Every country in the world has its own version of their food. The Italians popularized the well-renowned meat pastry called ‘pizza’ and became the leaders in the pizza making industry. On the other hand, the Germans invented the hamburger which was originally made from ‘hamburg’ or fine ground beef. It is mixed with seasonings and other spices for perfect taste. Meanwhile, in the Asian mainland, Japan is also known in the world as one of the pioneers in the food industry. The Japanese food values traditionalism, combines the modern efficiency of latest technologies in order to create the traditional Japanese food that captivated food lovers for many years. When speaking of the Japanese food, it is a very broad term which encompasses a variety of food types: noodles, sushi, sashimi, tofu, and many others.
When visiting Japan, tourists are often delighted to try out some special Japanese delicacies such as ramen. Ramen is a variety of Japanese noodle recipe; different regions have a varying recipe for the ramen. Ramen has a soft and firm noodles and a variety of soups to add in order to achieve different kinds of flavor. For example, the white soup added in the ramen noodles have a taste similar to the boiled pork meat; brown mimics the taste of beef whilst the red soup (usually found in the Fukuouka region) can either be a combination of beef and pork flavors with a hint of spiciness.
On the other hand, sushi is another type of Japanese food that uses wasabi paste and raw fish meat placed on top of the boiled rice. A visit to Japan will never be complete without tasting sashimi and sushi. Raw fish are sliced into thin strips, removing the skin whilst preserving the meat in good portions for better presentation. A sharp knife is used to slice the meat evenly in accordance to the design that the chef wants. Afterwards, the thin strip of fish will be placed on top of the hot rice with a dab of wasabi paste in order to kill bacteria. Sashimi is similar to sushi but without rice. It only consists of a raw fish dipped in a special sauce (Chaouli, 324). Okonomiyaki is a Japanese style pizza. In restaurants particularly in Tokyo, the guests are allowed to create and cook their own okonomiyaki on their tables using the ingredients provided by the restaurant. Okonomiyaki is a special treat for pizza lovers because it is a balanced combination of meat and vegetables.
Tofu is a versatile ingredient created from the soy bean milk in a process called curdling; a similar method in creating cheeses. Many western countries are already using the tofu to neutralize the flavors of their dishes. This usually works if the dish is spicy and salty. Furthermore, another example of the Japanese food is yakitori. Yakitori is another Japanese delicacy that is similar to Western barbecues. It consists of grilled chicken and pork meats and usually sold at the food stalls in the streets. In preparing these food, the Japanese are very keen in presentation. They normally use the seaweeds to make their food more attractive to the eyes and often put them in decorative lunchboxes called bento. According to the article written by the scholar Elizabeth Andoh, the bento boxes were widely in used in preparation of school lunches because it enables the mother to learn the proper preparation of food as well as to immerse the children with different varieties of balanced diet consisting of mixed vegetables, rice, fruits, and some side dishes such as sea weeds and meat (Andoh, 100-101).
Curry is also another favorite Japanese food that came from the West. Originally, curry came from the Indian mainland and spread to the West. However, after the World War II, the Japanese economy boomed and the nation relied on the influx of the ‘quick foods’ introduced by the West. Curry is one example of a Western food that became an instant Japanese favorite even today. “Curry had an advantage of entering the Japanese gastronomy because it went well with the Japanese rice” (Takashi, 68).
Food presentation is an important aspect of the Japanese gastronomy for it attracts the eyes and gives the lasting impression that the food served are tasty. Even in the Western countries food presentation is also important. Young children who are not fond of eating vegetables may be convinced to eat some if the food are presented in a funny style usually in the shape of animal figures. In the winter months, Japanese people take their time to delight in some old favorites especially the ohagi made from glutinous rice boiled and mixed with sweet bean filling. Ohagi is a delicacy often served during feasts; and during family visits. The preparation of this sweet treat takes time to learn and in order to make the dish more appetizing, it is necessary to roll the molded ohagi to the sweetened bean paste to give it a chocolate appearance. As a conclusion, the Japanese food values aesthetic beauty, simplicity, and healthiness of the menu being served. The food can be easily accessible to everyone else because it can be found being sold in the street stalls. Furthermore, the influence of anime also enhanced the Japanese foods’ appeal to the local and foreign people because the anime characters advertises the food to a broader audience.
Andoh, Elizabeth. “What and How Japanese Eat.” Japan Quarterly 48.1 (2001): 100-102. Web. ProQuest. 27 Apr 2015.
Chaouli, Michael. “Criticism and Style.” New Literary History 44.3 (2013): 323-344, 515. Web. ProQuest. 27 Apr 2015.
Takashi, Morieda. “The Unlikely Love Affair with Curry and Rice.” Japan Quarterly 47.2 (2000): 66-74. Web. ProQuest. 27 Apr 2015.