Japanese Foods & Drink
- Bulldog Sauce
is a very popular Japanese brown sauce. Every household in Japan will have at least one of the Bulldog varieties in their kitchen.
One of the "Ginjo" sake types, Daiginjo is a very luxurious alcohol made from rice that has been polished and processed to half (or more than half) of its size. Its preparation requires very delicate and skilled techniques, and it is said to be the pinnacle of sake production demonstrating the skill of the master sake brewer.
is a Japanese stock commonly made out of either Katsuo (bonito) or Konbu (kelp). It is a very important, and yet often underestimated part of Japanese cookery. For those who want to avoid the hassle of making it from scratch, easy-to-use stock powder is widely available.
is a type of china dish, usually large and deep. Dishes such as Oyako-don and Gyu-don take their names from this dish (-don), on which they are often served.
is a dry, flaky condiment to be sprinkled on the top of rice. Its common ingredients are sesame seeds, salt, dry seaweed and vegetables.
is pickled ginger and often used as a relish for sushi. It can be sweet, sour or bitter in flavour.
is green tea combined with roasted brown rice. It is sometimes referred as "popcorn tea" as the rice grains pop during the roasting process like popcorn.
Made from rice polished 40% or more, with the alcohol made by fermenting for a long time at low temperature. Production requires advanced technology, and high production costs are involved. With a sharp fruity aroma like apples and bananas, it is delicious when served cold.
is a bowl of warm rice topped with onion and thin-sliced beef simmered in soy sauce and mirin. Shirataki can be added, or a pinch of shredded red ginger to spice up the dish.
is popularly known as corn starch noodles, and often used for salads.
This type of sake is made with only the ingredients of rice, rice "koji", water, and brewer's alcohol. The amount of brewer's alcohol used is fixed to 10% (or less) of the amount of white rice and the rice polishing ratio is fixed to 70% or less.
is roasted green tea with fine aroma. Low in caffeine, Houjicha is an ideal bedtime drink.
is a type of sake made from only rice, rice "koji", and water. The rice polishing ratio is set at 70% or less. Generally there are many dark types.
is Japanese-style deep-fried chicken marinated in soy sauce, ginger and garlic. To finish, sprinkle with a few drops of lemon juice.
is flat Udon noodles from the Nagoya region, central Japan.
- Koji (Rice Koji)
is a mould used in the production of sake. It is also used to make soy sauce and miso.
is made from a plant called Amorphophallus, also known as Konjak. It contains virtually no calories but is rich in fibre, which makes this jelly-like food very popular for diets. It is popularly served with miso sauce or soy sauce.
is a powdered Japanese green tea, typically used in Japanese tea ceremony. It is also used to add bitter flavour to sweets and ice cream.
is a common type of sushi with seafood/vegetables and rice rolled up inside Nori seaweed. To make, you will need a Makisu (rolling mat) and ideally a sharp knife to slice the long roll into bite-sized sushi rolls.
is a thick paste made from fermented rice, soy beans, salt and koji mould. It is most commonly used for Miso Soup.
means a "cooking pot" by itself, but when you add ingredients such as meat, seafood, tofu, shirataki, eggs and vegetables and cook in soy sauce/miso/salt/kimchee-flavoured dashi broth, it transforms into the most popular winter meal in Japan. Traditionally Nabe is cooked in a big pot and share with friends and family, in order to build a closer relationship between them.
is a common type of sushi. Special skills are needed to achieve restaurants' high standards. White rice is seasoned with rice vinegar, salt, sugar and konbu dashi, then shaped into bite-sized rectangular shapes. Common toppings are raw seafood such as tuna, salmon, mackerel, squid, prawns and shellfish.
is a type of seaweed commonly used as wrapping sheet for sushi (Makizushi). It can be also used as a garnish for noodle dishes.
Along with Nabe, Oden is one of the most popular winter dishes in Japan. The ingredients, such as Konnyaku, eggs, Japanese radish and fish cakes, are stewed in a light soy-flavoured dashi broth. It is often served with Karashi (Japanese mustard).
is a Japanese savoury pancake. First, make the pancake base with flour, eggs, dashi broth, and ingredients such as meat (commonly pork), vegetables (usually chopped cabbage and spring onion), prawns and squid. Special brown sauce (Otafuku Okonomi Pancake Sauce is a typical example) is used to add the finishing touch to the pan-fried dish. As "Okonomi" means "whatever you like", you can add virtually anything, from cheese to noodles to eggs. This would be an exciting garden-party food.
is a bowl of rice topped with simmered eggs, chicken and onion in a dashi soup seasoned with soy sauce and mirin. Traditionally the topping is served while eggs are half-boiled. The name "Oyako", meaning "parent and child", comes from the two main ingredients, chicken and eggs.
is a Japanese noodle dish originally inspired by the Chinese, usually topped with ingredients such as vegetables (chopped spring onion, bean sprouts and spinach), sliced Chinese barbequed pork called "chashu", nori and menma (fermented and pickled bamboo shoot). The soup is considered to be the soul of this dish, ranging from soy sauce-based, salt-based, tonkotsu-based (pork bone) to miso-based. It is arguably the most dynamic and popular street-food in Japan - if you come across a long queue of people in a Japanese street, you can assume it's for a delicious bowl of ramen noodles.
is a Japanese alcohol beverage, also referred to as "nihonshu" or "rice wine" in English. The predominant ingredients are rice, rice koji and water, skillfully brewed under the supervision of a Toji (head brewer). Sake is categorised into Junmai, Ginjo, Daiginjo and Honjozo depending on the ingredients and Seimai-buai (rice's milling rate). Nihonshu-do is widely regarded as an indication of the flavour, usually identified as dryness or sweetness. Higher rates such as +2 indicate a bottle of bitter or dry sake, while sweet sake tends to have lower rates such as -2 and downwards.
