Words by Hannah Beaumont-Laurencia.
"There are many differences between the UK and Japan, and cuisine is one of the biggest! With every aspect of Japanese life, attention to detail is pivotal and standards are high - not only for the service and quality of food but the decor of the restaurants. Personally, I am a massive fan of Japanese food and it is always my first choice in the UK! In Japan however, they don't have Italian, Chinese, Indian restaurants etc. they just have Japanese! Here's some of my favourite dishes I have tried:
Ramen soup - Chinese style noodles prepared in a soup with various toppings. Ramen is one of the many popular dishes that were originally introduced from China but have become completely Japanised over time.
Sushi – There are various kinds of sushi dishes, such as Nigirizushi (hand formed sushi), Makizushi (rolled sushi), and Chirashi (sushi rice topped with raw fish). Sushi is the most famous Japanese dish outside of Japan, and one of the most popular dishes among the Japanese themselves.
Sashimi - Sashimi is raw seafood. A large number of fish can be enjoyed raw if they are fresh and prepared correctly. Most types of sashimi are enjoyed with soy sauce and wasabi.
Teppanyaki – This is meat, seafood and vegetables which are prepared on a large iron griddle (called a teppan). All the diners sit around the teppan and the chef prepares the dishes in front of his customers - great for dining with friends!
Tempura - Tempura consists of seafood, vegetables, mushrooms, or meat coated with batter and deep fried. The resulting food has a light, but crispy texture, that may be seasoned with salt or dipped in a light sauce before eating. Tempura was originally introduced to Japan by the Portuguese in the 16th century, and has become one of Japan's most famous dishes internationally.
Shabu-Shabu - This is a Japanese style meat hot pot where pieces of thinly sliced meat, seafood, vegetables, mushrooms and tofu, are cooked by dipping them into a hot soup. The bite sized pieces are then dipped into a ponzu citrus or sesame sauce before being eaten.
Tonkatsu - Tonkatsu is deep fried pork cutlets. It is usually served accompanied by shredded cabbage or on top of cooked rice, known as katsudon. It is also a common addition to Japanese style curry rice (katsu kare). Light Tempura was a favourite at lunch, with Teppanyaki and Shabu-Shabu as my evening meal go to’s. If you haven’t tried it, then I recommend cold soba with dipping sauce. I first tried this when I visited Japan years ago as a student and have loved it ever since – very simple and very healthy!"