Exploring Japanese Cuisine

Japan is an extraordinary place. Living is fast paced, exciting but very exact. For the most part it is an extremely clean country. And although there are food customs that are universally accepted in Japan, it has to be recognised that food traditions are often regional with certain places placing greater emphasis on particular food types and presentation.

Across Japan Izakaya bars are incredibly popular. Meeting places for after work drinks, these bars are also famous for serving favourite foods at the bar. Sushi and Sashimi are popular as are fried snacks such as Octopus balls, Tofu balls and Karaage – bite sized fried chicken. Yakisoba noodles and Agedashi dofu (deep fired tofu in broth) are also very popular.

Drinks include Beers, Shochu and, of course, Sake.

Yakitori Bars are extremely popular in Tokyo and the major Japanese regional cities. Again these are considered after work locations to relax, eat and drink. A wide variety of Seafoods, Chicken, Beef and Vegetables are skewered and barbequed on stone grills. Patrons consume up to 10 rounds of these tasty skewers washing them down with Japanese Beers, Sake and Shochu. Dipping sauces – miso, soy sauces, sesame, chilli and ginger and many more provide a tasty zest to accompany the delicious Yakitori Skewers.

Hugely popular are the Ramen bars and cafes. Ramen consists of a Chinese style wheat noodle served in a meat – or (occasionally) fish-based broth flavoured with miso using toppings of sliced pork, seaweed and green onions. Every region in Japan has its own version of Ramen. Tonkotsu is a pork bone broth ramen popular in Kyushu. Miso Ramen is popular in Sapporo and the Hokkaido region of Northern Japan. Beer is a great accompaniment to a Ramen night out.

A popular choice amongst Japanese for a meal with a difference is to visit an Okinawan style restaurant or café. It is said that Pork comes from China and that Okinawans use every part of the pig – ‘except its squeal’. The Okinawan diet features Kombu, a large and glutinous thick seaweed – often used in soups and stews. Turmeric is a popular spice, however it is noted that the Okinawans are not keen on many types of mushrooms. Surprisingly the cuisine does not feature much seafood even though Okinawa is an island surrounded by ocean.

Prepare yourself a Japanese feast. At Tang the Asian Food Emporium we have probably the best range of Japanese food stuffs in the Melbourne CBD. There are tens of different types of miso, umboshi: or sour plums, traditional Japanese rice varieties, Tofus, dipping sauces, Japanese soy sauces, sesame sauces and a wealth of Japanese noodles. For desert we have Japanese Ice-creams and confectionaries. And finish that special Japanese dinner off with our excellent range of Saki, Shochu and specialist Japanese food, green teas and beverages. It’s fresh, it’s clean and it’s from Tang.

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