The foundation of modern-day cuisine in Japan was heavily influenced by the customs developed during the Edo Era. A period of economic and social growth, people began eating three meals a day instead of two, while incorporating the holy trinity of Japanese flavor (soy sauce, mirin, and sake). Food stalls were also introduced to feed busy commoners on the go. While some practices diminished over time, many continue to thrive today.
Mushrooms are a well known part of many cuisines. In Japanese cuisine, mushrooms - known askinoko(キノコ) - play an essential role, adding umami and texture to many dishes. Many varieties of mushrooms can be found growing throughout Japan’s mountainous landscape. Here's a quick overview of some popular Japanese mushrooms:
As one can see, the image of tofu being a white block of gelatinous blandness is a result of a lack of exposure to what can be made from it and with it. Even the simplest tofu dish,hiyayakko,a dish consisting of fresh chilled tofu garnished with grated ginger, katsuobushi flakes, scallions, and soy sauce, can be incredible in its subtlety and depth of flavor.
The general process of making tofu is rather simple, probably deceptively so. And it is this simplicity that has led to innovation and experimentation over time, the result of which is an astounding amount of variation in the ways that tofu can be made.
There’s a lot to love about Japanese sake. It’s much more than a drink. It’s a story of Japanese craftsmanship, of human terroir, of a connection to nature, of understanding the past and looking towards the future. Sake is all of these things and more, constantly evolving, finding new ways to bring people together.
Another great aspect of sake, or nihonshu as its referred to in Japan, is how it harmonises with just about any type of food you pair it with. Although it would be easy to assume that it goes best with Japanese food, I’d ask that you resist the temptation and think about unconventional food pairings.
So, join me ask I take you through five sake and food pairings that are unique to my own experiences.
In this article, we’ll be looking at how Japan and the US differ in terms of organic farming and what Japan is doing to try and improve their position in the global initiatives towards larger scale sustainable, environmentally friendly agricultural methods.
While urban migration and falling fertility rates are contributing to the declining agricultural industry in Japan, there are other complicated reasons that make revitalization difficult. These mainly include issues of landownership and the restrictions on farming organizations. Luckily, there seems to be some hope for the industry’s recovery with recent surges in investing and ideas about rural revitalization.
Our ideas about food (the foundation of life) truly shape the ways in which we live. And while there are many diets that take a philosophical or mindful approach to eating, there are few cuisines that embrace this concept as much asshōjin ryōri (精進料理.)
Tsukemono or “pickled things” are a staple in Japanese cuisine. Their bright colors, unique shapes and wide range of flavors are almost often found as a side dish or garnish to any Japanese meal. They serve the purpose of cleansing one’s palate and aiding in digestion.
Like wine, Japanese teas are often paired alongside meals, snacks and sweets to enhance and complement flavors while providing a full taste experience. Out of the myriads of pairings available, here are some tea and food combinations we recommend.
For centuries, Hakone has been a destination for people to relax and enjoy its famousonsens (natural hot springs). Just over an hour away from Tokyo, it’s an easy getaway from the city and has numerous activities to enjoy including hiking, art museums, traditional craft-making and all its delicious local food. Enjoy these sties to see!
For centuries, Hakone has been a destination for people to relax and enjoy its famousonsens (natural hot springs). Just over an hour away from Tokyo, it’s an easy getaway from the city and has numerous activities to enjoy including hiking, art museums, traditional craft-making and all its delicious local food. Enjoy my afternoon food adventure!
For centuries, Hakone has been a destination for people to relax and enjoy its famous onsens (natural hot springs). Just over an hour away from Tokyo, it’s an easy getaway from the city and has numerous activities to enjoy including hiking, art museums, traditional craft-making and all its delicious local food. Enjoy my morning food adventure!
Tea etiquette is vital in Japan: from the intricate details of the traditional tea ceremony to casually serving guests in your home. There are subtle rules, for the server and the guest, that have been passed down through generations and have become ingrained in Japanese tea culture.
Kyushu (九州) – Japan’s southernmost mainland island has arguably the most sought after and unique cuisine anywhere in Japan. This is due to a multitude of factors, but most importantly their Chinese immigrant influence, geothermal phenomenon, and historic availability of coastal and deep-sea fishing due to their numerous ports.
As with so many things in Japan, some of the most treasured experiences are often the simplest. These philosophies are particularly true of the traditional Japanese Buddhist cuisine known as shojin ryori. These vegetarian and often vegan meals are not only for devout Buddhist monks, but are a highlight for anyone visiting ancient places such as Kyoto where they can be enjoyed within the Buddhist temples themselves.
Okinawa, Japan's southernmost tropical islands, has a climate and way of life that differs from the rest of Japan. With its own local foods and a rich history influenced by the different cultures that have passed through, Okinawan cuisine, also known as Ryūkyūan cuisine (Ryūkyū ryōri), has a taste and flavor that is uniquely its own.
Rice crackers can be found in every shape, color and flavor in Japan. From savory to sweet, there’s a rice cracker to fit every occasion and taste. Each region has its own specialty based on local ingredients which are then baked, grilled or fried. Most rice crackers in Japan however, fall into two main categories based on the rice used and their shape: Senbei (煎餅) and Okaki (おかき).
If you've ever visited Japanese restaurants, you've likely seendonburion the menu. Donburi, orrice bowls, are the perfect choice for a quick and delicious meal in Japan. Named for the large bowl that the dish served in, called a “don”, donburi combines a bowl of steamed rice with meat, vegetables and sauce, and is usually served with a side of pickles and miso soup. It's an all-in-one meal that’s both convenient and filling.