The land of the rising sun has always been a wonder to the whole world. It has developed its lifestyle, culture and technology in tremendous ways after the Second World War. Japanese food has become equally interesting and healthy to have! No wonder, the Japanese have a very long lifespan. The Japanese have a concept known as “Me de taberu” which means eating with eyes. Their style of presenting food is a key aspect in providing a wholesome meal. If it looks appealing to the eye, it is appealing to the stomach! The foundation of their food is mostly seafood. But they also have a variety of vegetables, meat, fishes and seaweed. Many of their dishes have similar ingredients as that of the Indian dishes, but there is a striking difference as to ‘how’ they use it. The most special ingredient that can be found on their menu is an array of sauces and noodles. Though these dishes are a little expensive at times, but it is truly an experience to live with! So, here we bring you the best Japanese dishes that will leave you gushing about it for a long time. But to begin with, here are some restaurants in Delhi, where you can have a hearty Japanese meal.
- Fuji Japanese Restaurant
M- 41/2, Speedbird House
- The Bento Café
Food Court, 4th Floor
DLF Mall of India
R-5, Lower Ground Floor
Epicuria Food Mall
- Kyoto Restaurant
S-16, Uphar Commercial Market
Green Park Extension Market
Sushi is the first dish anyone would suggest to you if you are going for a Japanese meal for the first time. This is one dish which symbolizes all of Japan. A roll of sticky rice mixed with raw sliced fish and vegetables and covered with a sheet of nori (Japanese seaweed), it looks like a pretty little roll. There are different kinds of sushi that you can relish. The ingredients will almost be the same but the style of making it is different altogether. Temakizushi is a type of sushi which is made by rolling the sheet of nori into a conical shape and filling it with sticky rice. Kaitenzushi is known as conveyor belt sushi where there is a rotating belt around which people sit. The food is placed on the belt, and you can pick up whatever you like!
If you love having bhutta on a casual sunny day, you are bound to love this particular delicacy. It is the bhutta of Japan, prepared in the very same manner as done in India. The only difference is that the corn cob, after being softened with heat, is smeared with soy sauce and a preparation of other Japanese sauces which gave the spice and tang in its flavor when you bite into it. It is sweet and sour, to begin with, and when the juicy corn lets out its flavor, it will leave you wondering over the array of tastes.
3Atsuyaki Tamago (厚焼き玉子)
Atsuyaki means thickly layered, and Tamago means egg. This delicacy is also known as the layered omelet consisting of several thick layers of the egg. Surprisingly, it is sweet in taste, because the ingredients which are used are the egg, sugar, and soy sauce. Soy sauce being an important ingredient in the Japanese cuisine, it can be found in almost all the native dishes. This layered omelet can be had as a separate dish or can be used as a topping for noodles or soup.
Tofu or bean curd is a very common delicacy in Japan. It is had along with soups, noodles, and other platters or separately too. Hiyayakko is cold tofu which is usually served with different types of toppings to give it a raunchy taste. Green onions can be seen as an active accompanying agent in this dish. It is usually also topped with grated radish and perilla leaves. Yuzu or the native Japanese orange’s peel is also grated and added to give it a little tang. As tofu doesn’t have a very delectable taste of its own, it is smeared with soy sauce to bring in the zeal. Hiyayakko is one of the light dishes which you can relish before a full course meal and also not worry about gorging on it too much.
5Miso Soup (味噌スープ)
Miso is an ingredient in which fermentation of soybeans is done by salt and fungus. Its end product is a thick paste which is extremely salty in taste. Miso soup is a combination of this miso paste and dashi (stock). Dashi is made either with vegetable stock or animal stock but the latter is more prevalent in the Japanese cuisine. This particular soup is also considered very healthy and light for the body. It is usually served with tofu cubes, green onions, meat or other seasonal vegetables.
What is a Japanese cuisine without the presence of ramen! All of us do know about the Top Ramen noodles, but this ramen is the real Japanese style noodles. This dish comprises of slightly thick wheat steamed noodles submerged in dashi which is usually topped with vegetables, fish, meat, and egg. Varieties of ramen are found, and each one has its own distinct flavor because of the assorted ingredients. Nori (Japanese seaweed) is an active ingredient in ramen too. Having a taste similar to fish, it adds the fishy flavor to ramen. Miso is also used in this. The salty taste of miso adds the final touches to the simple tasting dashi. Partially boiled eggs are a must haves in a bowl of ramen. It is usually sliced in half and served along with it on the top.
Nattō is also a dish in which fermentation takes place. But in this, the soy beans are fermented with a bacterium instead of fungus. This process leads to the nattō acquiring a unique taste which might differ according to the fermentation process or the person who is eating it. Because of a biological agent is involved, it has a very strong smell and develops a stickiness amongst all the beans. It is highly nutritious and is either had with rice or any other dish such as soup or ramen. Nattō is commonly eaten as a breakfast food in Japan, but it can be had at any time of the day.
Udon is a type of noodle which is made from wheat. The whole process of making a final dish of udon requires the initial effort of making the noodles too. The dough is rolled out, and strips are cut out of it which are either cooked as it is or given a rounded cylindrical shape. When the noodles become ready, they are prepared in the usual way and served submerged in dashi along with several other toppings. One of the most interesting toppings is the Kamaboko or fish paste. You must have seen that swirly white and pink emoji in the food section of WhatsApp. It is exactly that! Kamaboko is prepared separately and given different shapes. As is the concept in Japan, of ‘having food with eyes’, it makes the udon and ramen look more enticing.
