Japanese dishes simply explained - the list will be updated regularly.
Bento is an encompassing word for boxed lunches. The dividers within the box enable the food to be transported without mixing the different dishes, which makes this the perfect take-away lunch. Their shape, size and content may vary and can be home made or store bought.
Chankonabe is a Japanese style hotpot, high in protein, where fish, vegetables, tofu and sometimes meat are cooked in a broth with a dash of sake or mirin to give it extra flavor. It is commonly associated with sumo-wrestlers as part of their diet (in much larger quantities of course).
Chirashi is a bowl of sushi rice covered in different fish / seafood (“Sushi in a bowl”).
Gyoza are a type of dumpling, typically served in Izakayas (bars). Usually filled with either vegetables or minced pork. The dumplings are fried on one side and steamed on the other, which gives them a crunchy yet soft texture.
Gyuu-don is a bowl of rice topped with cooked beef and onion slices. These were cooked beforehand in a mild broth consisting of dashi, mirin and soya sauce.
Kaiseki is a traditional meal served in various small dishes. This expression is used to characterise the skills and techniques used in the preparation of such a menu – similar to “Haute cuisine” in the western cuisine.
Karee Raisu, or curry rice, is a favorite among the Japanese. Unlike the more known Thai curry, Japanese curry isn’t spicy and has a thick consistency. It can contains a variety of vegetables (onions, carrots, potatoes) or meat and is served with rice, Udon noodles or fried bread.
Katsudon is a hearty Japanese meal consisting of a bowl of rise topped with breaded fried pork cutlet topped with onions and an omelet.
Nabe is a Japanese style hot-pot where vegetables and meat or fish is cooked in water in a large bowl. There are different varieties for Nabe such as Chankonabe, Sukiyaki or Oden. The cooked items are then fished out of the bowl and eaten with different sauces, the most common one being Ponzu, a citrus fruit flavoured soya sauce.
Okonomiyaki is a type of Japanese pancake. Shredded cabbage is mixed with water/ dashi, eggs, flour as well as a choice of fillings such as meat, sea food or vegetables. The mix is then cooked on a hotplate and topped with a special sauce, mayonnaise and bonito flakes. Real Japanese soul food !
Omuraisu, or omelet rice, is a hearty, family dish. Seasoned rice is covered with an omelet. Some add a cute drawing or message with ketchup on the rice.
Ramen is a Japanese style noodle soup. The wheat noodles are served in a savoury flavoured broth with a variation of toppings. The most common toppings are: sliced pork, hard-boiled eggs, green onions and see weed. There are regional variations of this dish.
Sashimi denotes slices of raw fish or see food. The fish is cut in such a way that the slices seem to melt in your mouth.
Shabu-Shabu is a Japanese hot pot dish where thin slices of beef and vegetables are quickly cooked in a hot broth. It is similar to our “fondue chinoise”.
Soba are buckwheat noodles. They can be served either in a hot broth or cold to be dipped in a chilled broth. The chilled alternative is served with algae in Tsuyu sauce. It’s said that this way one can best appreciate the texture of the noodles.
Sukiyaki is a Japanese style hot-pot dish, where vegetables and mushrooms simmer in a mixture of soy sauce, sugar and mirin (rice wine) alongside very thinly cut slices of beef. These can then be dipped in a bowl containing a beaten raw egg before being eaten.
Sushi is the most known Japanese dish outside of Japan. Raw or cooked seafood are combined with seasoned rice and seaweed in bite-sized portions. Sushi is usually eaten with soy sauce and a hint of wasabi paste.
Takoyaki is a popular street food. The ball shaped snack consists of wheat-based batter filled with minced octopus, cooked in a special pan. The snack is topped with different sauces and bonito flakes.
Teppanyaki is a way of cooking where the meat, seafood and vegetables are cooked on a hotplate (iron). Okonomiyakis (Japanese pankakes) are also cooked on such a hotplate. Some restaurants will have their chefs cook in front of the guests.
Tataki describes a Japanese way of preparing dishes where for example fish fillets or meat is quickly seared and subsequently cooled in ice water.
Udon are thick white wheat noodles. Usually served in a hot mild broth topped with spring onions.
Wagyu are a breed of Japanese cattle. The animals aren’t treated with growth hormones or antibiotics, and have more time before being slaughtered. Wagyu beef is marbled and is a luxury product in Japan.
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