Written by Bond
5 Japanese Foods To Try In The Summer
Japan is known for having a great variety of seasonal foods. The dishes enjoyed in the summer are refreshing and tasty, making it easier to fight the heat. How about trying them?
Heat during the Japanese summer can be intense. One of the best ways to combat it, rather than trying to escape it by isolating oneself inside where the air conditioning can be counted on, is to brave the heat and enjoy food.
Japan is known for offering seasonally appropriate food during each different season, such as chestnut in the fall and rich, heart oden in the winter months and the summer is no exception. Rather than avoiding the sun, people can enjoy it at the same time as the great summer dishes listed below.
Zaru Soba - A Refreshing Noodle Dish
Most people know of soba as the thin Japanese buckwheat noodles served in a hot broth, often with other ingredients mixed in. However, in the summer season, the hot soup base does not match the hot temperature well, and people seek cooler things to make them more comfortable in the heat.
Therefore, instead of serving the soba hot, as it is traditionally cooked, the soba is served cold on a bamboo strainer, which is called "zaru" in Japanese, which is where the name of the dish originates from. The soba is cooked until it is soft, then chilled. The excess water on the noodles drains onto the strainer, leaving only the cold soba on top to be enjoyed. The chilled noodles are then dipped into a separate sauce and comfortably enjoyed in any degree of heat.
Customers can cater the flavor of the sauce to their preference, adding whatever amount of green onions and wasabi as they wish. Once the soba is completed, water can be added to the pure sauce to dilute it into a soup that can be enjoyed as well.
Kakigori - Shaved Ice with Various Flavors
Kakigori is an iced dessert that is light yet flavorful, and perfect for a hot, humid day during the Japanese summer. It consists of shaved ice and a syrup sweetener, and more often than not, condensed milk as well. The dish is fluffier than shaved ice and can combine flavors, and is generally eaten with a spoon.
Other ingredients, such as ice cream, red beans, and jelly, can be added to the dish as well. This food can be found almost everywhere in the heat summer months, including festival, convenience stores, and normal shops. Iced desserts are an undeniable fan favorite in any country during the summer, and Japan is no different!
Rei Shabu - The Chilled Version of Shabu Shabu
Shabu Shabu is a popular dish that is often enjoyed between a large group of people, all mixing meat and vegetables into the same pot of hot water and sauces. The cold version acts more like a salad rather than a hot pot style of dish, yet it still offers all of the ingredients that can be enjoyed in the hot version.
In this dish, the meat should be cooked until pink, and then chilled once more. Once the meat is cooled to a reasonable temperature, it can be added to the dish with the other thinly sliced vegetables. While a variety of different vegetables can be included depending on personal taste, some possibilities include daikon, carrot, and cucumber. The dish is then layered with sesame oil. After that point, it is fully prepared and ready for enjoyment at any time.
Yakitori - Skewered Fried Chicken
One of the most memorable parts of summer in Japan are the summer festivals. While festivals can occur at any time during the year in Japan, summer boasts the most. At these events, you can witness people wearing a light, traditional style of clothing, called yukata, enjoy the festival parade as it proceeds by, and most memorably, snack on the staple dishes found at almost every single festival that occurs.
Undeniably, one of the best aspects of going to a festival is browsing through the different stalls to find the best food, or to sample them all. A variety of different styles of food can be found here, including okonomiyaki, yakisoba, and takoyaki. Most popular are the grilled foods, which in Japanese, is known as yaki.
With that in mind, one of the most popular festival foods, and therefore, one of the most popular summer foods, is yakitori. Yakitori is a grilled chicken skewer whose meat can come from a variety of parts of the actual chicken. It is very convenient to eat, not even requiring chopstick skills to devour, and can be eaten while walking around the festival.
Ramune - A Traditional, Refreshing Summer Drink
Ramune is a refreshing beverage perfect for the summer, with a good mix of carbonation and flavoring. The design of the bottle is distinctive, with a pinched glass neck and a ball that has to be pressed down from the top of the container to stop the carbonation from escaping.
The drink is widely popular among children and adults alike, and is offered in a variety of different flavors, such as peach, yuzu, and the original lemon-lime. At summer festivals, it is common for people to enjoy drinking ramune. The craze doesn’t simply stop there.
Ramune is such a popular summer taste that its infused into a variety of other dishes, such as candy or ice cream. During the hot days and nights, try to sample as many ramune snacks as you can!
The temperature can be brutal in the summer months of Japan, but rest assured. The boiling humidity and sun can be combated by the solace these chilled dishes offer. Whether people try just one or try them all, enjoyment is practically guaranteed. Beat the heat in Japan this summer by tasting these unique and seasonally appropriate dishes!