Yoshoku (Japanese-style Western Food) 洋食
Yoshoku (洋食) is western food adapted to the Japanese palate. This style of cuisine started in the Meiji restoration period, 1868-1012, when, after centuries of isolation, Japanese citizens began traveling to other countries and learning about the cuisine outside of Japan. So, Yoshoku also means uniquely developed Japanese-style western dishes.
The classic Yoshoku dishes includes curry rice, ebi fry (fried shrimp), and Korokke (croquette made with potatoes and meat). Some of these influences are reflected in the popularity in Japan, of sauces such as ketchup or Worcestershire, as well as bread.
Yoshoku has a special appeal of nostalgia to the Japanese. It is an icon of the Showa period, and the never-changing taste of the classic dishes bring back people’s memories. A great place to feel the nostalgia is authentic Koshoku restaurants called “Yoshoku ya” (洋食屋) or “Yoshoku ten” (洋食店).
You can αlso eat Yoshoku dishes in other places, too. Family restaurants called “Famiresu” are casual and inexpensive chain restaurants. Okosama lunch is a popular item at famiresu. It is a plate of selected Koshoku dishes specially made for children. Some of the Japanese-style cafes called “Kissaten” (喫茶店) serve yoshoku dishes too.
Most Yoshoku dishes will be eaten with silverware instead of chopsticks, rice at Yoshoku restaurant is served on a plate instead of in a rice bowl.
Popular Yoshoku menu items:
Furai（フライ）Breaded and deep-fried items such as shrimp, scallops, fish, oysters
Napolitan (ナポリタン ) Spaghetti with ketchup based sauce
Omuraisu（オムライス） An omelet willed with ketchup-flavored rice
Other Yoshoku menu items:
Hamba-gu（ハンバーグ）A meatloaf-like burger served with demi-glace sauce, but without a bun
Kare-raisu (カレーライス) Curry with rice
Korokke (コロッケ) Creamy croquettes, sometimes filled with seafood such as crab
Menchi Katsu（メンチカツ） Breaded and deep-fried hamburger to which chopped onions have been added
Guratan（グラタン）Gratin dishes often macaroni or seafood in cream sauce with cheese
Doria (ドリア) Rice casserole with a white sauce
Hayashi raise (ハヤシライス) Beef stew in a demi-glace sauce
Bi-fu shichu (ビーフシチュー) Beef stew
Bi-fu sute-ki（ビーフステーキ） Beef steak
Roru kyabettsu（ロールキャベツ）Cabbage rolls with tomato sauce
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* Reference of this article : Food Sake Tokyo (The Terroir Guides) , 外国人がいちばん食べたい和食90選
Onigiri (Rice balls) おにぎり
It is no exaggeration to say that rice balls are a national dish of Japan. There are various types of rice balls, from simple ones that are simply sprinkled with salt, to those that contain various fillings, and those that are made from grilled rice. Onigiri is evolving day by day and is not only the main character of bento, but also an easy-to-eat snack.
Onigiri is made by adding ingredients to cooked Japanese rice and molding it into a triangle, round shape, or bale shape.
My family also loves rice balls. In particular, simple salted rice balls that are simply sprinkled with salt and wrapped with seaweed are popular. At my home, rice balls appear not only for breakfast and lunch, but also when we have finished eating dinner and want to eat something a little more. So as we go on a picnic, we often bring rice balls with various fillings rather sandwiches.
What is the difference with Onigiri and Sushi?
One of the key differences between onigiri and sushi is that onigiri is made with plain steamed japonica rice, while sushi is made of steamed japonica rice seasoned with vinegar, salt, and sugar.
On the contrary, what sushi and rice balls have in common is that they are dishes designed to preserve rice for a long time.
Rice vinegar is used for sushi. For onigiri, salt is sprinkled around rice balls, and antibacterial and preservative ingredients such as pickled plums and various pickles are often used.
Where you can buy Onigiri?
In general, you can buy rice balls at convenience stores and supermarkets in Japan. At convenience stores, not only standard ingredients but also unique rice balls made with seasonal ingredients are available. Although there are still few, there are rice ball specialty stores from individual stores to chains.
Traditional onigiri fillings
– Umeboshi (Pickled plum、梅干し)
– Sake (Grilled salmon、焼鮭)
– Kombu (Simmered kelp、昆布の佃煮)
– Tuna Mayo (Tuna mayonnaise、ツナマヨ)
– Mentaiko (Mentaiko、明太子)
– Cha-han (Fried rice、チャーハン)
– Yaki-onigiri (Grilled onigiri、焼きおにぎり)
Watch How To Make Onigiri
Recipe : Onigiri
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on November 18, 2020.
