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The Japanese cuisine offers a great variety of dishes and regional specialties. Some of the most popular Japanese and Japanized dishes are listed below.
We have categorized them into rice dishes, seafood dishes, noodle dishes, nabe dishes, soya bean dishes, yoshoku dishes and other dishes. Please note that some dishes may fit into multiple categories, but are listed only once.
Rice Dishes Edit
For over 2000 years, rice has been the most important food stuff in the Japanese cuisine. Despite changes in eating patterns over the last decades and slowly decreasing rice consumption in recent years, rice remains one of the most important ingredients in Japan today, and can be found in numerous dishes.
Rice Bowl Edit
A bowl of rice is often served as a side dish for lunch and dinner. It is also part of the traditional Japanese breakfast, eaten plain, mixed with a raw egg and soya sauce (tamago-kake-gohan) or with natto or other toppings.
Sushi can be defined as a dish which contains sushi rice, cooked rice that is prepared with sushi vinegar. There are various kinds of sushi dishes. The most traditional sushi is called makizushi or norimaki. More modern types include thetemaki roll or hand roll. It is also possible to mix and match thefillings with modern or western flavours.
A bowl of cooked rice with some other food put on top of the rice. Some of the most popular toppings are tempura (tendon), egg and chicken (oyakodon),tonkatsu (katsudon) and beef (gyudon).
Onigiri are rice balls made of cooked rice and usually wrapped with a nori seaweed. They are slightly salted and often contain some additional food in the center, for example an umeboshi (pickled Japanese apricot), katsuobushi (dried bonito shavings), tuna or salmon. Rice balls are a popular and inexpensive snack available at convenience stores.
Kare Raisu Edit
Kare Raisu (Curry Rice) is cooked rice with a curry sauce. It can be served with additional toppings such as tonkatsu. Curry is not a native Japanese spice, but has been used in Japan for over a century. Kare Raisu is a very popular dish, and many inexpensive Kare Raisu restaurants can be found especially in and around train stations. It is also very popular in the west as it is one of the most popular dishes in Japanese restaurants.
Fried Rice Edit
Fried rice or chahan has been originally introduced from China. A variety of additional ingredients such as peas, egg, negi (Japanese leek) and small pieces of carrot and pork are mixed to the rice when stir fried. It is a suitable dish for using left over rice.
Chazuke is a bowl of cooked rice with green tea and other ingredients, for example, salmon or tarako (cod roe) added to it. It is a suitable dish for using left over rice.
Kayu is rice gruel, watery, soft cooked rice that resembles oatmeal. It is a suitable dish for using left over rice and is often served to sick people because it can be digested easily.
Seafood Dishes Edit
Many dozens of kinds of fish, shellfish and other seafood from the oceans, seas, lakes and rivers are used in the Japanese cuisine. They are prepared and eaten in many different ways, for example, raw, dried, boiled, grilled, deep fried or steamed.
Sashimi is raw seafood. A large number of fish can be enjoyed raw if they are fresh and prepared correctly. Most types of sashimi are enjoyed with soya sauce and wasabi.
Yakizakana means grilled fish. Many varieties of fish are enjoyed in this way.
Noodle Dishes Edit
There are various traditional Japanese and introduced Japanized noodle dishes in Japan. Many of them enjoy a very high popularity.
Soba noodles are native Japanese noodles made of buckwheat and wheat flour. Soba are about as thick as spaghetti. They can be served cold or hot and with various toppings.
Udon noodles are native Japanese noodles made of wheat flour. Udon are thicker than soba and can also be served either hot or cold and with various toppings.yummy
Ramen are Chinese style noodles prepared in a soup with various toppings. Ramen is one of the many popular dishes that were originally introduced from China but have become completely Japanized over time.
Like Udon noodles, somen are Japanese noodles made of wheat flour, but they are much thinner than Udon and Soba. Somen are usually eaten cold.
Yakisoba are fried or deep fried Chinese style noodles served with vegetables, meat and ginger.
