If one were to ask around what Japanese food is, the vast majority would probably answer sushi. And yes, Tokyo is actually sushi’s home town, but Japanese food is still so much more than that!
There are noodle dishes in plenty, deep-fried foods such as kushiage and tempura, okonomiyaki which is like a Japanese equivalent of pizza, a schnitzel-like dish of tonkatsu, chicken skewers, casseroles of all kinds, and the list could be made endless.
If you enjoy cooking and are interested in how the food culture can differ from one country to another, you should definitely take and study Japanese cuisine more closely.
Japanese cuisine culture
The country’s cooking has always been characterized by a number of very important principles, some of which are; the care of the different primaries of the seasons, the proximity to the heritage of Zen Buddhism, its visual impressions and the sea. Several of the basic ingredients since used and which have always been important are sourced from China.
During the Heian period, the aristocracy that existed in Kyoto developed a very special and refining food culture, where the meal itself also came to be extremely essential as an ingredient. Even today, one usually connects Kyoto with Kaisekima cooking. The ascetic life of Zen Buddhism also became more and more vital in much of Japan during the 13th century, and as a result, the art of cooking also came to be simplified a great deal and larger amounts of vegetarian dishes also appeared.
According to tradition, all food would be served to the table in the form of smaller portions and it would furthermore be prepared using one of the classic approaches; deep-frying, steaming, boiling, grilling, or insert. All food would then also be composed so that those who ate it could taste all the flavors; sour, strong, sweet, mild, bitter, and salty.
Because as time went on, food also began to absorb influences from other countries, and during the 16th century, it was mainly Portuguese food that was prioritized, especially the deep-fried. In the 1600s, the country once again began to isolate itself from the outside world, and from there they returned to more authentic flavors of the country, which reinforced the Japanese features more and again. Since then, they have taken in flavors and cooking from the outside but have always been very good at preserving Japan in everything they do.
The basics of Japanese cooking
On the whole, basically all Japanese dishes contain white rice, raw fish and / or soup containing pieces of algae, vegetables, fish or meat. Later during the meal, a number of smaller dishes also tend to come in prepared according to the five basic cooking methods. Common flavors that can also be expected are soy, ginger, wasabi, and horseradish (green). Exactly what is found varies, which is most often mainly dependent on the time of year.