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10 things you must eat in Japan

When people think of Japanese food, they usually only think of sushi or ramen. However, Japan has a lot more to offer! Tokyo has more star restaurants than any other city in the world, and Osaka is always inventing new words to express the Japanese people's love for food. One of the reasons for the extraordinary cuisine in the country is the fact that the traditions revolve around the idea of Umami turn - your fifth sense of taste. Umami Can be translated as “pleasantly hearty taste” and is the (scientific) reason why (almost) everyone is a fan of fried bacon and why fries taste better when you add ketchup. It theoretically improves the palatability of all foods, from sweet to bitter and everything in between. Who wouldn't want to dine in a country that has the (secret) ingredient that makes everything taste better? So here are ten delicious reasons for you to go on a culinary trip to Japan:

1. SUSHI

Sushi put Japan first on the world food map, so it's only fair to have it come first. The small, cold rice rolls go back to the 4th century BC. And originally helped keep the fish fresh - nowadays they are everyone's favorite dish to dip in soy sauce. Making sushi is an art form and it takes decades to become a true sushi master: You spend years learning how to properly prepare rice on your own. Ginza Tokyo as well as fish ports across the country are known for serving the best sushi, but you can go to one too kaiten-zushi go - an assembly line restaurant that is a bit more wallet-friendly.

2. TEMPURA

In the 16th century, Jesuit missionaries from Portugal went ashore in Nagasaki and introduced the life-changing culinary science of fried foods to Japan. The Japanese made these their own and have since dipped seafood and vegetables in thin batter before frying them to perfection in fat. This oishii Delicious snacks can be enjoyed with rice, pasta or with a barbecue.

3. RAMEN

This noodle soup is one of the most popular and affordable foods in Japan. So it makes sense that students get so into it. Ramen is as simple as it is delicious: you take Chinese-style wheat noodles (they are yellowish and look a bit like spaghetti), put them in broth and add other ingredients such as cut meat, dried seaweed and spring onions. Many people have ramen for lunch. Mostly it is also viewed as fast food. However, restaurants usually have their own secret recipe, which turns every serving of ramen into a unique (umami) taste experience.

4. SOBA

Soba, the Japanese word for buckwheat, is a thin, spaghetti-like noodle made from - surprise! - Buckwheat flour can be made, which gives them a gray / brownish color. Soba noodles are very popular in Tokyo and date back to the Edo period (1603-1868) when samurais learned to appreciate its taste. The noodles are usually mixed with egg, tempura and other ingredients and can be served hot or cold, with or without broth. Cold soba noodles are made with a soy-based sauce for dipping, which tsuyu is called, is enough. After this experience, I decided that Team Hot Soba to belong.

5. UDON

We stick with noodles and head to udon, the thicker and filling cousins ​​of soba noodles. Broth is the natural habitat of udon noodles, which are then refined with spring onions, tempura or tofu. If you stay in Japan long enough, people will ask you if you are more of a udon or soba person, so try everything and choose your favorite. Whether you eat ramen, soba, or udon, always slurp it with you - this is considered polite and shows that you like the meal.

6. TAKOYAKI

Takoyaki are small dumplings that are filled with squid, cabbage and dried shrimp and garnished with sauce. You will find many street vendors and stalls all over Japan that Takoyaki sell - the dish is ideal as a side snack. They are bite-sized and, as they are made in a specially shaped pan, almost perfectly round.

7. ONIGIRI

Anime fans will likely get this off Pokemon and Sailor Moon know. Onigiri is a boiled rice ball filled with salty or sour things, such as dried plums, salmon or cod, which is then wrapped in a sheet of dried seaweed (nori). You can find the balls all over Japan, even in convenience stores.

8. OKONOMIYAKI

Okonomiyaki is a combination of the words okonomi, which means “what you want” or “what you want”, andyaki, the Japanese word for “grilled” or “cooked”. It's a hearty Japanese pancake with a ton of ingredients - I had one with cheese, soba noodles, spring onions, garlic chips, pork, egg, kimchi, and more. There are different ways to get around okonomiyaki to prepare and serve. In my case, a number of chefs prepared different orders, which were then placed on a small, flat oven to keep the pizza-like pancakes tasty and warm. A small spatula-like spoon is given to eat them - the rest is delicious story.

9. YAKITORI

These charcoal grilled chicken skewers are best eaten with a cold drink. At Yakitori you can choose the chicken pieces - from the thighs to the skin to the liver, so we recommend that you do not pinch and try all the skewers that come on the table.

10. KATSUDON

More like Kat-so-delicious. This is a bowl of rice with fried pork pieces and an egg omelette. In addition to being delicious, katsudon is purportedly supposed to bring luck to students, athletes and anyone in need: the first part of the word of the dish, katsu, sounds very similar to the Japanese word for "win" or. "be victorious ”. So eat something katsudon before your next exam. (If you don't get a good grade, at least you've had one delicious meal.)