ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Travel and Places»
  • Visiting Asia»
  • Eastern Asia

Facts of Japan - Meals which you may not hear

Updated on May 26, 2011

The Japanese cuisine had been changing over time and till the end of seclusion, it was quite purely Japanese in nature and tradition. Only after the seclusion, there were many Western and European influences. But Japanese made these cuisines exclusively Japanese by adopting and including the Japanese cuisine.

The actual Japanese cuisine started in the Heian period after the hunting period. It was in this period the farming society emerged and traditional Japanese food was prepared. Rice was the first farming culture and so, rice had become the primary part of a meal. The plain boiled rice was called Gohan or Meshi. In the mountain, peasants used millet with rice.

Consumption of meat had become a taboo subject during the Tang Dynasty, after the introduction of Buddhism. Emperor Temmu really decreed a prohibition on the eating habits of horses, dogs, cattle, chickens and monkeys during the 4th – 9th months. Death was the punishment for breaking that law. Of course, monkeys were eaten mostly for medicinal purpose. The decree did not ban the deer and wild boar. They were truly important for a Japanese meal during those times.

Chicken in nanban sauce


  • 10 grams of chicken (thigh),
  • 1 onion,
  • potato or corn flour,
  • nanban sauce: 100 ml of rice vinegar, 4 tablespoons of sugar. 4 tablespoons of soy sauce, 1 chopped chilli.


  • Cut the meat into pieces, and coated with flour,
  • Cut onion into thin slices, pour cold water, leave it for 30 minutes,
  • In a saucepan, mix soy sauce, sugar, vinegar and chili, warm up on a low flame until sugar dissolves, remove from the burner,
  • In a pan with a thick bottom heat up the oil, fry the chicken for gold,
  • pour the meat sauce and remove from pan the burner,
  • spread the onions on plates, arrange the chicken on top, pour the remaining sauce from pan.

ENJOY (^_^)

Nanban chicken.
Nanban chicken.

It was during the eighth century that killing of any animal was banned in Japan. It went to serious proportions that in 752 AD, the government official or the noblemen who ate meat were considered unclean and were not able to participate in any Shinto rituals. It was in this period that Chopsticks were introduced by China.

Only after the end of the Tang Dynasty, the real Japanese cuisine started to bloom. After the 9th century, the dishes consumed foretold the Japanese cuisine in a perfect way. The dish was quite sumptuous and quite varied as well. Those dishes were: simmered food called as nimono, grilled fish and grilled meat called as yakimono, steamed foods called as mushimono, soups from chopped vegetables, jellied fish called as nikogon and were simmered with seasonings, fish or meat called as atsumono, vegetables, sliced raw fish, fish or seaweed with a strong dressing called as aemono, and for lactic fermentation pickled vegetables called as tsukemono. Fat and oil were not used.

In fact, fish and wild fowl were common food with vegetables. A variety of fruits and the nuts and the Chinese cake were the desserts. There were usually four types of foods served in a typical banquet. They were dried food called as himono, fresh foods called as namamono, dressed or fermented food called as kubotsuki and desserts called as kasha. This perfectly arranged mean can end with Sake.

The Kamakura period brought many changes to the food culture. The nobility lost the control of the countryside and local peasant Samurai took over the control and a military regime was established. The first Shogunate, Minamoto Yoritomo, actually punished the Samurai who followed the earlier sumptuous banquet. The menu was changed and it was called the Oban. A typical Oban included dried abalone, pickled Ume called as Umeboshi, jellyfish aemono, vinegar and salt for seasoning and rice. The food became simple and the clothing became Japanese Kimono.

The Buddhist philosophy of vegetarian flourished in this period. Those who killed animals for food were discriminated. The food transformed into simple and substantial.

In modern days Japanese food consisted of rice, noodles, with soup and Okazu, which is dishes made from meat, fish, tofu, vegetable. These food are flavored with miso, dashi and soy salt which are low in fat and high in salt.

The standard Japanese food consists of Okazu and cooked Japanese white rice.

The high standard meal consists of three Okazu. This means one soup three sides.

The Okazu can be cooked in different styles. Raw, simmered, grilled, deep-fried, steamed, dressed and vinegared are some styles.

Traditional Japan breakfast.
Traditional Japan breakfast.

Japan offers sumptuous variety of cuisine. Apart from their own dishes they have adapted many imported dishes to their style as well. These dishes can be categorized in many orders. The broad classifications are rice dishes, noodle dishes, seafood dishes, nabe dishes, yosoku dishes, soya bean dishes and other dishes. Those Japanish and Japanized dishes are outlined below:

Variety of sushi.
Variety of sushi.

