These days, Japanese food is pretty widely consumed in the west, even if sometimes the original taste gets slightly lost in translation. In general, though, even non-Japanophiles can be found enjoying a range of Japanese food, whether at home or out for dinner with friends. Sushi is no longer shocking, and “comfort foods” such as okonomiyaki, ramen, and yakiniku can all be enjoyed overseas. But did you know that apparently we’re still making five major mistakes when it comes to Japanese cuisine? Read on to find out if you’re a major offender who doesn’t know their ikura from their elbow!
Dec 5, 2014
It always seems a little strange when someone looks at a really cute baby and squeals, “He’s so cute I could just eat him up!” I agree, most babies are pretty adorable, and if you said, “He’s so cute I could take on the social responsibility of providing food, clothing, and shelter for him,” or maybe “He’s so cute I could put up with his moody teen years,” I’d probably be right with you.
But eating him? Why would your mind go there? Unless, of course, the baby is wrapped in a sushi roll-style swaddling cloth.
In this era of increasing globalization we see more and more cases of foods jumping across cultural boundaries and changing in the process. Japan is no different with foods like pizza topped with scallops, curry which tastes sweet as pudding, and ramen burgers.
And of course this culinary door swings both ways such as the United States’ take on sushi in creations like the California roll. However, now we are seeing an interesting twist in the migration of sushi with New Port Sushi located in Okinawa. Here American style sushi can be enjoyed in Japan. After our reporter Nakano was finished vomiting up his glass of root beer, we sent him in to check it out.
When eating sushi, it’s customary to dip each morsel into a small dish of soy sauce before popping it into your mouth. True connoisseurs hold that the proper way to do this is to first turn each piece over so that just the fish, and not the rice, comes into contact with the soy.
However, gripping the piece firmly enough to pick it up, yet gently as to not crush the rice, rotating it 180 degrees for the dip, then spinning it back again to eat can be tricky, especially if you’re not used to chopsticks (or if you’re not used to the sake you’ve paired with your sushi). So if you’ve got a cultured palate but lack manual dexterity, this special sushi soy sauce spray is seemingly the solution.
As the weather gets chillier, shabu-shabu becomes an ideal dinner. Think delicately thin slices of meat cooked to your liking in a bubbling broth, then dipped in your favorite sauce and delivered direct to your tummy. What could possibly be better than a satisfying meal of all-you-can-eat shabu-shabu, you might wonder? Well, we hit jackpot when we found this restaurant in Yokohama which serves all-you-can-eat shabu-shabu and sushi, all for a low, low price of 1,799 yen (US$16).
In the spirit of gourmet discovery, we wasted no time in bringing along our Japanese-food-loving American friend Ike for some face-stuffing.
You’ve probably seen girls (and sometimes guys) taking pictures in restaurants and maybe you read their Twitter or Facebook updates about the good food they eat around Japan. Maybe you’re one of these foodagraphers. I wouldn’t blame you, in fact, I’ve done the same. Japanese food, everything from lunch-boxes to sweets, is often not only delicious looking, but is also often displayed in cute and fashionable ways.
But lately, social media and the restaurant review site Tabelog have been taken by storm by the updates and comments about three Kyoto sushi restaurants, due to their innovative menu and their ability to attract those squealing, cell-phone holding, Japanese women (and men?) by making their food undeniably cute.
Between the country’s natural beauty and historic sites, there are plenty of things to see on a trip to Japan. Eventually, though, you’re going to have to take a break from sightseeing in order to eat, and even then you’re in luck, since Japan is a foodie’s paradise.
But while it’s true that Japan is filled with great restaurants, only one can be at the top of travelers’ dining wish list, as decided by users of travel website Trip Advisor in a recent ranking of where they want to eat in Japan.
All right, who loves sushi? The colorful, beautiful little clusters of rice that look and taste like little pieces of art. To many people, sushi is synonymous with Japan, but Japan’s neighboring country Korea has their own version of maki sushi, known as gimbap (or kimbap).
As we’ve previously seen, the Koreans are incredibly creative when it comes to food improvisations, so we weren’t totally surprised when we came across this funky recipe for sushi/gimbap gratin. See the full recipe after the break!
Conveyor belt sushi shops are a cheap way to grab some raw fish or fried food on rice. They are widely known for being clean, efficient, and the perfect way to get exactly the amount of food you want. However, as a few surprised Twitter users have shown us, when you combine speedy food with revolving belts, sometimes things go wrong. From oddly shaped eggs to food that’s not even on a plate, take a look at these conveyor belt sushi disasters and mishaps.
Oct 3, 2014
Before the tragic day when the sushi restaurant in my neighborhood closed down, I went there often enough that a few of the guys behind the counter recognized me when I came in, and even remembered that I liked my tuna rolls heavy on the wasabi. A little bit of personal service always makes a meal more enjoyable, so while I’m sad my local place is gone, I’m happy for Twitter user Okappasama, who still has a kaitenzushi joint where she’s a regular.
Not only does the staff remember her favorite type of sushi, they recently whipped up something for her that you won’t ordinarily find on any menu: a special birthday sushi bear!
