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Japanese Food Fundamentals

Updated on March 5, 2014

Japanese Food Fundamentals

Japanese food is a fabulous example of a perfect East-West romance. Reputedly sophisticated looking, cute, healthy, and with a whole host of subtle qualities, Japanese food instigates indulgence just by existing. Sometimes it seems expensive too, that is until you have tasted it. In marketing, we say an item is never priced at cost, but at “value”. That substantiates why Japanese food is one of the most popular food genre globally despite its rather expensive nature.

There are many different varieties of Japanese food you can enjoy the world all over – this includes what true Japanese food as well as non-Japanese people’s approximation of Japanese food. With its unique blend of simplicity and richness, the “evolved” Japanese food co-houses East and West in a friendly and peaceful way. If you spend time in my blog, you will get a lot of pointers as to how Japanese food has come to where it is today, and where it is heading. 

Japanese Food History

As is usually seen in foreign cultural elements that adapt in various local environments, there are several myths and mysteries floating around about Japanese food. One such example is the origin of Sushi.

 There are various versions of this, but the most authentic sources highlight that Sushi is originally not from Japan at all. It actually originated in South East Asia around 5th century BC and started spreading mainly through China, and didn’t hit the shores of Japan until 8th Century AD!

And in the early days Sushi was a way to preserve food rather than a cuisine. Typically, you would clean the fish and gut it and then keep in rice for several months. The natural fermentation of the rice would help preserve the fish. You would serve it several months later but unlike modern day, you would discard the rice.

 It used to be called Nare-Sushi. It was in the hands of the Japanese since the 8th Century AD that Sushi went through a major transformation. So if someone says Sushi is unique to the Japanese culture, he should not be immediately killed because the current serving of a Sushi dish with both rice and fish as we know it today is indeed a pure Japanese production.

Something the Japanese may not have imagined earlier started happening in the 1970’s when Sushi restaurants popped up all over the west, accentuated by, of-course, the health consciousness of the 80’s which continues till date. Sushi is now already a multi-billion dollar industry in its own merit and is still growing.

A Cool Japanses Recipe

Some Special Japanese Dishes

Botamochi, a sticky rice dumpling with sweet azuki paste served in spring
Chimaki: steamed sweet rice cake
Hamo: a kind of fish
Osechi: New Year Japanese dish
Sekihan: the red rice
Soba: New Year's Eve dish
Chirashizushi: clear soup of clams
amazake: Hinamatsuri
Sushi: You already know...

As you can imagine, its not “cool” at all not knowing how to make Sushi. So take a Sushi lesson and head towards the kitchen. Happy cooking!


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