Do you love Japanese food? The funny thing about Japanese food is that you either love it or you hate it. There is no in-between. And chances are, if you hate it, you probably haven’t really tasted Japanese food yet or haven’t given yourself a chance to sample it enough. Japanese food is hard to appreciate after only one bite. And sometimes, the idea that you are tasting raw food just won’t escape your mind that you are already predisposed to hating Japanese food even before you actually taste it.
Personally, I love Japanese food. There really is no other cuisine like it in the world in terms of its unique taste and presentation. Who would believe that something so raw could be so delicious? For those of you who have not yet discovered the pleasures of Japanese food, allow me to present the following primer.
The standard Japanese meal always involves a bowl of white rice as well as soup and side dishes such as pickles, vegetables, meat and fish. Japanese food is classified by the number of viands or “okazu” that are served with the rice, soup and side dishes. A meal with one okazu is called ichiju-issai and a prime example of this is the traditional Japanese breakfast which consists of miso soup, rice, grilled fish and one pickled vegetable.
The regular Japanese meal usually involves three okazu to go along with the soup, rice and pickles. Traditionally, each of these three okazu are cooked in a different way from the others. They can either be served raw or grilled, simmered, steamed or deep fried.
Another hallmark of Japanese food is seafood, which is the most popular and most widely consumed food in Japan. The most popular dishes include all types of fish as well as shellfish, squid and octopus. Crab is another favorite delicacy and so are whale and seaweed. Despite the fact that Japanese are not heavy meat eaters, you will hardly find any vegetarians among them either probably owing to their deep fashion for seafood. Beef and chicken are also popular among the Japanese.