Japan, the land of diligence, anime and amazing food! If you think it is just sushi, oh boy! You are in for a surprise. The history of Japan is as rich as our own country and as the course of time passed, their cuisines took a different life of their own. So let us take a ride together, to the Land of the Rising Sun! From delicious non-vegetarian to lip-smacking desserts, here are 10 Japanese foods you must try other than sushi, at least once in your life.
Unagi is a part of Japan’s culture as it has been consumed for a long time. This delicacy is preferably sliced, grilled, and served on a bed of rice as “unagidon” with rice in a round bowl, or “unagi no kabayaki,” which is just the grilled eel on a plate. Another dish is called “unaju,” which is a layer of rice in a lacquered box topped with eel. You can try some of these delicacies in Mumbai.
Several people who have tasted Unagi compares it to the taste of chicken. The reason? Because of its dense consistency. Eel is an excellent choice during summer as it is said to fend off exhaustion from heat, so its prime time is during summer. Several Unagi speciality restaurants serve it year-round, however, and because it is grilled, it’s an excellent choice for seafood beginners. But the only downside is that it is fairly expensive. So if a little more of greens don’t hurt your pockets, it is the delicacy to try!
Another Japanese seafood delicacy that is as tasty as it is versatile, Maguro’s meat is classified in different types:
Akami (lean meat from the sides), Toro (fatty belly), chu-toro (fatty side), O-toro (fattiest underside). Did you know that Maguro is one of Japan’s most popular sushi toppings and can fetch a high price on the fish markets? This is an absolute must-try when in Japan and suitable for pretty much everyone, so head over to the nearest sushi restaurant!
Those of us who are anime fans will see this dish and be reminded of all those famous animes where the characters enjoy onigiri. It is considered as common as apples in Japanese schools. It is a soft rice ball that can be coated in seasoning, filled with sweet pickled plums (umeboshi), salty pork, or eaten plain with seaweed wrapped around to avoid the sticky rice. As you can see, it looks extremely cute and appetizing and when it comes to customisation, the possibilities are endless!
Pufferfish can be all cute from the outside but is dangerous on the inside because of their poison. But that did not stop the Japanese to relish its taste. This delicacy has a very mild taste and is generally served raw. Please eat pufferfish or Fugu at a certified restaurant, as it’s poison can shut down your nervous system. During winters is usually the fugu or pufferfish season so if you have ‘dum’ in your jigra, do give it a try! Bollywood actress Taapsee Pannu is also a huge fan of Japanese food.
5. Sakura Mochi
This pink delight is actually made of pink-coloured mochi and filled with Anko paste. Yes, no artificial colours are added! The sweet rice ball is wrapped with a pickled cherry blossom or sakura, leaf. Also, did you know that this is a popular dish that is consumed in the spring and especially popular on Girl’s Day? So ladies, dig right in!
This fancy dish actually means “grilled as you like” and it is a savoury “pancake” typically made with a batter of flour, grated nagaimo (a type of yam), water, eggs, and shredded cabbage. Let us fill you in about the preparation process. Here the batter is fried, then pork belly is added. It’s topped with mayonnaise, dried bonito (fish) flakes, green onions, and a delicious sauce. We know your mouth is watering and so is ours and believe us there are some amazing variations too, which you should definitely give a try!
I know what Bangaloreans are thinking! No, it is not the macha we use, but a more delightful and tasty substitute. This is actually green tea in powder form which creates a sweet and creamy drink when frothed with milk. Served both hot and cold, you’ll find matcha everywhere – even in Starbucks. Actually, several global coffee outlets serve matcha around most of Asia and even the US. In Japan, matcha is so popular it’s used to flavour ice cream, chocolate and sweets – but more on that later.
If you think fried chicken is the shiz then think again. Japan’s fried food tempura is a light and crispy batter that can include almost anything- from shrimp to veggies! Also, this is unlike the American deep-fried counterparts and you should really not miss it.
A Japanese parfait, created from agar-agar jelly, this dish is first melted in water or fruit juice to create the gelatin. Then it is served in the bowl with anko, peas, and a variety of fruits such as peaches, pineapples, cherries, and satsuma orange. In the bowl, you will be served with multiple options from Mochi, ice cream to non-traditional fruits like strawberries.
This cute dish looks familiar, right? That is because it has an emoji too! Dango is a wagashi that is made from mochiko, a rice flour similar to mochi. Three or four of these balls are placed on a skewer. This dish is eaten all the year-round, with different varieties eaten in each season. One popular variety is the mitarashi dango, which is covered in a sweet, sticky syrup.
Well foodies, so this is our list of delicacies that you must try apart from sushi! So, the next time you visit a Japanese restaurant or plan a trip to Japan, make sure you try these delicious delicacies. To give you that extra push, here are 5 reasons why you must visit Japan.