With the opening of London’s first depachika, a combination food hall and market originating from Japan’s department stores, worldwide cuisine and culinary habit continue to spread across the globe. Curious? Here’s a quick rundown of Japan’s most well-known dishes if you’re looking to pick up some authentic ingredients and try a few at home for yourself.
Nigiri, sashimi, tamaki – the world of sushi can become a mind-boggling list of titles, types, and variances if you’re not careful. In layman’s terms, sushi is any dish that includes seasoned vinegar rice in some shape or form. Deliveroo has a great breakdown of individual servings for the inexperienced, otherwise, let’s talk about how to put this dish together at home safely.
Sushi is probably the most well-known Japanese dish outside of Japan, and one of the most popular, too. The big draw: delicious, fresh, and raw fish. Whilst it can be served – and is, quite often – with cooked meat, sushi typically combines tuna, salmon, or some other creature of the sea in its serving. For beginners: a chirashi of mushroom, cucumber, and crab is a good place to start. Experiment with vegetable, meat, and sauce combinations to your heart’s content.
A rich and savoury broth, soaked noodles, combo veg, and a tea stained egg for decadence; ramen is a soup-based dish and one that can vary wildly from price point to price point. At the lower end, instant noodles and microwave cups provide a quick and easy meal for those on the go, whilst handcrafted luxury dishes truly bring out the flavours and possibilities such a recipe can contain.
To get started making ramen, begin with a classic and well-known recipe. BBC Good Food has a great take on traditional Tokyo soya noodle ramen, one that takes you through the process in six quick steps. It might be foreign, and it might be difficult at first, but there’s no reason your exploration of Japanese food has to be limited to travel and restaurants. Chop some spring onion, dice some garlic, and get boiling.
We’re going raw again. This time, it’s all about family, sharing, and a great big hot pot. Shabu Shabu is made up of veg, razor-thin beef, and a kombu dashi (a type of broth). Folks gather around a boiling stew and stroke their food back and forth through the water, cooking it themselves in a matter of seconds on the end of a pair of chopsticks.
This is a great dish to try when hosting a communal event or even just cooking dinner for friends and family. Chop up some veg, prepare the meat, and let everyone cook together. Japanese dishes aren’t just new flavours, they’re new ways of eating. Head on down to the depachika or your local international section at the supermarket and give it a go. Say “yes” to your hungry taste buds.
So, there we have it. Three types of Japanese food that no longer seem an impossible recipe to try at home. Worldwide cuisine is becoming more readily available every day so keep an open mind and an open palate. Your stomach will thank you for it.