The Japanese offer wonderful dishes of ancient traditions full of different flavors and textures. Although their food is much different than the typical American cuisine, it certainly provides a great insight into the culture of Japan. Not only is the making of the dish important, so are the eating habits surrounding Japanese food as well. Commonly, diners remove their shoes, sit on the floor gathered at a low-sitting table, and eat their meals with chopsticks. Within the context of a formal dinner, the way people are to be seated is known as seiza. This is the posture that attendees should uphold while sitting at a formal dinner. On a more casual occasion, the seating may be slightly more relaxed.
Sushi is by far the most popular Japanese dish. It is usually made with raw fish, rice, and seaweed. The most popular choices for sushi are tuna, mackerel, prawns (shrimp), and salmon. Other types of seafood can be used as well. Most sushi is accompanied by a sauce or dip such as wasabi, which is made with ginger, or soya sauce, a combination of soy sauce and spices. Sushi bars are becoming increasingly popular in the United States, and Japanese food is now considered a trendy gourmet treat. Of course, there are other dishes besides sushi in the world of Japanese cuisine. Rice is an integral ingredient in almost all of the dishes. Domburi is essentially a bowl of rice, topped with some other food such as tempura, chicken and egg, or beef. Kare raisu is curried rice that is very popular among the Japanese. Sukiyaki is a flavorful stew that combines vegetables (most commonly onion and mushroom), raw egg, and beef.
No matter what dish you choose to experiment with, Japanese food is a fun and adventurous way to try something new. Look for a local restaurant in your area and enjoy. Don’t forget to bring your chopsticks!