Japan should be at the top of your international travel bucket list if you appreciate experiencing cuisine, culture, and culinary traditions. Please refer to 7 interesting things about Japanese food culture in the following article to understand more about this country.
7 interesting things about Japanese food culture
Japanese cuisine is one of only three culturally significant national food traditions recognized by the United Nations.
The United Nations’ cultural body, UNESCO, has added Japanese food culture, to its list of Intangible Cultural Heritage, indicating that maintaining this method of eating is critical to the survival of traditional culture. After French cuisine, it was the only other national traditional cuisine to be recognized in this way.
Japanese food culture is meticulously made using seasonal ingredients and spices.
The preparation and presentation of Japanese food are just as important as the dish itself. Every dish offered has been carefully considered. While Americans only think of four seasons every year, Japanese chefs examine dozens of them and meticulously pick foods that are at their peak, along with tastes that symbolize each season. Because we went in the early spring (early March), every dish we tasted had bitter elements, which is a characteristic flavor for this time of year. Trying these tastes transports Japanese diners back in time.
When the meal is done, it is delicately plated, and the completed dish frequently resembles a piece of art.
Condiments give variety to a dish.
Simple condiments are frequently used to give contrast to the Japanese food culture and to improve the tastes. The course may contain light dipping sauces, citrus, miso, wasabi, pickles, and soy sauce.
Although Japanese food culture is rich in veggies, obtaining totally vegetarian fare is difficult.
Although Japanese cuisine includes a far larger proportion of plant-based meals than American cuisine, it is still difficult to eat entirely vegetarian. This is due to the fact that many traditional meals contain fish broth or are topped with bonito flakes. I’m a vegetarian, and while we did our best to find plant-based options within the traditional menus, there were a few moments when I had to scrape off the bonito flakes or ate foods that weren’t really vegetarian since they were cooked in fish broth. That was OK with me; I was prepared to go to such lengths to learn about traditional culinary culture. Travelers who avoid seafood due to religious or allergy concerns will find it more difficult to keep to their diet.
Beautifully designed and gift-wrapped sweets are a favorite among Japanese people.
Every area of Japan has its own distinct form of traditional Japanese sweets, known as wagashi. Because they are traditionally presented as presents, these exquisite crafts are frequently offered in elegantly wrapped boxes, convenience stores, and train stations. Kyoto’s yatsuhashi (pictured below), tiny, triangle-shaped sweet rice wrappers filled with red bean paste, was one of my favorite desserts.
Whatever you do, avoid eating the sweets on the sidewalk, while standing or strolling in public. It is deemed impolite to eat anything outside of restaurants and food-serving places!
There are several eating norms and etiquette in Japanese food culture.
In Japan, there are several norms for appropriate etiquette that apply to all aspects of life, including eating. Some of them I had heard before we arrived, such as while eating noodle soups, it is acceptable to slurp; but, when eating rice soup, you should not slurp. Sticking your chopsticks straight up in a bowl of rice is impolite, as is laying your chopsticks over the bowl you’re eating from (to a lesser extent). If you don’t have a chopstick stand, fold the paper chopstick wrapper into a tent shape and place the points of the chopsticks on it. In a future post, we’ll go over more Japanese politeness standards.
Garlic, chili peppers, and oil are used infrequently.
Many meals are lightly seasoned and grilled, boiled, or eaten raw. Miso, soy sauce, mushrooms, seaweed, bonito flakes, and bonito broth are just a few of the items used to boost umami (a rich taste profile found in Japanese cuisine). The batter used to fry items (such as tempura) is thin and absorbs relatively little oil.
Hopefully, after reading the above article, you will understand more about Japanese food culture. If you have the opportunity, come and experience them in this beautiful country.