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Japan’s traditional cusine that doesn’t imply sushi (part 1)

Japan’s traditional cusine that doesn’t imply sushi (part 1)

What if you’re interested in Japanese culture, but you’re just not big on sushi? Or you like sushi but you’ve been in Japan for a few days and have already had more sushi than you’ve had in your entire life till that point? Well don’t fret because there is much more about Japanese gastronomy than sushi and we’ll talk about some of these in the following paragraphs.

Tempura

This dish is made up of meaty prawns, soft tofu and all manner of green goodies coated in a fluffy batter, all of which is then served with soup. This is far removed from what you might have experienced as tempura in less authentic dining establishments around the world.

Shabu shabu

This Japanese version of the hot-pot, is all about focusing on fresh flavors and a very healthy balance of ingredients. The meat is very thinly sliced and is then soaked in a hot broth made of cabbage, nori – very popular edible seaweed, shiitake mushrooms and a bunch of other random ingredients, and then it is served with a mount of rice.

Okonomiyaki

This specialty from Osaka and Hiroshima can be roughly translated as ‘what you like’ and it’s hard to go wrong with it. At its base it’s an omelette that is grilled on a griddle in front of the customer and then filled with a range of garnishes such as octopus, greens, cheese and wasabi. The serving staff will then make a very artful mix of otafuku – a type of Worcestershire sauce – and mayonnaise on the top of the creation and scatter dried fish flakes over it. The interesting thing is that this is the Osaka version of the dish, going southwards to Hiroshima will expose you to the version there where the fillings and batter are cooked separately to be then layered on top of a bed of udon noodles.

We’ll continue looking into the other traditional dishes in Japan that don’t include sushi in a future article.

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