The Japanese Food Culture Explained
Japanese food is becoming increasingly popular in the UK, so much so that even the supermarkets sell sushi in their snack and takeaway sections. But what does a typical Japanese meal consist of. It normally includes a bowl of rice (gohan), a bowl of miso soup (miso shiru), pickled vegetables (tsukemono) and fish or meat. Although rice is the staple food of Japan, several kinds of noodles (udon, soba and ramen) are also very popular for light meals.
As an island nation, the Japanese love seafood which includes a wide variety of fish, squid, octopus, eel. So, in Japan, shellfish is used in all kinds of dishes ranging from sushi to tempura.
Sticky, short-grained rice is the staple food in Japan and there are several thousand varieties grown across the country. Rice is also used to make rice cakes (mochi), rice crackers (senbei) rice crackers and rice wine (sake). Rice is also cooked with red beans (sekihan)or seafood and vegetables (Takikomi gohan). Onigiri are rice balls with seafood or vegetables in the middle, usually wrapped in a piece of dried seaweed (nori) and are ideal as for starters or snacks.
Udon noodles are the most popular and are made from wheat flour. They are boiled and served in a hot broth and topped with ingredients such as a raw egg to make tsukimi udon, and deep-fried tofu to make kitsune udon.
Soba is another type of noodle which is made from buckwheat; these are thinner and a darker colour than the udon noodles. Soba is usually served cold with a dipping sauce, sliced green onions and wasabi. When served in a hot broth, it is known as kake soba.
Though they come from China, Ramen noodles are also popular in Japan and are served extensively in Japanese restaurants. Ramen is a thin egg noodle which is almost always served in a hot broth flavoured with shoyu or miso. This is topped with a variety of ingredients such as slices of roast pork (chashu), bean sprouts (moyashi), sweetcorn and butter. Ramen is popular throughout Japan and different regions are known for their variations on the theme. The most famous brand is Pot Noodles to which you just add hot water.
Seafood & Meat
Japanese people consume a lot more fish than is typical in western countries and this is said to be a major factor in the country’s relatively low rate of heart disease. Seafood is eaten in just about any form you can imagine, from raw sushi and sashimi to grilled sweet fish and clams. Meat consumption was illegal in Japan until the ban was lifted during the Meiji Restoration in the 1870s. Today meat is increasingly part of the everyday Japanese diet, with yakitori (grilled chicken), yakiniku (Korean barbeque), gyudon (beef bowl) and of course the standard fare of foreign and local hamburger chain restaurants ubiquitous across the country.
The soybean (daizu) is used to make a wide variety of foods and flavourings. Soybeans and rice are used to make miso, a paste used for flavouring soup and marinating fish. Together with soy sauce (shoyu), miso is a foundation of Japanese cuisine. Tofu is soybean curd and a popular source of protein, especially for vegetarians. These days, even tofu donuts and tofu ice cream are available.
Tenkaichi Sushi and Noodle Bar
Tenkaichi is Cardiff’s premier sushi and noodle bar offering a range of Japanese food with a touch to suit the British palate including rice-Gohan, Ramen, Yakisoba-udon, Sashimi and a choice of popular Bento boxes.
To find our more check out our menus here or call us on the number below to make a reservation: