Let’s talk about the lean mean Japanese cuisine!
I’m sure you probably can’t visually tell BUT I do love me some food. While yes I do miss the luxury of having a million food options 5 minutes away from my house in the US, I have enjoyed several Japanese dishes. Unfortunately, I’d much rather drive 45 minutes to get it done the right way versus failing miserably by trying to do it myself. So, here are a free of my favorite Japanese dishes to grub on when I’m not balling on a budget.
The very first meal I feel in love with here was SUKIYAKI
I had the pleasure of chowing down on this at my welcome party with the English teachers. Although I didn’t eat the beef and pork ( I imagined how delicious they were) I still ate the veggies and tofu. This dish is prepared on a nabemono ( Japanese hot pot). The pot contains a soy sauce, sugar ( there’s one more thing not sure what is ) mixture. This mixture is heated up. Once the pot is hot enough you add the meats, veggies, and tofu. While you wait you can crack an egg in your separate bowl to prepare for the feast once they meat is ready. When they are ready, you grab what looks tasty, dip it in the raw egg, and eat. I was a little skeptical to eat at first because raw egg isn’t typical on the menu at US restaurants. Now when there’s a party or I’m going out to dinner with friends, I secretly hope sukiyaki is on the menu.
My next favorite dish is OKONOMIYAKI
My friend from home mentioned this tasty omelet/cabbage pancake to me. I googled it and it looked quit disgusting. Nonetheless, I decided to give it a go. The English conversation class that I attend every once and a while planned an okonomiyaki dinner so that I could try it out. It was quite the experience. I enjoyed trying to flip the ‘pancake’ over perfectly without messing up the shape. I have to say okonomiyaki is pretty addictive. Some days I crave it so much I drive 45 minute to an hour to the birth place of my okonomiyaki addiction.
SUSHI ( you know that had to make this list)
I loved sushi before I arrive to Japan. I love it even more now that I’m here! No, it’s not the typical California Rolls and Dragon Rolls we have in the States. It’s a ball of pure awesomeness. Some of my friends here laughed when I told them that the sushi back home has avocado in it. They thought it was odd to put avocado and rice together. Unlike okonomiykai, I CAN turn down sushi especially when it has wasabi or natto in it. The sushis is definitely fresher than back home and looks pretty different. It’s not a huge different BUT I can easily point out US sushi from Japanese sushi ( I think).
These are famous Japanese noodle made from buckwheat. I was first introduced to soba noodles after finishing an intense dance practice at my friend’s, Akina, house. Her mother served it cold with some type of sauce. I remember having to dilute the sauce with water and then dip the noodle in it. I have to admit, I was a little skeptical about it. Soba noodles by themselves are quite tasteless but when you add the sauce… BANGING! If you aren’t a fan of cold food, you can eat soba hot. And, they are super easy to make (especially if you are lazy or your kitchen so cold you can’t stand to slave over a meal for hours on end) I learned about these noodles before chowing down on them with Akina but I didn’t try any until dinner at Akina’s. Fun Fact: There’s an old building where they used to make soba noodles back in the day in my town.
This is not my favorite dish rather a ‘go to’ meal when I want something hot and when I’m trying to avoid the carbs in ramen. Akina’s mother introduced this to me to this as well. It’s pretty much a soup served mostly in the winter. It’s really not a soup but I ask them to add extra broth so that I can eat it like a soup. Oden is a food mix. It contains radish, fish cake, tofu, boiled eggs which are stewed in some type of broth. Luckily, it’s found in most convenient stores.
I think this is ten times better than fried chicken— sorry southerners. Tonkatsu is a breaded, deep fried pork cutlet. I’ve been lucky enough to have a friend who own a restaurant in town how makes a chicken tonkatsu for me 🙂 ( I don’t eat pork). There is this sauce that he serves with the ‘katsu that just puts a little more umph in the meal. I don’t eat this that often because of course it’s deep fried and I ain’t trying to turn into a piece of tonkatsu. But, on day’s I’m feeling super greedy and healthy stuff won’t suffice, I head on down to the restaurant and order me some tonkatsu. I think it’s the texture and the sauce that makes me say it’s better than fried chicken. I hope I can find a Japanese restaurant at home that makes this!
Let me just say that once you taste ramen here you can never go back to those bags a ramen you grubbed on in college. I don’t think I can describe just how awesome ramen is here. The sauce, seasoning, noodle, and extra veggies and meat they add to ramen makes you wanna just shout! You either just gonna have to taste it or believe me, but the ramen here is POPPIN’.
There are many other Japanese dishes that I’ve tried and absolutely loved. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the name of the dish/I didn’t have it again. I love Japanese food! But, don’t get it twisted, it doesn’t replace food back home haha!