Taste of Japan

Taste of Japan

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The world never stops innovating new things and it has brought us from monochrome television’s era to smartphones that connect us worldwide. The more we are connected with other people, the more we know of their culture.

Japanese animations (anime), games, TV shows, and recent viral contents have pushed their lifestyle to be known world-wide. But what is one of the best ways to start learning about a new culture? By their food!

One of the most popular foods is Japanese style curry rice that tastes rather sweet and savory. It is a dish from India that was brought to Japan by the British during the Meiji period (1868–1912). Usually consisting of meat, onions, carrots, potatoes, it sure is an easy dish to make at home when you have curry roux!

Curry roux is a blend of spices and ingredients shaped into cubes that makes cooking this dish easier. There are mild curry roux mix to hot curry roux mix to extra hot for an additional kick of heat.

Next on the list is Okonomiyaki! A savory pancake usually filled with cabbage, meat, or seafood, the dish is widely available in all of Japan with varying toppings and batters depending on the area. Okonomiyaki means “grill it the way you like it”, and there are a lot of variants you can try or you can make your own variant!

You can use this specially made okonomiyaki flour to skip some of the preparation process! The next step is to add your fillings of choice, then top the cooked okonomiyaki with some okonomiyaki sauce, kewpie mayonnaise, dried seaweed, or dried bonito flakes.

Now let’s try out a simple and fun to make dish: Onigiri! It is made out of plain rice, sometimes slightly salted, and filled with various fillings inside the rice ball. One of the most popular kinds of onigiri is filled with tuna mixed with kewpie mayo. You can use other kinds of fillings and then wrap the rice ball with a nori sheet.

Mazemen or Mazesoba is a brothless noodle from Japan. Despite the name, it actually uses ramen or udon noodles instead of soba noodles! The sauce varies in each region, but some do use sesame oil, soy sauce, chicken stock, and toban-djan for some extra spiciness. Top it with nori, katsuobushi, half boiled egg, and any meat, then it is time to enjoy your mazemen.

Last but not least, Mochi! This is a Japanese rice cake with many variants, but the most popular variant is soft chewy rice cake filled with red bean paste. Traditionally made by pounding steamed rice into paste, nowadays you can simply use rice flour mixed with water and sugar to make the soft mochi dough. You can use chocolate, fruits, or sweet cold ice cream to fill it!

These dishes are surprisingly easy to make at home, so let’s try them out and explore other culture’s food one at a time!

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