Rice and noodles are the two primary staples of the Japanese diet. Rice, either boiled or steamed, is served at every meal. Noodles come in many varieties. Among the most popular are soba, thin brown noodles made from buckwheat flour; udon, thick white noodles made from wheat flour; and ramen, thin, curly noodles, also made from wheat flour . Soy sauce and other soybean products are also staples in Japan.
These include miso (fermented soybean paste) and tofu (a soybean curd that resembles custard). Other common ingredients in Japanese food include bamboo shoots, daikon (a giant white radish), ginger, seaweed, and sesame seed products. Japanese pickles called tsukemono are served at every meal. Seafood is also plentiful in this island nation. Green tea is the national beverage of Japan, although black tea is also available. Sake (SAH-kee, wine made from rice, usually served warm) and beer are also very popular.
Japanese cuisine (和食, washoku) offers an abundance of gastronomical delights with a boundless variety of regional and seasonal dishes as well as international cuisine. Restaurants range from mobile food stands to centuries old ryotei, atmospheric drinking places, seasonally erected terraces over rivers, cheap chain shops and unique theme restaurants about ninja and robots. Many restaurants are specialized in a single type of dish, while others offer a variety of dishes.
- Sushi is a dish combining vinegar rice and seafood (although sometimes other ingredients are also used). There is a type of fermented sushi, known as nare-zushi, but the most typical types of sushi are nigirizushi and temakizushi. There are plenty of other ingredients available for those who do not like raw fish, including boiled prawns and grilled conger eel. You can find sushi all around Japan, but the sushi from restaurants in high class areas like Ginza or close to fishing ports is especially delicious. If you are looking to eat cheaply, you can visit a kaitenzushi, http://edition.cnn.com/2016/08/31/foodanddrink/japan-25-foods/ or conveyor belt sushi restaurant, where you can enjoy sushi for 100 yen a plate.
- Unagi is river eel grilled over charcoal and lacquered with a sweet barbecue sauce. According to folklore, unagi is the ideal antidote to the heat and humidity of Japan’s stultifying summers. It’s a delicacy evocative of old Japan and most restaurants that specialize in eel have a wonderfully traditional feel. Fresh, wild-caught unagi is available May through October.
Yakitori can be literally translated “grilled chicken.” It’s a category of Japanese cuisine that includes dozens of items that are grilled on thin bamboo skewers including every imaginable part of the chicken as well as other meats, tofu and vegetables. Yakitori restaurants are typically lively drinking spots.
Japanese people consume a lot more fish than is typical in western countries and this is said to be a major factor in the country’s relatively low rate of heart disease. Seafood is eaten in just about any form you can imagine, from raw sushi and sashimi to grilled sweetfish and clams.