If you’re familiar with Japanese food, you’ve most likely seen or tasted traditional dishes like sushi and ramen. Washoku, on the other hand, is a Japanese cuisine that many people are unfamiliar with but is essential to Japanese culture. You may have seen photographs or videos of it on the internet, but you are unaware of its significance and history. Fortunately for you, we’ve written this article to introduce you to the world of traditional Japanese food, or Washoku as it’s known among the Japanese.
What is Washoku culture?
The simplest way to understand it is that this is a typical culinary culture, a traditional custom related to Japanese eating: the principle of respecting nature. Includes dishes with seasonal ingredients. Washoku is prepared during traditional events, especially around the time of the Japanese New Year.
Humanity’s Intangible Cultural Heritage (UNESCO)
UNESCO voted to register Washoku as an intangible cultural heritage of mankind on December 4, 2013, at the eighth annual session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Washoku’s history and everyday presence in Japanese families made it clear that it should be included in UNESCO’s cultural preservation efforts. It was also believed that receiving this accolade would inspire Japanese people to keep their traditional eating habits and pass them on to future generations.
The Four Seasons of Washoku Traditional Japanese Cuisine
The four seasons, summer, autumn, winter, and spring, are an essential and distinguishing feature of Washoku. Anyone familiar with agriculture is aware that each season has its own set of foods. Mandarins, for example, are best in the winter and pickled cucumbers are best in the summer in Japan. The beauty of Washoku is that it considers the best foods available dependent on the season and adjusts the meal accordingly. As a result, each season brings a new range of foods, all of which are fresh and delicious.
Classification of Washoku Traditional Japanese Cuisine
Despite the fact that Washoku refers to all Japanese food, there are several sorts of Washoku that can be distinguished by the type of “ryori” or cuisine. Each one has its own particular style and location, as they may be found in a variety of situations and have its own history.
Shojin Ryori is a type of Japanese martial art.
Since Buddhism began to expand throughout Japan in the 13th century, Zen Buddhism popularised this particular style of Washoku. It’s unique since it’s vegetarian or vegan, depending on the restaurant, and it was created for monks who couldn’t eat meat.
Honzen Ryori is a Japanese martial art.
Unlike the other types of Washoku, Honzen Ryori is offered to the eater on a separate tiny table for one, whereas the others are served on individual trays. Honzen Ryori was created to assist the warrior class in the 14th–16th centuries. As a result, it is quite formal and steeped in history, but it has sadly declined in popularity in the twentieth century, with only a few restaurants currently offering it in Japan.
A dish is called Kaiseki Ryori.
Despite the fact that the pronunciation of Kaiseki Ryori is the same, there are two distinct types of the dish. As an example, there’s Kaiseki Ryori, which is literally translated as “meeting seat,” and refers to a tray of foods and rice customarily presented during a gathering or ceremonial dinner. As a prelude to a tea ceremony, the second type of Kaiseki Ryori is described as having just simple, minimal dishes or cha-kai-seki, which translates as “tea ceremony” in the Chinese language, is another name for it. Because tea ceremonies can last for a long time, the host provides this meal to ensure that the guests aren’t hungry.
Dishes Associated with Traditional Japanese Cooking and Washoku
These are some of the most well-known foods in Washoku.
This dish is made up of a variety of seasonal deep-fried items. In addition, you may come across a variety of tempura in different regions. While in the eastern Kanto region vegetables and seafood are common, in the western Kansai region vegetables can be dipped in salt rather than soy sauce are more commonly used in tempura preparations.
Almost any Washoku can be accompanied by this side dish. Tsukemono, or pickled vegetables, come in a variety of varieties. Tsukemono is often preserved with vinegar, but other preservatives are frequently employed. Popular and well-known is the salt-preserved variety, while others employ sugar, vinegar or even soy sauce in their preservation methods. Cucumber, radish, and cabbage are the most prefered vegetables for tsukemono because of their crunchy bite.
Yakizakana is a grilled fish dish. It is a traditional Japanese cuisine that can be found anywhere from home-cooked meals to fine dining establishments. For example, it can be named “aji no shioyaki” (“aji” is a horse mackerel, and “shioyaki” means salt-broiling) or “buri no teriyaki” (“buri” means rice) (“buri” is a yellowtail and “teriyaki” means to grill with soy sauce and sugar).
ds. It’s also known as cha-kai-seki, which refers to the tea ceremony using the Chinese character for tea. Because tea ceremonies can take a long time, the host provides this meal to ensure that the guests are not hungry throughout the ceremony.
It’s hoped that this article has given you a better understanding of and Japanese food! Like we’ve seen, Washoku isn’t just about serving up tasty food; it’s about providing a nutritious menu that changes seasonally. Isn’t this just an example of Japanese cuisine and culture’s emphasis on harmony? Check out how one dish complements the others when dining out in Japan, and you might be surprised by just how much effort the cooks put into their meals!