In Japanese, itame means a stir fry and mono means a thing. In the category of itamemono, you can have vegetarian as well as non-vegetarian items. Stir fry vegetables or Yasai Itame is a very popular side dish or a starter in Japan. Similarly, Tori Itame is stir fried chicken. And this is just a few of the whole lot. These dishes are accompanied with an array of sauces and can be modified to be either spicy or plain.
Yakitori of Japan is pretty much similar to our kababs in India. The chicken chunks are stacked up in a skewer and put on the grill. The light smoky taste is mashed up by smearing the Japanese sauces and sesame over it. Yakitori is a perfect combination of sweet, sour and smoky. Once you bite into it, you will be left amazed at the taste of the sauces and the juicy chicken. This one is a sure shot handsome thing to have.
Soba in Japanese means noodles. As the name suggests, this is fried noodles served along with different seasonal vegetables and meat, fish or eggs. One can relate it to the chow mein that we eat in India, but the style and taste differ for sure. In Japan, it is also put inside bread and eaten which makes it look like a hot dog with noodles inside. But yakisoba is sure to tingle your taste buds and make you want more. It can be spicy or plain depending on how you may like it. And if you know how to use chopsticks, you can imbibe the whole Japanese feel into you and enjoy every meal.
Ebi is what we know as the prawn. In Japan, prawns are usually had with noodles of udon or ramen or just as a separate dish. But the most commonly had prawn delicacy is made with bread crumbs. A batter is made of the bread crumbs; the prawn is dipped into it and then deep fried. It is served hot with different kinds of sauces and salad dressings. A common type of sauce is Tonkatsu sauce which is a mixture of many ingredients which bring out the taste along with the prawn. Ebi will change your mind about prawns for good!
Teriyaki is one good looking fellow that will set your mind going, the moment you see it. Teriyaki is a dish in which thick slices of chicken are grilled. It is later glazed with soy sauce and sprinkled with sesame. The sauce gives the chicken, a lustrous look while keeping all the flavors intact. The smoky taste along with the delicious sauce and those sesame seeds bursting in your mouth will make you ponder over the wonders of this dishes. Served along with seasonal vegetables and salads, this is a wholesome meal and will satisfy your taste buds to the fullest.
This one is for the daredevils out there because it involves eating raw fish. It is not harmful if you think of it that way. In real, the Japanese people being ardent nature lovers, have learned to imbibe many food habits where they eat the items raw without disturbing natural flavor. Fish is one such thing. The two fishes that are used in the dish of Sashimi are Salmon and Tuna. Salmon is bright orange in color and Tuna is red. It adds a colorful look to the food while keeping the authenticity and the natural feel alive. It is also had with different types of sauces and seasonal vegetables with which it is garnished.
Tempura is a fried dish where all the items that are to be prepared are mixed along with a batter and then deep fried. There may be vegetables, fishes like prawn and meat that can be put in tempura. The batter is usually made of wheat flour. If an addition has to be made, eggs can be a good option to put in it. This enhances the taste and makes it softer and crunchy at the same time! One can often see vegetables like broccoli, eggplants, and beans being the most popular ones that are used in it. This is accompanied with soy sauce or other variants of it as a taste enhancer.
Unagi is a type of eel and a very relished delicacy of Japan. It is usually sliced into long pieces and fried. It is then brushed with sauces and other condiments to give it the desired taste. It is had with rice, udon or ramen. Unagi is more popular in Japan as a dish eaten mainly in the summers. It has a unique taste and the spices along with any Japanese sauce makes it worth remembering.
Tako in Japanese means an Octopus. You really shouldn’t be alarmed on learning about this fact because they are completely safe and healthy to have. The octopuses used in takoyaki are not full grown adults but tiny ones. It is one of the most important seafood that the Japanese have. In this dish, balls of wheat flour are made, inside which the octopuses are put. They are fried, smeared with mayonnaise, soy sauce and garnished with other condiments like green onions and else. It is a savory snack and tastes extremely good. There are many ways of making takoyaki, and each ones’ taste differs with an alternation in the ingredients.
The name of this one comes from the style of its cooking. Teppan is an iron griddle over which the food is grilled and prepared. The items that are grilled can be vegetables, fish, chicken, pork or beef. The varieties are just endless. There are different types of griddles that can be found. Each one gives a different taste according to the style of cooking. A teppanyaki dish is served along with the teppanyaki sauce which has a unique taste in itself. This is one dish to stay in your taste buds till eternity.
Okonomi means ‘something of your wish’ or ‘something that you may prefer.’ This dish is open to your imaginations as to what ingredients you would like to have in your dish. It is a pancake which is made with meat, eggs, fish and vegetables which are topped with mayonnaise in a very symmetrical design. It is also smeared with okonomiyaki sauce and other garnishing items such as green onions. The pancake batter is made up of flour which is usually mixed with dashi (stock). This mixture leads to a variety of tastes that can be found in this dish. It’s a guarantee that one look at it will leave you drooling all over.
Bentō is known as the Japanese tiffin box. It is a complete package of a Japanese meal. It comprises of a variety of Japanese cuisines all on the go. It is similar to what Indians call a thali. A bentō provides a complete meal, may it be noodles, rice or other such cuisines. People in Japan regularly buy different bentō while in the middle of work or a journey to have a hearty meal. So try one and you are sure to be surprised!