The Japanese cuisine is one of the most popular Asian food that has conquered the world. Wherever you go today, there’s bound to be a Japanese restaurant where locals and visitors can enjoy their favorite dishes.
There are many factors that led to the popularity of Japanese cuisine, one being it is very healthy. Japanese food is normally prepared in small servings and makes use of fresh and healthy ingredients such as fish, rice and vegetables.
China and Korea had a major influence on the early food of Japan before the country developed its own dishes. Due to its close proximity to other Asian nations, it was not surprising that this culinary influence will happen.
Korea was the first to introduce the short grain rice to Japan as a result of the migration of some of its tribes. Eventually, the technique of growing the crop was also passed on to Japan. In fact, other than food, rice was also utilized in making wine, fuel and building materials.
As for China, the country contributed tea, soy sauce as well as the use of chopsticks. In the eighth century, the sakubei noodles which was made by adding rice powder to flour was introduced.
By the 16th century, fried foods was introduced to Japan by the Portugese and Dutch. They influenced the so-called breaded food such the popular fried tempura made of shrimp, flour and bread crumbs.
In many restaurants today that serve international cuisine, one would normally see a buffet that allows diners to simply pick their preferred food and condiments. On the Japanese food side, surely you would find the most popular dishes from the sushi and sashimi to the tempura and yakitori.
Sushi is a small piece of raw seafood particularly fish placed on a ball of vinegared rice. It can have either tuna, squid or prawn and served together with cucumber, pickled radish and sweet egg omelet.
Sashimi is sliced raw fish and served with soy sauce. The soy sauce provides the flavor for the fish.
Sukiyaki features a mix of sliced beef, vegetables, tofu and vermicelli. It is normally prepared right on the table before diners.
Tempura uses either fish or prawns that are dipped in egg and then coated with flour. They are then deep fried to make them crisp. Vegetables may be served with tempura.
Noodles are also a staple in Japanese food. Soba and udon are the most popular and served either as a soup or dipped in sauce. Soba is made from buckwheat flour while udon is made from wheat flour.
Basing on how the Japanese cuisine evolved, the influence of China could not be discounted. Japan and China had always been closely associated particularly in terms of culture but unfortunately today, politics has led to certain conflicts that up to now remains unsolved. These include Japan and China’s island disputes concerning the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands and the accusation of China that the Japanese Imperial Army was responsible for the Nanking massacre.