Japanese Food impressions

When talking about Japanese food most people immediately draw up sushi and sometimes ramen (a soup with a special noodle) in their mind, yet this would be very limiting to a quite rich kitchen as the one found in Japan. to be honest items repeat themselves in variations and the kitchen doesn’t have the abundance as Thai or Vietnamese or even the variety and subtelty of Italian or French. It is a kitchen born from humble beginnings for people who had little and where burning fuel always was scarce. Therefore many things are marinated, pickled, eaten raw, etc. The general rule is: if it is good enough – eat it raw…

So now you will find some impressions which give you a bit of the diversity of the kitchen as it is.

Let’s start with common things – sushi and sashimi. Sashimi is raw fresh fish / molluscs / urchin / etc. (so anything which crawls or kreeps around) – this could be meat as well (no, don’t look disgusted – you eat raw ham, carpaccio, etc. as well ;-))… If the sashimi is put on some rice this is mostly the classical sushi as we know it (nigiri sushi). Interestingly this was an outcome of the American occupation of Japan as then rice was limited and the quota was defined in these portions which led to the creation of this special kind of sushi. Other forms would be a bowl of rice with sashimi on top (delicious) or as maki rolls, etc.

Sometimes – and here the nice part really ends – Japanese take their freshness too far and have „sushi on the bone“ where the fish is filetted while still being alive. Not nice, very disgusting and something we should have overcome a long time ago.

When you take the top notch option you will end with Kaiseki in Japan which perhaps could be compared with a set menu consiting of several courses (cold and warm). This is the emperial kitchen of Kyoto originally and the absolute best what Japan has to offer. Usually very delicate and always with superior ingredients.

On the other end of the spectrum are all the noodle places which serve (usually until late) soup with soba (buckwheat), ramen (wheat) or other type of vermicelly. This could take the form of a set menu as well. As Japanese love to play around with their food these places where you can do something yourself (in this case octopus fish cake barbeque) are very popular, too.

Paying tribute to this „cook your own food“ attire quite many places offer to grill your own dish at the table which is great fun. You usually order the side dishes and meat and then off you go…

Japanese love their meat on the marble / fat side, so don’t be irritated there… Ah, and yes – for our real hardcore meaties… – there are intestines (heart, liver, stomach, sweatmeat, etc.) as well 🙂

Talking about vegetables  – forget it. Japan is no country for those who are on a healthy trip. It’s meat, carbohydrates, sugar and vitamines come in the form of tables, drinks or any other artifical form. Pure vegetables are hard to come by and the most we ever got this time was that platter:


There is the option to have a salad from time to time, yet still… If you are vegetarian – unlucky you…

Just as a small finalization from one of the nicer restaurants…

They have lovely seafood in more conventional forms as well…


Carnivores have a field day…


Our favourite: Raw meat, slightly grilled on the outside, topped with raw sea urchin – pure bliss!


Tofu – this time the silk version. Very nice!


And finally – the drinks… Well, Japan has everything. You can get very moderatly (due to the low yen) priced sparkling wine and wine or absolutely stunning (locally made) craft beer – including IPA, stout, pale ale, etc.

So, go and explore!


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