Tsukemono (Japanese Pickles) 漬物
Japanese pickles are normally served with rice and miso soup. There is also a wide variety of Japanese pickles, from salt-only pickles to pickles using rice vinegar and sugar, and pickles using rice brans or rice koji. Japanese pickles play an important role in Japanese meals. Please see the world of Japanese pickles.
What is the characteristic of Japanese pickles ?
Tsukemono (Japanese Pickles, 漬物) – are preserved vegetables that are pickled in salt (or salt water), soy sauce, vinegar mixed with sugar, miso, sake lees, rice bran or rice koji. They are variously called Tsukemono, Kou no mono, or Shinko can be salty, sour, tart, piquant, or sweet.
Pickling time ranges from a few minutes to a few hours to a few years, and some pickles are fermented in the process. They also vary widely in texture: cucumber pickles are crispy, eggplant pickles are soft and may squeak in your teeth. Takuan, the popular yellow pickle made from dried daikon, is sweet and crunchy.
From the thin-sliced pickled ginger at the sushi counter to kaiseki meals that traditionally end with them, pickles are present in some form at most Japanese meals. Benishoga, or bright red pickkled ginger, is a popular accompaniment to fried noodles with vegetables called yakisoba. Curry is often served with sweet, red pickles made from seven different vegetables called fukujinzuke.
Some of the most distinctive pickled items are called Naraduke which originated in Nara, in the kansai region. These melon gourds, and other vegetables are pickled in sake kasu (sake lees) for as long as three years. Many of the melons and gourds arwe long, thin varieties, and after pickling, are presented in a spiral that resembles a sausage and covered in a brown slurry.
Another distinctive type of pickle, nukazuke, uses nuka (rice bran) as the fermenting agent. In the market the nuka looks like wet sand and covers whole pickled vegetables such as cucumbers, carrots, or daikon radishes. Before eating, the bran is rinsed off and the vegetables are cut up into bite-size pieces. The resulting aroma and flavor are quite different from pickles made with salt or vinegar. In Tokyo, local pickle bettarazuke: daikon pickled in rice koji slurry is popular.
In Japan, it is usually served with various Japanese dishes, including Japanese breakfast, soba or udon noodles and donburi dishes. Pickles play an important role in balancing the whole dish, even though it is a small dish. For example, pickles have the effect of refreshing the mouth. For this reason, pickles are called konomono (Kou no mono, 香の物) or “fragrant things” or “fragrant foods” at long-established Japanese restaurants.
Best 3 Healthy Benefits
3. probiotics = digestive system healthy
Top 10 Popular Japanese pickles
1. Shio-zuke (salted pickles, 塩漬け）
2. Umeboshi (Pickled plum, 梅干し)
3. Takuan (Pickled daikon, たくあん)
4. Shibazuke (Pickled in salt and red shiso leaves, しば漬け)
5. Asazuke (Lightly pickled vegetables, 浅漬け)
6. Nukazuke (Pickled vegetables in rice bran, 糠漬け)
7. Kasuzuke (Pickledvegetables in rice koji/mold, 粕漬け)
8. Shinshoga (Pickled ginger, 新生姜)
9. Rakkyo (Pickled Chinese onion, らっきょう)
10. Benishoga (Pickled and colored ginger, 紅生姜)
What are the popular vegetables for Japanese pickles?
– Daikon radish（だいこん）
– Chinese cabbage（はくさい）
– Lotus root（れんこん）
– Chinese onioin（らっきょう）
Watch How To Make Tsukemono
Recipe : Japanese Pickles
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on November 4th, 2020.
Tamagoyaki (Japanese Omelette/Egg Roll) 玉子焼き
Tamagoyaki (玉子焼き) is normally sweet and is popular not only as a side dish for lunch boxes and Japanese breakfast. Recently, it is used as a filling of sandwich.
Tamagoyaki (玉子焼き) is a sweetened egg rolled omelette that has golden yellow color and unique shape. Yes, it’s like a pillow (before cutting!)
Tamagoyaki has both sweet and savory taste and is loved by young to the old here in Japan.
You might have tasted this Japanese style egg roll as a side dish in a bento box or as one of the appetizer of Japanese breakfast or atop of sushi.
Nowadays, you can see Tamagoyaki in a sandwich.
Tamagoyaki is rolled thin omelettes so that it has several layers. It looks easy and simple to make Tamagoyaki but making Tamagoyaki for the first time might be a littble bit tricky.
But no worries! You might need to practice a few times and you will soon be a Tamagoyaki master! (Please try some of my Tamagoyaki recipes!)
What is difference of Tamago (玉子) and Tamago (卵)?
Birds that are used for food (cooked) are called 玉子. Biological meaning such as fish and insects or that are eaten raw from birds are called 卵.
People also confuse about the names of Tamagoyaki(卵焼き), Atsuyaki Tamago（厚焼き玉子）, and Dashimaki Tamago（だし巻き玉子）.
– Tamagoyaki : Japanese omelette/Egg roll in general.
