Bento, Sushi, Kaiseki…Although there are many kinds of Japanese foods. How many kinds do you know them?
Today, I introduce the typical Japanese food types.
- Japanese food type
- Sushi (寿司 / 鮨)
- Kaiseki ryori (懐石料理)
- kaiseki ryori for Party (会席料理)
- Donburimono (丼物)
- Bento (弁当)
- Agemono (揚げ物)
- Nabe ryori (鍋料理)
- Teppan-yaki / Yakiniku (鉄板焼き / 焼肉)
- Macrobiotic (マクロビオティック)
- Yakuzen ryori (薬膳料理)
- Katei ryori (家庭料理)
- Shojin / Shoujin Ryori (精進料理)
- Shippoku ryori (卓袱料理)
- Osechi ryori (おせち料理)
Japanese food type
Japanese food type is divided into 3 types as follows.
Washoku (和食): Japanese unique cuisine
Chuka (中華): Chinese cuisine
Yoshoku / Youshoku (洋食): Westerners. Including French, Thai, Africa or Italian etc.
I explain only Washoku (和食) in this page.
Sushi (寿司 / 鮨)
There are so many different types of sushi indeed.
The sushi you know is actually called “Nigiri-zushi”.
The originally from Tokyo. (“Nigiri” means hand shaped). This type sushi is also called “Edomae-zushi”. “Edomae” means Tokyo style.
You can learn more about sushi on another page.
Kaiseki ryori (懐石料理)
“Kaiseki” means meals before the tea ceremony as a course dish. Usually we do not use meat.
The Russians chef imitated the Kaiseki 200years ago.(Because Russia is cold, so if they serve meals at once, the meals will be cold soon and not delicious), then French imitated Russian’s one.
The current course dish format was established in France. Japanese do not know about this and serve their food in courses like French style… lamentably.
“Ryaku shiki” means Informal. The kaiseki contains various foods in a crosswise-partitioned lunchbox is called “Ryaku shiki-kaiseki”.
This is popular because we can eat kaiseki cuisine easily .
This photo is in-flight meal of ANA(Business class).
kaiseki ryori for Party (会席料理)
This “Kaiseki” means party cuisine. Basically, menu has 1soup and 3 deishes.
3 dishes are served with sashimi or fish pickles, soup or simmered vegetables, and grilled vegetables or a fish.
In addition, appetizers, fried, steamed and boiled foods as side dishes.
The last one is rice, miso soup, pickles, and some sweets also.
“Donburi” means bowl. It is also said “Donmono”. We have many bowl recipes.
I explain another page “Donburi-mono“.
“Bento” means lunch box, is one of the entertainment for Japanese.
Our mothers and wives make them for their husbands or children every morning.
The bento eaten in Kabuki is called “Ori”. These usually contain inarizushi and maki-zushi.
Makunouchi Bento (幕の内弁当)
“Makunouchi” has 2meanngs, refers to “behind the scenes” and “intermission”.
This Makunouchi is named after the actors ate this bento behind the scenes, or the audience eat it intermission.
I explain about Japanese bento boxes of
Makunouchi bento recipe
The basic form of the ingredients is sandbag shaped rice covered with black sesame seeds and stuffed with Tamagoyaki, Kamaboko, a grilled fish, some deep-fry, simmered food, and pickled vegetables.
Shokadou Bento (松花堂弁当)
Shokado bento is a rectangular box divided into crisscrossing containers and filled with dishes. It is also used as an informal kaiseki or party cuisine.
This usually consists of 4parts.
1. Mixed sashimi platter (Mukouzuke)
2. Side dishes (Osai)
4. Simmered dishes (Nimono).
The miso soup and dessert are served separately.
Japanese people don’t know well, it is decided where to put the side dishes indeed.
Kitcho, a Michelin three-star restaurant in Kyoto, is the origins.
In recently, this is not just tasty but also the place of expressions for mother’s voice.
It’s written “Who do you think you are?”…I guess they quarreled something last night? There are no other foods!?
It is written
“Anything that doesn’t kill you is just a scratch. ” Japanese often think so…This means as same as “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger“.
Every world, Mother is great!!😄
Ekiben means a special bento box sold at train stations…but, now they are sold at supermarket, though.
If you look at the contents of this one, you’ll know what the regional specialties are.
I will explain these ekiben on another page. There are 200kinds at least.
You may be surprised to see this picture, but in Japan, you can eat your meal on your train seat, not in compartments.
Because, Shinkansen and limited express trains in particular are treated the same as airplanes. You will be surprised to see people drinking beer or eating lunch in the train.
However, people who eat in the Yamanote Line like Commuting Train are not violating manners, but they are just crazy. Stay away!
“Age-mono” means deep-fried.
There are many kinds of deep-fried foods in Japan. I explain this on another page “Deep fried foods“.
Nabe ryori (鍋料理)
“Nabe ryori” means pot cooking. Sukiyaki and Shabu-Shabu are also typical pot dishes. I will show you the recipes on a different page later.
Nabe bugyo (鍋奉行)
In Japan, there is a person known as the “Nabe bugyo (鍋奉行)”. This person is in charge of all these dishes.
Bugyō (奉行) was a title assigned to samurai commissioner for a given official’s tasks or jurisdiction during the feudal period of Japan.
