Savouring Tradition: The Must-Try Dishes When You're In Japan



Henry Ward


December 13, 2023

Japanese cuisine is celebrated worldwide for its exquisite flavours, meticulous presentation, and artful balance of fresh ingredients. Let's explore some authentic Japanese foods that are a must-try for any food enthusiast looking to experience the essence of this culinary treasure.

1. Sushi - A Symphony of Freshness:

No exploration of Japanese cuisine is complete without indulging in sushi. Whether it's classic nigiri, sashimi, or creative rolls, sushi showcases the art of combining vinegared rice with fresh seafood. Head to a traditional sushiya (sushi restaurant) and savour the delicate flavours of tuna, salmon, and sea urchin, all expertly prepared by skilled chefs.

2. Ramen - Comfort in a Bowl:

Ramen, the beloved noodle soup, is a comfort food that warms the soul. Each region in Japan boasts its own variation of ramen, from the rich and hearty miso ramen of Hokkaido to the savoury soy-based shoyu ramen of Tokyo. Slurp your noodles with gusto and enjoy the harmonious blend of broth, noodles, and toppings.

3. Tempura - Crispy Snacks:

Tempura, a dish introduced by Portuguese missionaries in the 16th century, has become a quintessential part of Japanese cuisine. Enjoy lightly battered and deep-fried seafood, vegetables, and even ice cream. The result is a crispy, golden delight that showcases the Japanese dedication to perfection in simplicity.

4. Kaiseki - Culinary Poetry:

For a truly immersive dining experience, indulge in kaiseki, a multi-course meal that is a culinary journey through various tastes, textures, and cooking techniques. Typically served in ryokans or high-end restaurants, kaiseki reflects the changing seasons and showcases the chef's creativity and skill.

5. Okonomiyaki - Savory Pancake:

Originating from Osaka, okonomiyaki is a savoury pancake that's both delicious and customizable. The batter, cabbage, and various ingredients are mixed together and cooked on a griddle. Top it with okonomiyaki sauce, mayo, seaweed, and bonito flakes for a delightful combination of flavours and textures.

6. Yakitori - Skewered Perfection:

Yakitori, or grilled chicken skewers, is a popular street food and izakaya (pub) dish. From tender chicken thighs to crispy chicken skin, these skewers are grilled to perfection and often brushed with tare sauce. Pair them with a cold beer for the ultimate Japanese pub experience.

7. Matcha - Your Tea & Coffee Upgrade:

While not a dish, matcha deserves a mention for its cultural significance and unique flavour profile. This powdered green tea is not only a beverage but also an ingredient in various sweets like matcha-flavoured mochi and matcha-flavoured Kit Kats. Experience the serene beauty of a traditional tea ceremony or simply enjoy a matcha-flavoured treat to embrace this iconic Japanese flavour.

Japanese cuisine is a culinary adventure that goes beyond tasteā€”it's a celebration of art, tradition, and meticulous craftsmanship. Whether you're enjoying the simplicity of sushi or the complexity of kaiseki, each dish offers a glimpse into the heart of Japan. Embark on a gastronomic journey, savour each bite, and let the flavours of authentic Japanese cuisine transport you to a world of culinary delight.