Rice Dishes

Rice is such an important food in Japanese food. Though the eating patterns are changing, rice still remains as the primary food for Japanese. The consumption of rice, of course, decreases at present.

Rice Bowl is just plainly cooked rice. If it is breakfast time, it is mixed with the raw egg and the soya sauce. Or natoo or other toppings can be done.

Sushi is a dish with sushi rice. There are many kinds of sushi dishes available.

Donburi is cooked rice topped with tempura (tendon), chicken and egg and beef. Oriigiri is cooked rice ball wrapped in nori seaweed. They are salted and some other food, like umeboshi or Katsuobushi can be placed in the middle of rice ball.

Kare Raisu is typically rice and curry. Sauce. Tonkatsu can be the additional topping.

Fried Rice called as Chahan was introduced from China. With rice a variety of ingredients such as egg, peas, negi, pork and carat pieces can be added and mix fried.

Chazuke is also a bowl of rice with green tea. Tarako or salman can also be added.

Kayu is soft cooked, watery rice that looks like a oat meal. This is an easily digestible food.


Somen with ginger


  • Somen noodles 475 g
  • 12 ice cubes
  • 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of dashi
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons of ginger juice
  • ½ teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of chopped shallots



Rice vinegar mixed with soy sauce, ginger juice, dashi and sugar.
Then, cook pasta according to the description on the package.
Translate strained pasta into bowls.
For each serving lay ice cubes and pour them in the sauce.
Before serving sprinkle with shallots.

ENJOY (^_^)

Seafood dishes

Like rice dishes so many varieties of seafood exist in Japanese cuisine. They are eaten dried, raw, grilled, boiled, steamed or deep friend.

Sashimi is the raw seafood. A large fish, fresh and raw with soya sauce and wasabi is Sashimi.

Yakizakana is essentially a grilled fish. All varieties of fish are mostly cooked in this way.

Noodle Dish

Just like rice, noodles is another main course of food in Japan. Japanese like to cook noodles I such a variety of ways. They are so popular in Japan.

Soba noodles are basically Japanese noodles made of a mixture of buckwheat with wheat flour or just the buckwheat flour alone. It is, like spaghetti, very thick. Soba can be served hot or cold. Toppings can be added.

Udon noodles are thicker than soba and are made of wheat flour. This is again served cold or hot with many toppings.

Ramen noodles were actually introduced from China. They are used in soups with a variety of toppings. This is quite a popular noodle.

Somen noodles are made of wheat flour and are a native Japanese noodles made of wheat. They are thinner and are served cold. They are known as summer specialities.

Yakisoba are deep fried noodles in Chinese style. Meat or Ginger is served along.

Yakisoba - Okinawa's style.
Yakisoba - Okinawa's style.
Nabe Ryori, or Hot Pot Dishes, in this photo Odon.
Nabe Ryori, or Hot Pot Dishes, in this photo Odon.

Nabe Dishes

Nabe dishes are usually prepared in a hot pot right at the dining table itself. Vegetables like nagi, which is Japanese leek, and Hakusai which is Chinese cabbage are the ingredients with mushrooms, meat and seafood. One of the popular dishes of Japan and is a specialty winter food.

Oden is prepared with daikon, many fish cakes, boiled eggs, kombu seaweed, konyaku. They are mixed and boiled over a soya sauce based soup.

Sukiyaki is made with sliced meat, mushrooms, tofu, vegetables and shirataki, which are konyaku noodles. These pieces are dipped in raw egg and eaten.

Shabu-Shabu is a meat fondue that is exclusively Japanese. This is prepared with meat sliced thinly and mixed with mushroom, vegetables and tofu. Unlike Sukiyaki, this food is dipped in hot soup, ponzu vinegar or sesame sauce and consumed.

Chanko Nabe is a traditional diet of Sumo wrestlers.


Meat Dishes

Meat is such an important food in Japan. Japanese consume meat in large quantities as well. This meat consumption actually got into the main course of food after 19th century. Gradually it gained fame and now a lot of meat dishes are prepared in japan.

Yakitori is a grilled or skewered chicken. This is such an appetizer and it is consumed well with a beer or sake. Negi is a common vegetable that is grilled with chicken. And negima is yakitori skewered with the negi. This is so popular in Japan. Along with this two kinds of flavors can be added, shio and tare. Tare is basting sauce like teriyaki sauce whereas shio actually means salt in Japanese.