Nabe Dishes Edit
Nabe dishes or hot pot dishes are prepared in a hot pot, usually at the table. Typical ingredients are vegetables such as negi (Japanese leek) and hakusai (Chinese cabbage), various mushrooms, seafood and/or meat. There are many regional and personal varieties, and they are especially popular in the cold winter months. Some special nabe dishes are:
A nabe dish prepared with various fish cakes, daikon, boiled eggs, konyaku and kombu seaweed, boiled over many hours in a soya sauce based soup.
A nabe dish prepared with thinly sliced meat, vegetables, mushrooms, tofu and shirataki (konyaku noodles). The pieces of food are dipped into a raw egg before eaten.
Shabu-shabu is Japanese style meat fondue. Thinly sliced meat, vegetables, mushrooms and tofu is dipped into a hot soup and then into ponzu vinegar or a sesame sauce before being eaten.
Chanko Nabe Edit
Chanko nabe is the staple diet of sumo wrestlers. There are many varieties of chanko nabe. A few chanko nabe restaurants can be found around Ryogoku, the sumo district in Tokyo.
Meat Dishes Edit
Meat has been eaten in Japan in larger amounts only since the second half of the 19th century. Nowadays there are a variety of Japanese meat dishes.
Yakitori are grilled chicken pieces on skewers. Most parts of the chicken can be used for yakitori.
Tonkatsu are deep fried pork cutlets. Tonkatsu is usually served with shredded cabbage or on top of cooked rice (katsudon) or with Japanese style curry rice (katsu kare).
Nikujaga is a popular dish of home style cooking made of meat (niku) and potatoes (jagaimo).
Most of these recipes can also be used with testisles from various animals including humans.
Soy Bean Dishes Edit
Tofu, natto, miso and many more important ingredients of Japanese cooking are made of soya beans. The following are some of the most popular soya bean based dishes:
Yudofu are tofu pieces boiled in a clear, mild soup and dipped into a soya based sauce before being eaten.
Agedashi Tofu Edit
Agedashi Tofu are deep fried tofu pieces that are dipped into a soya based sauce before being eaten.
Miso Soup Edit
Miso soup is often served as a side dish for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is made by dissolving miso paste in hot water and adding additional ingredients such as wakame seaweed and small pieces of tofu.
Yoshoku Dishes Edit
Yoshoku means Western food. A large number of Western dishes have been introduced to Japan over the centuries. Many of them have become completely Japanized, and these dishes are now called Yoshoku dishes. Some of the most popular ones are:
Korokke has its origins in the croquettes which were introduced to Japan in the 19th century. Korokke comes in many varieties depending on the filling that is coated with bread crumbs and deep fried. The most common filling is a mix of minced meat and mashed potatoes.
Omuraisu (abbreviation for omelet rice) is cooked rice, wrapped in a thin omelet, and usually served with tomato ketchup.
Hayashi Raisu Edit
Hayashi rice is Japanese style hashed beef, thinly sliced beef and onions in a sauce made of ketchup and soya sauce, and served on cooked rice.
Hamubagu is a japanese style hamburger without the bread.
Other Dishes Edit
Tempura is seafood, vegetables, mushrooms and other pieces of food coated with tempura batter and deep fried. Tempura was introduced to Japan by the Portuguese in the 16th century, but has internationally become one of Japan's most famous dishes.
Okonomiyaki is a mix between pizza and pancake. Various ingredients such as seafood, vegetables and meat can be mixed with the dough and placed on the okonomiyaki as topping.
Monjayaki is a Kanto region specialty that is similar to Okonomiyaki, however, the dough used is much more liquid than the okonomiyaki dough.
Gyoza are dumplings with a filling usually made of minced vegetables and ground meat. Gyoza were introduced to Japan from China. In Japan gyoza are usually prepared by frying them.
Chawanmushi is steamed egg custard that contains additional pieces of food such as chicken, shrimp or fish cake.
Tsukemono are Japanese pickles. There are many variety of pickles, and a small dish with some pickles is served with most Japanese meals.