Japanese Food – It’s Not All Sushi


Japanese Food – It’s Not All Sushi


When we think of Japanese food, we will invariably think of Sushi which many people in the UK and quite possibly throughout the western world assume means ‘raw fish’. Many of us perish the thought of eating uncooked meat, however there is much more to Japanese cuisine than raw fish, and even sushi is not strictly made with raw fish as it often contains cooked meats. The main problem with us westerners is we get the terminology all muddled up; sashimi means raw meat, sushi is a dish which includes cooked vinegared rice along with other ingredients which may or may not be raw fish, cooked fish, cooked meats, vegetables and sometimes even fruits. It is often dipped in wasabi before eating, which gives it its distinctive hot and fiery flavour.

The simple fact of the matter is that there is much more to Japanese food than the vast majority of us would assume as their cuisine also includes Tempura, Sukiyaki, Teppanyaki, Shabu-shabu and much more.  All of this probably sounds Japanese to you, but do not despair, as we’ll have a closer look at each dish throughout the remainder of this article.

Tempura is a Japanese dish of seafood or vegetables that have been battered and deep fried. Calling tempura a Japanese dish is stretching the truth a little as it was introduced to Japan in the mid-sixteenth century by the Portuguese. Popular ingredients includes prawn, shrimp, squid, scallop, crab and other types of fish. Vegetables used in tempura range from carrots, peppers, green beans, peas, potato mushroom and many others.

Teppanyaki is meat and other foodstuffs cooked on an iron plate called a teppan. For the record, ‘yaki’ means grilled or broiled or griddled. The teppanyaki style steakhouse is very popular amongst tourists in Japan rather than with the Japanese themselves and as such, teppanyaki style restaurants are popular throughout the western world. The emphasis on the performance of the chef as the food is cooked in front of the guests is as important as the food itself in a teppanyaki restaurant, creating a culinary circus of sorts.

Sukiyaki is a style of Japanese hot pot which includes meat, usually a thinly sliced beef, and vegetables such as Chinese cabbage and other leafy vegetables, along with mushrooms slowly cooked in a pot along with soy sauce, sugar and mirin; a weak rice wine similar to sake. This is often considered a winter meal and is popular at Japanese year end parties.

Shabu-shabu is another type of Japanese hot pot which includes (usually) beef and vegetables and mushrooms, sometimes including noodles. The name shabu-shabu literally means ‘swish-swish’ as this is the sounds which is created as the ingredients are dropped in a pot of boiling water or broth which is swished back and forth whilst cooking.

The Japanese tend to dip their food in a side dish before eating. These include wasabi, also known as Japanese horseradish, beaten raw eggs with a dash of soy sauce, a sesame seed sauce called goma and many other traditional condiments. Japanese food is traditionally low in fat and high in salt and vitamins. However western style Japanese cuisine often includes ingredients such as cream cheese  and mayonnaise is much higher in fat than traditional Japanese dishes. 

If you are looking for Japanese food such as Sushi then visit sushi sushi today.

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