Known for being simple and clean cuisine, Japanese food does not require mixing too many ingredients together compared to other Asian food. The main ingredient in Japanese cuisine is soy sauce, but it is often blended with other condiments to achieve the desired dish.
Soy sauce brings about saltiness and umami, and the complex flavor harmonizes with various dishes to create versatile Japanese foods.
What to eat with Japanese food? In general, Japanese cuisine includes plain rice, soup, pickle vegetables and salad, with some sort of protein and vegetables dishes on the side. From sushi to tempura, bento box, steamed rice, miso soup, and ramen, there are various main entrees to enjoy.
Most dishes are highly concentrated with soy sauce, wasabi, sesame seeds or sesame oil, and bonito flakes to garnish the dish. Beverages served often include tea, beer, and sake.
A simplicity and minimalist approach to the cuisine is well-known among this Asian cuisine. Whether you want to make homemade Japanese food for the first time, or on a trip to Japan, this article addresses everything you need to know about Japanese cuisine.
What do the Japanese eat for each meal?
Japanese people call each meal “gohan,” and traditional Japanese diet promotes whole or minimally processed foods. Primarily, the focus is on lots of seafood, fish, rice, soy, seaweed, vegetables, and fruits alongside tiny amounts of other animal products.
A bowl of steamed rice is included in a typical Japanese meal and can be part of breakfast, dinner, or lunch.
The side dishes are known as okazu and are served with soup and rice. Even though, rice is a staple food in the Japanese diet, it can be replaced with variety of noodles such as udon, soba, and ramen to make the meal light and affordable.
Dinner is often considered the most important meal of the day, and is usually served with miso or dashi based soup with rice, pickled vegetables and fish or meat.
What do the Japanese prefer to end a meal with?
Japanese prefer to end a meal with a little rice eaten with pickled vegetables. At the end of the meal, when someone finishes eating their rice, it is an indication that they are satisfied and do not wish to be served any more food.
Before and after a meal, people place their hands together to pay respect. At the end of every meal, people have to express their thanks.
Furthermore, Japanese meals may end with traditional sweets such as mochi, castella, manju, matcha ice cream, coffee jelly, and daifuku. From sweet red bean filled mochi to soft and fluffy cake, desserts are served after a meal to end on a good note.
What do the Japanese eat other than sushi?
Sushi has made waves around the world as a Japanese cuisine staple, but there’s more to Japanese cooking than just sushi.
Other classic Japanese dishes include:
- shabu shabby
- tako yaki
These dishes consist of traditional ingredients to create flavorful taste. Here is a list of some popular ingredients and condiments used in Japanese cuisine:
- dried flaked bonito
- broiled dish
- chili peppers
- cooked and raw fish
- pickled vegetables
- poached dishes
- ponzu sauce
- sesame oil and seeds
- soy sauce
- steamed dishes
- rice wine vinegar
- rice wine
What flavor goes well with Japanese food?
Ever wondered why Japanese cuisine is pretty tasty? Well, this is due to the numerous layers of flavor and intense umami used in the cooking process.
Sansho is an aromatic Japanese pepper used to add some kick to simmered dishes and rice. It’s also perfect with sautéed or simmered meat when in powdered form.
Ginger is a must-have in Japanese cooking and can be eaten cooked or raw, but it should be peeled before using. Its spicy, sharp taste is perfect for oily dishes, and can also be used in dips after grating.
Seri, a Japanese parsley, is used to garnish and flavor rice and soups.
Here are classic Japanese flavor combinations to try:
- bonito flakes + kelp
- garlic + ginger + soy sauce
- ginger + scallions + soy sauce
- sake + soy sauce + sugar
- soy sauce + wasabi
Eat with Japanese Cuisine: Conclusion
There are numerous herbs and spices added to Japanese food to make it tasty. In all Japanese cuisine, ginger is a must-add ingredient followed by soy sauce, wasabi, sesame seeds or sesame oil, bonito flakes, and sake.
At the end of every meal, the Japanese prefer eating steamed rice, accompanied with respect and gratitude for the delicious meal served. The traditional Japanese diet is known as one of the healthiest in the world.
Furthermore, desserts are served at the end of the meal including red bean filled mochi, fluffy castellan, manju, matcha ice cream, coffee jelly, and daifuku.
Other then sushi, classic Japanese meals include sukiyaki, shabby shabby, ramen, omurice, karaage, soba, yakitori, okonomiyaki, and onigiri.
Japanese cuisine emphasizes light meals over heavy ones. Use this guide to arrange food pairing and flavor combinations that focus on Japanese foods.