Japanese gastronomy: a fascinating culinary journey in 7 steps

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Japanese food is a unique taste experience. With a history and culture rich in flavours, Japanese cuisine is appreciated worldwide for its artistic presentation, fresh ingredients and subtle taste. In this essay, we will explore Japanese culinary history and culture, its specialties, its most popular dishes, as well as some tips on how to cook Japanese food and Japanese sweets.

Japanese culinary history and culture

The history of Japanese cuisine goes back thousands of years. When rice became the main staple food in Japan, people began to develop a unique cuisine based on rice and local vegetables. Over the centuries, Japanese cuisine was enriched by Chinese and Korean influences. From the Edo period (1603-1868), the use of spices and sauces began to spread and Japanese cuisine became more diverse and sophisticated.

Japanese culinary culture is also strongly influenced by the seasons. Kaiseki cuisine, for example, is a fine cuisine served at tea ceremonies and banquets, which emphasises seasonal ingredients. The Japanese are also very keen on the presentation of their dishes, often leaving empty space on the plates to accentuate the beauty of the ingredients.

The popularity of Japanese food around the world

Japanese cuisine is popular around the world for its unique taste and artistic presentation. It has conquered the palates of foodies on all continents, earning it UNESCO intangible heritage status since 2013. The most popular dishes are sushi, ramen, tempura, yakitori, okonomiyaki, sobas and udon.

Japanese culinary specialities

Japanese cuisine is characterised by the use of fresh, quality produce and careful preparation to bring out the natural flavour of the ingredients. Japanese specialities include:

Sushi: Slices of raw fish on a small ball of vinegared rice. Sushi is an iconic dish of Japanese cuisine, appreciated for its freshness and subtle taste.

Ramen: Ramen is noodles served in a hot broth with meat, vegetables and other ingredients. Ramen is a popular dish in Japan and around the world.

Tempura: Tempura is fried food covered with a light batter. It is often served with a soy sauce and grated white radish.

Yakitori: Yakitori are grilled chicken skewers, often with leeks or other vegetables.

The okonomiyakis: Okonomiyakis are thick pancakes made of pancake batter, cabbage, meat and seafood, cooked on a hot plate and topped with various ingredients of your choice.

For the best places to eat in Tokyo, see our article on Japanese restaurants.

Japanese ingredients

Japanese cuisine is also characterised by the use of fresh, quality ingredients such as fish, seafood, vegetables, mushrooms, seaweed and noodles. Wasabi, soy sauce, miso and rice vinegar are common ingredients used in Japanese cooking to enhance flavours.

How to cook Japanese food

France, recettes, sarrasin,

Japanese food may seem intimidating at first glance, but it is actually quite simple to prepare. To begin with, it is important to buy quality ingredients, such as fresh seafood and seasonal vegetables. Basic recipes, such as sushi or ramen, can be found on the Internet or in specialised cookbooks. It is also important to follow the instructions precisely, as Japanese cooking is based on precision and thoroughness.

Japanese sweets

Japanese cuisine is not limited to savoury dishes. Japanese sweets, or wagashi, are also highly prized for their soft, chewy texture, subtle taste and artistic presentation. Wagashi are often made with rice paste, sweet red bean paste and sweet potato paste. Dorayaki, mochi and anmitsu are popular examples of wagashi.

Conclusion

Japanese food is a unique culinary experience. With a rich history and culinary culture, Japanese cuisine has conquered the palates of foodies around the world. Japanese specialities such as sushi, ramen and tempura are appreciated for their subtle taste and artistic presentation. Wagashi is also popular for its smooth texture and artistic presentation. By following basic recipes and using quality ingredients, Japanese cuisine can be easily prepared at home.

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