Since I started living in Paris, I have always missed Japanese food. I go to several Japanese grocery shops in Paris, but of course, the goods sold there are twice or three times more expensive than in Japan!
So, the conclusion I always come down to is just to wait until the day I go back to Japan next. Here is the list of Japanese cuisine I miss a lot. Please try some if you have an occasion to visit Japan!
Tempura is a dish of prawns, small fish, squid and vegetables deep-fried after being dipped in batter. It is served with a special sauce.
Nigiri-sushi is a kind of sushi consisting of a slice of raw fish on a small oval-shaped ball of boiled rice. It is eaten after being dipped in soy sauce.
Sukiyaki is a dish of thinly sliced beef, onions, tofu and shiitake mushrooms cooked in a pan at the table. Sugar, soy sauce and sake are added for flavor.
Sashimi is sliced raw fish eaten after being dipped in soy sauce mixed with wasabi (horseradish). Among the most popular fish are tuna, yellowtail and cuttlefish.
Shabu-shabu is a dish of thinly sliced beef and vegetables cooked in a shallow pan. The mat is first quickly boiled in broth and then dipped in a special sauce. When the meat has been eaten, vegetables and tofu are cooked in the same pan.
Yakitori is grilled chicken. Chunks of chicken and vegetables are arranged on bamboo skewers, broiled over a charcoal fire and dipped in a special sweet soy sauce.
Unagi-no-Kabayaki is charcoal-broiled eel basted with a mixture of soy sauce, sugar and sake. It is usually served with hot rice. If you want to taste really good Kabayaki, go to Hamamatsu City in Shizuoka Prefecture. It is their specialty.
Okonomiyaki is a Japanese-style pancake usually grilled on an iron plate. It is made from batter with bits of meat, seafood, egg and chopped cabbage. Osaka has good Okonomiyaki restaurants because it is their specialty.
Takoyaki are grilled octopus dumplings. Ingredients include batter, octopus, and green onion. Sold at street stands, takoyaki is grilled on an iron plate and served with dried bonito shavings and a thick sauce.
Oden is a Japanese stew. A variety of ingredients, such as tofu, eggs, white radish, fried fish paste and potatoes, are boiled together in a large pot of seasoned fish broth. Hot mustard is served as a condiment. It is a winter dish.
Yakiniku is Japanese barbecue. Thinly sliced beef and vegetables are grilled on a flat-iron pan. It is served with a special sauce made from soy sauce, miso and so on. It is good with hot rice.
Chawanmushi is cup-steamed egg custard with chicken, shrimp and vegetables. Trefoil leaves are often put on top as a garnish.
Udon are white noodles made from wheat flour, usually eaten hot in soup.
Soba are brown noodles made from buckwheat flour. The noodles can be eaten hot in broth or cold after being dipped in a special sauce. My home town has good Soba!
Somen are very thin white noodles made from white wheat flour, usually served with chopped green onion in a large glass bowl of icy water. They are eaten after being dipped in a special sauce. It is for the summer, and the one served in a bowl of hot soup in winter is called Newmen!!
Ochazuke is a bowl of rice with hot water or green tea poured over it. Broiled salted salmon, cod roe, toasted laver or pickles are usually put on top. A little wasabi horseradish may be added.
Donburimono is a meal served in a large, deep bowl. Tempura, broiled eels, egg or chicken is placed on rice in the bowl.
Sekihan is rice steamed together with red beans. Since red is considered to be the color of joy, it is prepared for auspicious occasions such as festivals and birthdays.
Zosui is a kind of porridge of rice and vegetable. Boiled rice is cooked in a soup seasoned with soy sauce and then mixed with trefoil leaves, egg or seafood.
Tsukemono are Japanese pickles. Vegetables are pickled in salt, rice bran, miso or sake lees. They are usually served to complement other dishes. My favorite is Shibazuke (in the first picture below). Kyoto has many Tsukemono shops.
Umeboshi are pickled plums, usually served for breakfast. Salty and sour.
Tsukudani is a preserved food, usually fish or shellfish or seaweed, which has been boiled down with soy sauce and sugar.
Kon-nyaku is a gelatin-like cake made from the starch of the devil’s tongue root. Similar to tapioca, kon-nyaku is often an ingredient in oden, sukiyaki, and other dishes.
Katsuobushi is dried bonito which has been shaved into paper-thin flakes. It is used to flavor other foods or as a base for Japanese soup.
Chikuwa is a bamboo-shaped, broiled fish-paste cake. It is often an ingredient in oden.
Kamaboko is a steamed fish-paste cake in the shape of a half cylinder placed on a piece of wood. The surface is often dyed red for happy occasions because the red and white color combination is regarded as a symbol of celebration.
Nori is dried laver, a kind of seaweed. It is often eaten with rice for breakfast after being dipped in soy sauce. Many kinds of Onigiri, rice balls covered with nori, are found in every convenience store in Japan.
Wakame seaweed is often seen in Miso soup. It is very healthy and believed to give a lot of nutrition to your hair!
Miso is fermented soybean paste. It is used in a variety of dishes such as miso soup.
Natto are steamed, fermented soybeans. They are mixed with soy sauce, mustard and minced green onions when eaten. It is sticky and stinky, but really healthy. Try it!! Good with hot rice!!!
I cannot wait to go back to Japan!!!