– Atsuyaki Tamago : thick egg roll with firm and dense texture
– Dashimaki Tamago : egg roll with dashi in it. It has much more refined, juicy, silky, and flavorful.
What is great about making Tamagoyaki at home is that you can create your own Japanese omelette. You can add various ingredients such as Shirasu (small fish), Nori seaweed, Sakura-ebi (dried small shrimps), green pepper or other veggies, salmon flakes and ground meat etc.
About Japanese omelette pan
In Japan, there is a special pan designed for making this egg roll. It’s also curious that rectangular shape pan is common in Kansai (West Japan) and square shape pan is common in Kanto (East Japan).
How to make Tamagoyaki?
Recipe : Tamagoyaki (with Omelette Pan & Round Pan)
Recipe : Tamagoyaki (Japanese Omelette/Egg Roll）
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on August 4th, 2013. The post has been updated in October 27, 2020 with more information for the dish and with new images.
Anmitsu (Japanese-style parfait) あんみつ
Why don’t you make this Japanese version of parfait called Anmitsu? It’s a Japanese confectionery that uses plenty of agar agar jelly, mochi (rice cakes), various fruits, red bean paste, green tea ice cream and a drizzle of brown sugar syrup as a final touch.
What is Anmitsu ?
Anmitsu (あんみつ) is considered as a summer dessert but we can buy it all year around here in Japan. This Japanese style parfait is made of small cubes of agar agar jelly, red bean paste called anko, mochi, various fruits, ice cream (either vanilla or matcha flavor) and boiled red beans. It’s usually served with brown sugar syrup called Kuromitsu that you pour over the Anmitsu before enjoying this sweets.
What exactly in the Anmitsu
Agar agar jelly (Kanten, 寒天) :
Agar agar jelly is a transparent color jelly made from tengusa, a Red Sea alga. It has no calories and no taste; and takes on the flavor of whatever it is mixed with; it solidifies at room temperature, making it simple to work with.
Red bean paste (Anko, あんこ) :
Sweet bean paste often made from Azuki beans, which is an essential ingredient in Japanese sweets. Red bean paste is either smooth (Koshian) or chunky/grainy (Tsubuan). It’s key ingredients of Anmistu because its name comes from the abbreviation of Anko.
*It can be a perfect sweets for vegetarians and vegans.
Rice cake (Mochi, もち) :
A taffy made from sticky rice that has been steamed and pounded. It’s easy to use glutinous rice flour to make mochi. There are two kinds of rice flour; Dango-ko (or Joshinko) and Shiratama-ko. Dango-ko is made from non-sticky rice.
*In my recipe, I normally use Shiratama-ko, which doesn’t require a steaming process.
Ice cream (アイスクリーム) :
Another important topping of Anmitsu for summer. Normally, either vanilla or Matcha ice cream. Somehow no sherbets for Anmitsu.
*I didn’t use vanilla ice cream this time because to avoid conflict in color from Mochi.
Brown sugar syrup (Kuromitsu, 黒みつ) :
This is another key ingredients of Anmitsu because its name comes from the abbreviation of Kuromitsu. It’s called brown sugar syrup but is almost black in color.
Red bean peas (Aka Endomame, 赤エンドウマメ) :
A few boiled peas are normally topped with Anmitsu. Even in Japan, it’s hard to find those specific peas at the local supermarket. *I used the those peas from a canned Mitsumame.
A variety of fruits (Kudamono, くだもの) :
You can use any fresh fruits or canned fruits to create your Anmitsu.
Anmitsu is a traditional Japanese sweet. Anmitsu may be avoided by young Japanese people since there are various imported sweets everywhere. However, my family and I love Japanese sweets in general so we eat Anmitsu all year around. I always eat ice cream first, but please enjoy in any order you like.
The sweetness and sourness are perfectly harmonized thanks to the brown sugar syrup. Ice cream and Mochi are always perfect match.
You may be able to find canned Anmitsu at your local supermarkets, but please try handmade Anmitsu. It’s always the BEST!
Many variation exist in Anmitsu. It started as mitsumame (みつ豆) for children in Edo period. Nowadays, you can see various fruits in the mitsumame at Japanese cafes or canned mitsumame product. But here are the basic understanding for the world of Anmitsu.
– Mitsumame : Agar agar jelly + Brown sugar syrup (Kuromitsu) + Boiled peas (Endomame)
– Fruit Mitsumame : Mitsumame + Fruits
– Cream Mitsumame : Mitsumame + Ice cream
– Anmitsu : Mitsumame + Red bean paste (anko)
– Cream Anmitsu : Mitsumame + Red bean paste (anko) + Ice cream
– Shiratama Anmitsu : Mitsumame + Red bean paste (anko) + Mochi (Shiratama dango)
– Shiratama Cream Anmitsu : Mitsumame + Red bean paste (anko) + Mochi (Shiratama dango) + Ice cream
– Fruits Shiratama Cream Anmitsu : Mitsumame + Red bean paste (anko) + Mochi (Shiratama dango) + Ice cream + Fruits *This is my recipe!
