Taste of Japan

From edamame to sushi, take a look at Japan's most popular foods.
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Edamame

This salty snack of pods of baby soybeans goes well with beer. You can often find it at Japanese ballparks.

Yakitori

Yakitori are small pieces of skewered chicken and vegetables cooked on a grill. Each part of the chicken is typically grilled: the meat, liver, gizzard, skin, tail, cartilage, wing and small intestines.

Sukiyaki

This hot pot dish consists of thinly sliced beef, onions and tofu cooked in a sweet soup. It is eaten with rice and raw egg. It is also a popular wintertime treat.

Tempura

Tempura is any food (usually meat, veggies or seafood) that is fried in a special batter. It is usually served with a dipping sauce called tentsuyu.

Sakuramochi

Eaten during the Cherry Blossom Festival as well as Hinamatsuri (Girls' Day) in Japan, this pastry comes in two varieties: the Kanto (Tokyo) style where azuki bean paste-filled pancake/crepe is wrapped with a pickled sakura leaf, and the Kansai style, which is made with Domyoji-ko, a kind of glutinous rice flour that is steamed and filled with azuki.

Seaweed Salad

Japanese seaweed salad can consist of one or more types of seaweed: wakame, arame, dulse, hijiki, ao-nori and agar strips. It is often made with sesame seeds and oil. Seaweed is a super food and is loaded with anti-oxidants and minerals.

Soba

Soba is another popular soup-based dish. When served hot, the thin buckwheat noodles are topped with items such as tempura, duck, mochi (rice cakes) or mountain vegetables. It can also be served cold with wasabi.

Sake

This alcoholic beverage is made from fermented rice called shinpaku-mai. The higher the starch content of the rice, the better the sake. There are four ypes of sake, and each uses a different type of rice: junmai-shu, honjozo-shu, ginjo-shu and daiginjo-shu.

Ramen Noodles

Ramen are Japanese noodles with an oily soup that has a meat or fish broth flavored with soy sauce, salt or miso. Ramen noodles can be topped with thin sliced pork, egg, nori (type of seaweed) and green onion.

Miso Soup

Miso soup is made with a simple stock called dashi (seaweed and fish shavings). A small amount of miso paste is added to the broth, which ends up floating in the mixture. Seaweed, onion and tofu are all toppings that can be used in the soup.

Okonomiyaki

Often translated as Japanese pancake, these patties are made from a batter of flour, eggs and shredded cabbage. Veggies, meat, seafood and cheese can all be mixed in. They are often topped with fish or seaweed flakes, mayonnaise and pickled ginger.

Shabu-shabu

Similar to fondue, these thin slices of pork or beef are cooked by submerging them in boiling broth using long chopsticks. They can be eaten along with veggies, seafood or tofu.

Sushi

There are two varieties of sushi. Maki is when fish, veggies or a combo are rolled into rice and wrapped in seaweed. Nigiri means 'hand made,' and includes rice shaped into a rectangle with a piece of fish on top.

Tsukemono

These Japanese pickles come in many varieties such as beni shoga (ginger pickle), bettarazuke (Japanese radish pickle), gari (young sweet ginger pickle) and nasu karashizuke (pickled eggplant). They are used as toppings or a side dish.

Udon

Udon are thick Japanese wheat noodles. They can be eaten cold with a dipping sauce and wasabi, or hot in a broth with toppings such as tofu, tempura or toasted mochi.

Taiyaki

Taiyaki are fish-shaped Japanese sweets filled with red bean paste or custard and served hot. They are a popular food at Japanese festivals.

Ikura

The salmon eggs can be served on rice as sushi or in onigiri (rice ball).

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