Japan has many traditional dishes besides sushi that you might not be familiar with. For example:
- Nabe is a hot pot dish with many veggies and fish/meat.
- Okonomiyaki is a kind of pancake with veggies and meat/seafood inside.
- Sashimi is sliced fresh fish.
- Tempura is fried veggies/seafood.
Nabe (Chanko-nabe)George Alexander Ishida Newman/Flickr
- Shogayaki is pan-fried pork in ginger sauce.
- Oyakodon is a bowl of rice with chicken, eggs, and veggies. It’s called “oyako (parent and child)” as the chicken are the parents and the eggs are their babies….
- Sukiyaki is a hot pot with beef and veggies in a sweet soup served with raw eggs.
There are many, many more dishes that Japanese people love and are proud of.
Now, here is a secret word in Japan, and it’s what you need for Japanese food:
Sa Shi Su Se So (さ し す せ そ)
- Sa: Satou (さとう) Sugar
- Shi: Shio (しお) Salt
- Su: Su (す) Vinegar (commonly made from rice or grain)
- Se: Seuyu =Shouyu (せうゆ＝しょうゆ) Soy sauce
- So: Miso (みそ) Miso paste (fermented soybeans, rice, etc)
There are also other must-have items for Japanese food.
- Mirin (みりん): Sweet sake
- Sake (さけ): Cooking sake
- Dashi (だし): soup stock powders (common flavors are bonito, kelp, consomme, chicken, etc.)
- Mentsuyu (めんつゆ): sweet sauce (often used for soups, sauces). You can make this with soy sauce, mirin, and dashi too.
***These days, Japanese people don’t use too much salt or sugar for their health; instead they use mirin, soy sauce, sake, and miso. If you look up Japanese recipes, you will see these seasonings a lot.