The Japanese Cuisine: Main Features

Japanese food has been gaining admirers in recent decades. It is respected and recognized worldwide. In today’s post, I will let you discover Japanese cuisine in detail, far from myths.

What is the typical Japanese food?

The typical Japanese food is based on three ingredients:

  • Rice.
  • Noodles.
  • Seafood.

Most recipes are based on rice

  • Many of the dishes are accompanied by a small serving of white rice.
  • Kare Raisu is a curried rice.
  • Onigiri are small cooked rice balls. They are wrapped in nori seaweed stuffed with a umeboshi plum or tuna.
  • Chachan combines rice with eggs or peas.
  • The domburi accompanies rice with some garnish.
  • Kayu is made of rice cooked the previous day.
  • Chazuke combines rice, salmon and green tea.

Noodles are popular dishes in Japanese cuisine

  • Soba noodle is thin. It is served hot or cold. It is accompanied by vegetables or seafood. Udon is a type of thick noodle.
  • Yakisoba noodle is made fried and served with meat, vegetables and ginger.
  • Ramen noodles are used in soups.

The diversity of seafood and fish

  • Sushi is the most popular dish in the Western. A base of rice and raw fish, sliced, and wrapped with nori seaweed.
  • Sashimi is another well-known recipe. It is raw seafood, accompanied by soy sauce and wasabi.
  • Yakizana is a grilled version of various fish.

The nabe refers to Japanese sewed dishes

It is served in a hot casserole placed in the center of the table, to share. It is cooked with vegetables, seafood, mushrooms, meat, etc. The following recipes are the best known:

  • Oden is prepared with fish, hard boiled egg, kombu seaweed and soybeans.
  • Shabu-shabu is a hot soup, along with vegetables, mushrooms and tofu.
  • Sukiyaki is a dish with sliced ​​meat, vegetables, mushrooms, tofu and shirataki.

Characteristics of Japanese food

Yoshoku cooking

Yoshoku is the name given to the Japanese western cooking style. It differs from washoku, the traditional cuisine of Japan. Yoshoku was introduced after the Meji Restoration, a revolution that brought about political and social changes in Japan, between 1866 and 1870.


Soybeans are one of the central ingredients of Japanese cuisine. Soy constitutes the basis of sauce or fermented pasta. Originally from Eastern Asia, it has been used for thousands of years. It is characterized by its nutritional value and taste. The consumption of soybeans has highly increased in recent years.

Green tea

It is a usual complement in Japanese diet. Indeed, it is known as “tea” or “Japanese tea.” There are different types, depending on the quality and price. The best are those of the Yame and Uji area.

What is the difference between Chinese and Japanese cuisine?

Although both Asian countries have common characteristics in their diet, there are several differences between both cuisines that depend on the techniques, coming from religious beliefs and philosophies.

One of the main dissimilarities is rice. The Japanese consume a small amount and cook it white and steamed. It is mostly accompanied with seafood and sweet sauce. As for the Chinese, they eat a larger portion along with meat, fish and vegetables. Chinese food is characterized by a spicy, sour and bittersweet flavor.

Japanese cuisine has been influenced by Chinese cooking. However it has refined it to create its own unique cooking style, based on seasonality, quality and presentation.

What is sake in the Japanese cuisine?

Sake is an alcoholic, natural beverage from Japan. It has an alcohol content which ranges from 18 to 20 degrees. There are diluted sake varities where alcohol is reduced to 15 degrees. It can be consumed cold or hot. It is made by fermenting rice and it is also used to cook soup, sauce, fish or meat. Although usually accompanied by appetizers, this drink suits every meal. There is a great variety of sake and the price can be very high.

The art of Japanese plating extends to the beverage. The sake is served in a small ceramic jug, with matching glasses. Some are authentic works of art.

What do the Japanese eat for breakfast?

Traditional Japanese breakfast is different from the West. At present, many Japanese are changing their habits, consume cereals or toast and postpone the classic version during the weekend.

Its low fat and sugar content, its high volume of vitamins and proteins make this breakfast one of the healthiest in the world. It is based on a small portion but high in nutrients. What are the typical dishes?

  • Hot rice with soy sauce and a raw egg, called tamago kake gohan. The tamago onsen version replaces the raw egg with a poached one, cooked in thermal water.
  • Miso soup.
  • Dashi maki, a Japanesetortilla.
  • Grilled salmon.
  • Grilled smelt.
  • Salad with fish or tofu.
  • Pickled cucumber, eggplant, radish, etc.
  • Green tea.

What does Japan produce?

Arable land in Japan is very scarce. Among wheat, soy, etc., the main product is rice. The Japanese consume this locally produced cereal. However, most of it is exported. As for soybeans, Japan is the third exporter after China and European Union countries. Also green tea has a great importance in Japan, as well as in China and Vietnam.

In addition, the most expensive fruits in the world are grown in Japan, being considered a luxury item. In fact, offering a fruit can be one of the most elegant gifts ever. Another very active and important industry to highlight is the fishery.

Conclusions: what do the Japanese not eat?

Today’s post clarifies that Japanese food is not based on sushi and makis. The Japanese cuisine is characterized by balanced and diverse food. Its diet places Japan as one of the healthiest countries in the world.