Watch How To Make Anmitsu
Recipe : Anmitsu
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on October 21st, 2020.
Okosama Lunch (Special Kids Meal) お子様ランチ
In Japan, there is a kids meal called Okosama lunch. In this kids meal, there are several Yoshoku (Western influenced Japanese food) dishes such as curry rice , hamburg/hamburger , Neapolitan pasta , fried shrimp and omelette aside with salad, fruits and sweets! Everything that kids love are decorated in one plate! ❤️ Some restaurant even gives toys and stationeries, too!!!
Neapolitan pasta (ナポリタン ・パスタ)
Botamochi/Ogahi is a popular Japanese sweets that is made of steamed glutinous rice wrapped with red bean paste.
Yellow one is dried soy bean powder called KINAKO. We don’t use dairy products and egg, so this is Japanese vegan sweets as well.
Traditionally, we eat this sweets twice a year in Japan. When we eat in Spring, this is called Botamochi. It is said that its name comes from the peony (Botan in Japanese) since the shape of red beans were used as a peony flower. We cover the rice with smooth red bean paste and the shape is oval.
In Autumn, this is called Ohagi. It is said that its name comes from the bush clover (Hagi in Japanese) since the shape of red beans were similar to bush clover. So, we use coarse bean paste and the shape is circle/round.
My family love this sweets snd it’s easy snack, so I make all year round!
Gyoza (Pot Stickers) ギョーザ
Gyoza (餃子, gyōza) are dumplings filled with ground meat and vegetables and wrapped in a thin dough. Gyoza are also known as pot stickers in English. Gyoza originated in China (where they are called jiaozi), but have become a very popular dish in Japan since most of Ramen shops also offer Gyoza on the menu. We usually use ground pork, nira chives, green onion, cabbage, ginger, garlic and sesame oil, but some gyoza specialty shops have also come up with a range of other fillings. Gyoza are found nationwide at ramen shops, Chinese restaurants, Izakaya restaurants and a small number of gyoza specialty shops.
There are mainly three types of Gyoza; Yaki gyoza(pan fried gyoza), Sui gyoza(boiled gyoza) and Age gyoza(deep fried gyoza). Yaki gyoza are most common in Japan. They are pan fried before a mixture of water and potato starch or cornstarch is poured in and everything is covered for a few minutes. Gyoza are usually eaten with a dipping sauce made of equal amounts of soy sauce and rice vinegar. If you like spicy, some drops of chili oil is also commonly added. Gyoza are particularly popular in the cities of Utsunomiya in Tochigi prefecture and Hamamatsu in Shizuoka prefecture.
Related article & video :
– Gyoza Town visit
– Japan Guide : Gyoza town
– Book : Complete Guide to Japanese Cuisine
Okonomiyaki (Japanese Savory Pancake) お好み焼き
Okonomiyaki is a Japanese-style savory pancake cooked on a large hotplate. Okonomi means “As-you-like-it” and recipes differ depending on the region; traditionally Osaka and Hiroshima. Osaka-style Okonomiyaki is literally a pancake which contains flour, dashi, shredded cabbage, Japanese spring onion, meat/seafood and egg etc. Hiroshima-style Okonomiyaki has layers of those ingredients, plus egg noodles. It is flavored with a special Okonomiyaki sauce, Japanese mayonnaise and Aonori seaweed flakes. To make both Okonomiyaki, special spatula called “Okoshi-gane” is a must tool to flip the whole pancake.
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Despite the origin from China, ramen is now a most representative dish of Japan. There are three components of ramen. Soup is made with dashi and seasonings like soy and miso. Chefs develop their own recipes for their soup by combining multiple ingredients, such as pork bones, chicken bones, kombu (kelp), dried fish, vegetables and herbs. Two other components are toppings and noodles. These vary depending on the ramen shop and the region it is produced. Noodles are usually egg noodles and can be thicker or thinner. You can see the dynamic performance of shaking noodles with using noodle strainer at the shop. Ramen toppings reflect the local food culture. Seasoned eggs called Ajitsuke tamago is a must! The classic flavors are miso, salt, soy sauce and tonkotsu (pork bone-based thick soup). Ramen is regionally diverse. Tonkotsu is popular in the south, whereas Shoyu ramen (soy sauce-based ramen) is popular in Tokyo.
Related articles & video :
– Soy sauce based ramen
– Japan Guide : Ramen Museum in Yokohama
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– Japan Guide : Ise jingu & Toba | Wagyu ramen, Tofu ice cream etc
– Book : Complete Guide to Japanese Cuisine