They are very particular about the boiling time, the type of ingredients, and where to place the ingredients.
Teppan-yaki / Yakiniku (鉄板焼き / 焼肉)
“Teppan” means Steel plate. “Yaki” is grill.So, Teppan-yaki is grilled foods on the hot steel plate. Teppan-yaki is a dish in which vegetables and meat are grilled on an iron plate. In Japan, we cook “Teppankyaki” at home using the electric griddle.
Teppan-yaki is grilled using a spatula. In the Kansai region, this spatula is called a “kote” .
Teppan-yaki is a dish of meat or seafood grilled on an iron plate. In Japan, ice cream is also grilled and served. okonomiyaki and monjayaki are also types of teppan-yaki.
I often have yakiniku parties at home with my family and friends, and this is done using a hot plate.
On the contrary, Yakiniku, a chef cooks and serves steak or lobster, while in yakiniku, you cook raw meat cut into 10cm pieces by yourself and dip it in sauce before eating.
Okonomiyaki, Takoyaki (お好み焼き, たこ焼き)
Although Okonomiyaki and Takoyaki are from Osaka, every Japanese often cook this dish at home well.
I explain about them in “Konamono ” page.
Macrobiotics is a dietary method and therapy that involves eating a well-balanced diet of mainly brown rice and other grains, as well as seasonal vegetables, seaweed, and beans in accordance with the environment.
along the traditional Japanese way of eating, animal proteins such as meat, fish, eggs, and dairy products, as well as refined ingredients are avoided as much as possible.
These are 3 basic macrobiotic concepts.
1. Shindo fuji 身土不二
2. Ichibutsu zentai 一物全体
3. Yin and Yang harmony 陰陽調和
Shindo fuji 身土不二
It means that the body(shin) and the environment (do) are not separate (fuji). This means, “Eat local and seasonal foods.”
Ichibutsu zentai 一物全体
”Ichibutu zentai” means whole foods. This means eat whole foods as much as possible.
Vegetables should be cooked without peeling.
Small fish should be eaten whole. Conversely, it is better not to eat too many large meat or fish that cannot be eaten whole.
Yin and Yang harmony 陰陽調和
Yin and Yang is a traditional Eastern concept that says that everything in the universe is composed of two energies, Yin and Yang. Chinese people are more familiar with this concept than Japanese.
It is based on the idea that there are negative foods that cool the body and positive foods that warm it.
FYI: Immunotherapy concierge
Yakuzen ryori (薬膳料理)
“Yakuzen” is a diet based on Chinese medicine theory. Macrobiotics is derived from this. “Yaku” means medicine. “Zen” means ” meal in Japanese.
This Yakuzen is very good for your health and beauty. You can keep youth and skin will turn young, because, the body turn around well, so your skin keep healthy and you stay young. However, Chinese medicinal herbs are too strong for us, so we arrange them in Japanese style.
Gogyo shisou (五行思想)
“Gogyo shisou” means the Five Elements philosophy, each element also has a specific color. This thinking is very Chinese.
In the West, the four elements are “earth, water, fire, and wind”. But oriental way is the five elements with “metal” .
It is said that the five elements influence each other, and the cycle of life, death, and rebirth changes everything in the world.
Katei ryori (家庭料理)
“Katei” means home. “Ryori” means a cooking. So, this is Japanese home made cooking, including Chuka and Youshoku also.
“Niku-jaga” is a typical Japanese home cooking. “Niku” is beef and “Jaga” are potatoes. It is kind a Japanese beef stew.
“Obanzai” means Kyoto-style home cooking with boiled vegetables and marinated food, also now served in restaurants.
Shojin / Shoujin Ryori (精進料理)
“Shojin ryori” means a vegetarian diet that was originally monks. Useing only vegetables, beans and grains.
Because monks were prohibited eating any meats and Sake.
But actually, this is a lie.
For example, Japanese monks are prohibited from drinking sake, but they drink it as a kind of medicine calls “Hannya-tou” .
”Hannya” means “wisdom that leads to truth” So, they say that drinking Sake for medicine of leading to wisdom.
They say “Rabbits is a chicken not animal”, so they eat it. For this reason, in Japan, rabbits are counted as “wa” instead of “ko,” just like birds.
Shippoku ryori (卓袱料理)
Japan was closed off from the rest of the world for about 200 years, but Dejima in Nagasaki prefecture was the only city in Japan that traded with the Netherlands, Portugal and China.
This Shippoku ryouri is a fusion of Japanese, Western and Chinese tastes.
Several people gather around a vermilion-lacquered round table and share the food served on each platter.
Osechi ryori (おせち料理)
Osechi-ryori is a dish eaten on New Year’s Day. It is too detailed to explain, so I will introduce the recipe on a separate page.
I think foreigners can not understand real Japanese food deeply. Because Japanese people cannot explain it well in English.
In addition, there are many wrong answers and recipes on the net. This is described it by non-Japanese. Japanese are exclusive…bad meaning.
There are words that exist in Japanese, but not in English. This is the reason why Japanese people are not good at English.
Of course, there are Japanese who can speak English, but they do not know much about Japanese foods.
Japanese food is really and really deep.