The food of Japan benefits from many influences, including nearby countries such as China, as well as the huge variety of food available at its doorstep. For someone new to Japanese culture it might appear confusing, and even for someone familiar with Japanese food there are always surprises.
So, lets investigate some of the variety of Japanese culinary arts! A very popular food for foreigners is the world famous yakitori. Yakitori literally means fried chicken, and a lot of yakitori is from different parts of a chicken, but it can incorporate other meat like pork and even items that aren’t meat like uzura – quail egg.
One type of Yakitori is tsukune, this is a bit like a chicken meatball, and in many places where you order it you will get something that resembles the below photo. However, traditionally tsukune was served with a raw egg yolk which really creates something special! If you order tsukune and don’t get the egg then I would recommend asking for it!
Talking of chicken, no description of Japanese food culture can leave out karaage, basically Japan’s answer to the world’s love of fried chicken! Normally it is served on top of salad with a lemon, which one can squeeze over the chicken, and for young people it is a much loved side dish. There are some regional differences to its taste, but regardless of where you go it is delicious!
Getting away from chicken there is also takoyaki! This is made with a special frying dish which allows you to create the takoyaki balls, one uses a wheat flour based batter which one adds octopus, tempura, ginger and green onion. The actual making requires a bit of skill, as you can see from the photos below one makes, from what looks like bit of a mess, the ingredients and creates balls. Once they are ready and on your plate then you add mayo, green laver (aonori) and shavings of dried bonito (katsuobushi).
Perhaps it is a little difficult to cover all the different food that you can find in Japan, so we will end this article with just one more food item and continue this topic next time! The below is of course Ramen! This has achieved amazing popularity in the last couple of years, and whether you try it at an outside stall in the heat of Fukuoka or in the middle of winter in cold Hokkaido you will love it!