okonomiyaki: So much more to Japanese food than sushi

2019-01-10 15:44 - Saara Mowlana
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Tickle your tastebuds with these Japanese dishes on your next visit. (Photo: iStock)

Yes. Japan gave us sushi for which we will eternally be grateful for. But Japan is currently top of list for foodies around the world for a plethora of reasons, tastes, dishes and umami goodness found nowhere else in the world. 

READ: Japan is now giving away homes for 'free' 

Here are just a few eats to try when visiting Japan: 

Ramen

Where better to indulge in this noodle soup dish than in Japan?

The dish was originally imported from China and has since become one of the most popular dishes in Japan in recent decades.

The inexpensive and widely available dish features noodles that often gets served in a meat- or fish-based brothy along with vegetables and commonly a soft boiled egg.

Tempura

Tempura are pieces of lightly battered, deep fried seafood and vegetables and they are truly a delightful snack to pick up in Japan.

The dish was originally introduced to Japan during the 16th century by the Portuguese in Nagasaki, and the tempura has since developed over the centuries into a popular Japanese dish both inside and outside of Japan.

You can find these crunchy treats in many types of restaurants across the country, where it is commonly served as a main dish, side dish or as a topping for tendon rice bowls, or udon and soba noodle dishes.

Kare Raisu

Kare raisu is a common lunchtime curry and consists of curry, rice and pickled vegetables – all served on the same plate and eaten with a spoon. 

The dish was introduced to Japan by the British between 1869 and 1912, during the Meiji era shortly after Japan’ national self-isolation (Sakoku) period. 

The basic Japanese curries consist of meat, onions, carrots, celery and potatoes simmered in a large pot – occasionally with grated apples to sweeten it a little.

Sushi / Sashimi 

Who doesn't appreciate a range of globally beloved sushi that bursts with flavour and colour?

Sushi is a Japanese dish of specially prepared vinegared rice (sushi-meshi), usually with some sugar and salt, combined with a variety of ingredients (neta). The ingredients are usually inclusive of either seafood, vegetables, and occasionally tropical fruits.

While sushi styles and presentations vary widely, the key ingredient to any solid sushi serving is its "sushi rice", also referred to as 'shari', or 'sumeshi'. The term sushi is no longer used in its original context and literally means 'sour-tasting'.

Sashimi, while often served alongside sushi is not actually sushi. Instead, this dish consists of fresh thinly sliced raw fish or meat that is often paired with rice and eaten with soy sauce.

Both of these dishes are a must when visiting its origin country.  

READ: Get lost in these 10 weird places found only in Japan

Okonomiyaki

Okonomiyaki is a Japanese savoury pancake containing a variety of ingredients.

The lengthy name is derived from the word okonomi, meaning 'how you like' or 'what you like', and yaki which translates into 'cooked'.

The dish is a flour based mixture cooked on a griddle and you can top it with, as the name implies, whatever you'd like. The layers typically include the batter, along with cabbage, pork, and optional items such as squid, octopus, and cheese.

Noodles (yakisoba, udon) are also often used as a topping with fried egg and a generous amount of okonomiyaki sauce. 

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