Nikujaga is simmered niku which is meat and jaga, which is potato in Japanese.

Tonkatsu sauce is a brilliant example of Western food Japanized. Developed during the nineteenth century, the sauce has acidic or kind of metallic flavor. This sauce can soak the meat beyond its crunchy coating. The sauce is served with rice, cabbage, miso soup, potato salad. The Tonkatsu is deeply fried pork cutlets. They are served with rice and cabbage.

Tonkatsu, ready to eat.
Tonkatsu, ready to eat.

For the Japanese breaded pork chop, panko is needed.


  • 600g boneless pork loin
  • a handful of flour
  • 2 eggs
  • a few handfuls of Panko
  • peanut oil for frying
  • 4 bulbs of spring onions


Wash the meat, dry it and cut into 4 slices, cutting off any remaining fat. Each chop pitched pestle so that the resulting thick slices about 1 / 2 cm. Salt it. In one plate pour the flour. The second plate sticks eggs and with fork carefully pitched to a solid mass. On the third plate put a little panko. Pork chops rolled individually, first in flour, then egg and finally in the panko - breadcrumbs tapping hand to holds up better. A large heavy pan put over high heat. When it will be very hot, pour a few tablespoons of oil. Put the chops and fry for 3 minutes on each side, pressing with a spoon, if would bulge. When meat will be fried to a golden-brown color, take it from pan and put on several layers of kitchen paper (to drain the excess oil) and then cut into strips.

Agedashi Tofu.
Agedashi Tofu.
Miso Soup.
Miso Soup.

Soya Bean Dishes

Many of the Japanese dishes are made of Soya beans. There are dishes that are very popular with soya beans.

Yudofu is a delicious tofu dish. It is prepared by boiling tofu pieces in a mild, clear soup. Then it is consumed by dipping into soya based sauce.

Agedashi Tofu is traditional Japanese food as well. The basic food is deep fried tofu that is served with soya sauce. But in the sauce various mushrooms and vegetables can be added.

Miso Soup is the common Japanese soup. It is being served in breakfast, lunch and dinner. The miso paste (soya based) is dissolved in hot water. Any ingredients like wakame seaweed and tofu can be added with that.

Hayashi Raisu.
Hayashi Raisu.
Hamubagu the Japanese style hamburger.
Hamubagu the Japanese style hamburger.

Yoshoku Dishes

After the Western influence many dishes were introduced to Japan. Japan adapted those dishes its style and those dishes are completely kapanese now. They are called Yoshoku dishes. Some of the great dishes are:

Karokke has two most popular types. They are the meat potato karokke and white cream karokke. Karokke are deep fried and minced meat or mashed potatoes can be filled in.

Hayashi Raisu is hashed beef stew prepared in Japanese style. Thin sliced beef along with onions served in a demi-glace. Cooked rice can be served along with this. It is like Kare raisu and can be consumed with spoon.

Hamubagu is typically a hamburger steak with Japanese style. Demi glace sauce is served along with this as well. But no bun is added.

Omuraisu is an abbreviation for omelt and rice. It is plain cooked rice that is wrapped in omlet. It can be served with tomato ketchup or gravy sauce.

Gyoza dumplings.
Gyoza dumplings.
Chawanmushi soup.
Chawanmushi soup.

Other Dishes

There are many other dishes available in Japan. The popular dishes are given below.

Tempura was introduced by Portuguese. The word tempura means gravy or sauce in Portuguese. It is basically seafood. Vegetables or seafood can be dipped in batter and are deep fried. A dipping sauce and daikon can be served along. This can also be served with rice and soup.

Gyoza was introduced from China. They are essentially dumplings with fillings of ground meat and vegetables. They are fried.

Chawanmushi is steamed egg custard and contains chicken, fish, shrimp pieces. Ginko nut is also mixed.

Okonomiyaki is a delicious Japanese pancake. Chopped vegetable, seafood or meat is mixed with batter. This mix is cooked essentially on a griddle. This can be flipped over like pancake. This is then topped with mayonnaise and special sauce and dried fish flakes and nori can be sprinkled.

Monjayaki is almost similar to Okonomiyaki but the dough is more liquid than what is used in Okonomiyaki.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Pamela-anne profile image

      Pamela-anne 6 years ago from Miller Lake

      Love this hub it is very informative the japenese make their dishes look like wonderful works of art it almost seems a shame to eat them but the taste of them is just another way to enjoy the art on another level yum my mouth is watering!