How To Eat 12 Popular Japanese Dishes Correctly
FOOD

How To Eat 12 Popular Japanese Dishes Correctly

2017.05.17

Have you ever hesitated about eating a Japanese dish because you weren't sure how exactly you should eat it? This article intends to solve such problems! Check out what is the correct way to eat sushi, tempura and other dishes.

Translated byAllie

A nomad traveler, teacher and translator. Speaks English, Japanese, basic Chinese and some Russian.

Written by OsawaKimie

Food Tastes Better When Eaten Properly

There are plenty of unique dishes like sushi and tempura found all over Japan. Although you can enjoy these dishes in other countries, the authentic taste of those prepared in Japan is an extraordinary experience you just have to have.

There is a proper way to eat each Japanese dish in order to enjoy its flavors to the fullest. Of course, no two people eat alike, but if you learn to eat the foods in the manner that the Japanese do, you just might find that these dishes taste differently than you are used to.

Sushi and tempura are well known Japanese dishes the world over. Soba, udon, and tsukemen are three different types of noodles, each with its own variations and toppings. Yakitori are grilled chicken skewers that may be either salted or prepared with a sauce. Sukiyaki is a hearty meat and vegetable hotpot perfect for winter. Tonkatsu are breaded and friend pork cutlets that have many regional variations. Natto are a peculiar dish of fermented sticky soy beans, and onigiri are rice balls that may be wrapped in roasted seaweed. Gyoza or dumplings, are also known as potstickers overseas, and hitsumabushi is a Japanese delicacy made from grilled eel.

This article will explain how to eat sushi, tempura, soba, udon, tsukemen, yakitori, sukiyaki, tonkatsu, natto, onigiri from convenience stores, gyoza and hitsumabushi like the Japanese.

How to Eat Sushi

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Sushi is a traditional Japanese dish, and was the very first dish that spread the appeal of Japanese food to the world. There are many enthusiastic fans of sushi all over the world now. As you might know, nigiri-zushi (hand-shaped sushi) which has a slice of raw fish on top of rice is usually eaten with soy sauce and wasabi.

Wasabi, which is well known for causing a spicy burning sensation in your nose and sinuses, is not liked by everybody. If you don't like wasabi, please tell the staff "sabi nuki" (without wasabi) when you order your sushi in Japan.

In addition, when you dip sushi into the soy sauce, flip the sushi over so that the fish absorbs the soy sauce rather than the rice; this way the rice won't soak up too much soy sauce and you won't lose the flavor of the fish itself.

Read more about sushi:

How To Eat Sushi Like A Pro

How to Eat Tempura

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Tempura is a common dish made from meat, fish or edible plants that are dipped into a mixture of flour, water and eggs then fried in oil. These crunchy and flavorful foods are almost addictive! You won't be able to stop eating them.

The standard way of eating tempura is with ten-tsuyu, which is a special dipping sauce for tempura. Ten-tsuyu is made from dashi soup stock, soy sauce and mirin (sweet rice wine). You can also add grated Japanese daikon radish and grated ginger to ten-tsuyu which bring a sharp freshness to its dish.

The order of eating its tempura pieces is also important. If several pieces of tempura are served on one plate, you should start with lighter types of food (such as vegetables and shrimp) first and then move onto heavier types of food such as anago eel.

Read more about tempura:

What You Need To Know About Eating Tempura

How to Eat Soba and Udon Noodles

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Soba and udon noodles are two of the most well known noodle dishes in Japan. Soba noodles, made from buckwheat flour, and udon noodles, made from wheat flour and salted water, are popular dishes often served at home.

How to eat them changes depending on how they are served. If the noodles are served tsuke-men style, in which you dip noodles into a separate sauce, first you add wasabi and spices like green onions into the sauce then pick up and dip a few noodles into that.

On the other hand, if the serving style is kake-jiru style, where the noodles are already in the soup, you can add sesame seeds and shichimi (seven spice blend) to suit your palate. If you order soba noodles, you can add the hot water used to boil the soba called soba-yu to your sauce and drink it as a soup after eating all the noodles. Soba-yu is quite nutritious and is an excellent way to finish your meal.

Read more about soba and udon noodles:

Know Your Noodle: The Differences Between Soba And Udon

How to Eat Tsukemen

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As we mentioned above, tsukemen is a dish wherein the noodles and soup are served separately. The temperature difference between the hot soup and cold noodles is a taste sensation that many find addictive.

The standard way of eating tsukemen is to pick up a mouthful's worth of noodles, dip them into the soup and then slurp them up. The most important point to this is how quickly you can bring the noodles to your mouth, as the soup will cool off quickly if you take too long.

In addition, tsukemen comes with its own version of soba-yu, called soup wari. You simply ask the staff for this restaurant specific light broth, which you then add to the remaining soup and drink. This is a Japanese dish that you can enjoy right down to the very last drop. Why don't you fill your empty stomach with this happiness?

Read more about tsukemen:

Dipping Noodles in Broth? How to Enjoy Tsukemen

Next PageOn the next page, grilled chicken, a winter favorite, and a Kansai specialty.
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