Finally, the notion that sake is supposed to be served warm is deeply flawed. Generally speaking, most good-quality sake should be enjoyed at room temperature or chilled. "Warm sake" was popular in the past, when the quality was much less refined than it is now and warming it up masked the roughness.
is a spice which is believed to originate in ancient times, also known as "Japanese pepper" in English. It is also one of the seven spices used in Shichimi.
is thinly sliced fresh raw fish, typically tuna, salmon, squid and shellfish. Soy sauce and wasabi usually serve as dipping sauce.
is the most common and popular type of Japanese green tea. Historically prepared by roasting, today Sencha is steamed before being processed further.
To make Shabu-shabu, take a pot of boiling water or dashi broth (made with konbu, or kelp). Take a very thin slice of meat or a piece of vegetable, and submerge it in the boiling water. Swish it back and forth, and then remove. To Japanese ears, the swishing sounds like "shabu-shabu", and this is where the dish gets its name. Common dipping sauces are "ponzu" (citrus sauce) or creamy sesame sauce.
is a noodle-shaped konnyaku. Shirataki noodles are often used in Nabe and Sukiyaki.
is a type of herb unique to Asia, also known as Oba or Perilla. With its distinctive aroma, Shiso is often used to complement main dishes such as Sashimi and Sushi.
is a Japanese alcohol beverage. The main difference between sake and shochu are:
- 1. While sake is brewed, shochu is distilled
- 2. Shochu has a higher alcohol content than sake and is, generally speaking, enjoyed on more casual occasions
- 3. While sake is known for its fruity aroma, shochu is commonly expected to have a "nutty" or "earthy" flavour.
A variety of materials are made into shochu such as rice, wheat, sweet potato and buck wheat, all of which give their own distinctive flavours to the end product.
is the Japanese word for buckwheat. However, "soba" usually refers to Soba noodles, which are thin brown noodles with a slight buckwheat aroma. Like other Japanese noodles, Soba can be served warm or cold, with or without soup. In summer they are often enjoyed cold with soy-based dashi broth (which can be replaced by ready-made Men-tsuyu).
is the thinnest of all the Japanese white noodles, commonly served cold with a dip of soy-based broth in summer. Nyumen, on the other hand, is a winter version with Somen noodles served in hop soup.
is a pot of meat (commonly beef), vegetables, tofu and shirataki, all simmered in a mixture of soy sauce, mirin and sugar (which can be replaced by ready-made Sukiyaki sauce). Boiled Udon noodles can be added at the end as they soaked up the broth left in the pot. Popularly a bowl of raw, beaten egg serves as dipping sauce.
is a traditional dish which consists of seafood and vegetables deep-fried in tempura batter. The batter is made of chilled water, beaten eggs and flour (which can be replaced by Tempura batter mix), while for dipping sauce soy-based dashi broth or a pinch of salt are popular choices. Cooked Tempura is sometimes laid on a bowl of rice/noodles to make them Ten-don or Tempura Udon/Soba respectably.
is a bowl of rice topped with Tempura. To finish, pour soy-based dashi broth over the dish.
is originally a cooking method, using a mixture of soy sauce, sugar and mirin. Today "teriyaki" refers to sweet-soy sauce, used in many chicken/fish dishes. As two of the essential seasonings combined to make Teriyaki sauce, it is often said the combination of soy sauce and mirin it the cornerstone of Japanese cuisine.
is made from soybeans (by coagulating soy milk and pressuring the curds). It is typically soft, pale, and looks like cheese. As tofu itself is rather bland, it is often served with soy sauce or dressings as part of salads. Nabe, Shabu-shabu and Sukiyaki are other dishes in which tofu is commonly used.
is a popular dish made of breaded deep-fried pork cutlet, commonly served with shredded cabbage and a bowl of rice. The cutlet is usually sliced diagonally before serving, and topped with Bulldog Tonkatsu Sauce for the finishin touch.
is literally porl-bone, typically used as broth for the soup of Tonkotsu Ramen.
- Tsuyu (Men-tsuyu)
is the Japanese word for dipping sauce especially for noodle dishes. Tsuyu is typically made from soy sauce, dashi, mirin and sugar although they can be replaced by ready-made Men-tsuyu.
is arguably the most common type of Japanese noodles. Udon noodles are pale, much thicker than Somen, and versatile - they can be served cold or warm, with or without soup. To make Tempura Udon, simply place some pieces of tempura on a bowl of Udon noodles.
is known as Japanese horseradish, a green-coloured spice used for Sushi and Sashimi (with soy sauce). It is available as both paste and powder.
is often described as Japanese-style barbeque with bite-sized/thin-sliced beef and vegetables cooked on a grill or an iron-plate. The cooked ingredients are then dipped in a special brown sauce, commonly soy-based, seasoned with garlic and sesame.
- Yakisoba / Yakiudon
is Japanese-style stir-fried noodles with meat (usually pork) and vegetables. Ramen noodles (rather than Soba noodles) are used for Yakisoba, and Japanese brown sauce used to season. There is not much difference between cooking Yakisoba and Yakiudon, except that Yakiudon is sometimes seasoned with soy sauce, salt and pepper.
is Japanese-style grilled skewered chicken, seasoned with special "tare" (soy sauce, mirin and sugar) or salt. Usually barbequed over charcoal, Yakitori is one of the most popular street/pub snacks in Japan