Michelle Lynn Dinh
Oct 1, 2014
A few companies in Japan have been trying to pair wine, a traditionally non-Japanese beverage, with favorite foods from around the country. First, we saw Okonomiyaki Wine, meant to be enjoyed with Osaka and Hiroshima’s favorite savory pancake. Recently, one of the staff members over at our sister site YouPouch discovered a bottle of Sushi Wine that is said to go perfectly with the flavors of raw fish. Nihonshu, what is commonly referred to as “sake” outside of Japan is the usual sushi standby, so we were excited to give this new competitor a try.
The other day, I woke up and immediately had a craving for sushi. In and of itself, that’s not really anything remarkable, since “Man, I could really go for some good sushi,” is one of my first fully formed thoughts on just about any given morning.
Not one to deny my heart its truest desires, I headed to Tokyo’s Tsukiji, home of the world’s biggest seafood market and some of Japan’s best sushi restaurants. I ducked into one and polished off a bowl of sliced tuna and salmon, and, still wrapped in the lingering effects of my food coma, went for a rambling stroll around the neighborhood.
Since I wasn’t looking for food anymore, my eyes ended up being drawn to a shrine I’d never noticed before. I stepped onto the grounds, where I found a monument to the souls of all the fish whose lives supply Japan with sushi.
Sep 26, 2014
We recently added to our collection of weird Japanese toys by buying a couple of Doggy Bread Figures. But while the canine fans in the RocketNews24 office were happy, our resident cat lovers couldn’t help but sigh in sad reminiscence of the good old days when they could decorate their shelves with cat sushi.
Well, the worlds of Japanese cuisine and cute kitties have once again collided, as there’s a new batch of really (and surreally) cute sushi cat figures on the market, and we’ve already compiled a complete set.
Sep 25, 2014
I love sushi. I really can’t overstate that fact, and it’s to the point that I’d totally understand if you asked, “If you love sushi so much, why don’t you marry it?”
First, I’m already married, and there are several ways in which my lovely and human wife is a superior spouse compared to a slice of raw fish, no matter how delicious the latter may be. Second, even if I were single and ready to take my relationship with Japanese cuisine’s most famous discipline to the next level, what kind of ring would I use to propose?
Here with the answer is American designer Carolyn Tillie, who’s crafted a whole line of sushi-themed accessories.
Sep 23, 2014
With major restaurant chains hit by food safety scares, and a factory worker jailed last month for lacing frozen foods with pesticides, consumer confidence in the food industry in Japan is at an all-time low. Writer and food safety campaigner Hirokazu Kawagishi’s latest book is a timely contribution to this renewed skepticism about the food we eat, where it comes from, and whether it is what it claims to be. In Gaishoku no uragawa (literally, “the other side of dining out”), Kawagishi reveals the secrets behind Japan’s restaurant trade.
In an extract published in Toyo Keizai this week, Kawagishi lifts the lid on Japan’s kaitenzushi (conveyor belt sushi) with 10 pro tips to help you decide which restaurants are worth your time — and which to avoid.
Let’s take a look at what he recommends, including why you should always take a closer look at the squid; the secret significance of the hole in the soy-sauce pourer, and more tips to make sure you don’t get scammed at the sushi counter.
There are so many things you can learn about someone simply by observing them. You don’t have reach out of your comfort zone and ask them directly because so much can be learned by their fashion, their posture, their body language and the way they cut their nails. This is especially handy in Japanese society when being direct can be seen as extremely rude.
So how do you find out about really personal things? Certainly the best way to acquire hidden information is by asking innocuous questions that reveal way more than they should! Take the latest tip from an elite business man, who says you can guess about how much a man earns in Japan by asking him one simple question: “What kind of sushi do you like?”
Although “sushi” is often thought to mean raw fish, that’s not actually what the word means. The name actually refers to vinegared rice, and some varieties of sushi don’t contain any fish at all.
Kappa maki, for example, are rolls of seaweed, rice, and cucumber, while inarizushi is made with rice and fried tofu. On the other end of the spectrum, if you’re in the mood for non-seafood sushi but also don’t want to go vegetarian, you can try horse sushi, like we recently did.
Sep 1, 2014
During our Japanese correspondent Yoshio‘s recent trip to San Diego’s Comic-Con, he was struck by an insatiable craving to eat some quality sushi. From what he’d previously heard, while most American sushi restaurants offer western-inspired uramaki ‘inside-out’ rolls such as the California roll, it would be harder to find nigirizushi (the kind with a topping over a block of rice) on the menu. So what’s a hungry guy far from home to do?
After asking several Japanese people living in the area, Yoshio headed over to the highly recommended Sushi Ota. He went in with some reservations about the authenticity of the sushi, being outside of Japan and all, but left after a mind-blowing experience–in fact, he now considers Sushi Ota to be in the top three sushi restaurants he’s ever been to!
Aug 30, 2014
Your mother probably scolded you for playing with your food at the dinner table, but here’s one of the few times you’ll be able to get away with it! Introducing transforming sushi toys from Takara Tomy. Now, instead of playing with a floppy piece of asparagus (how’s that supposed to stand up to the forces of evil anyway?), you can play with these pieces of super robot fighting sushi. Just don’t try to take a bite out of them!
Did you know that you’ve probably been eating sushi wrong this whole time? Check out this video from a pro sushi chef to see how you should be doing it if you want to be a real sushi gourmet.
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