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Discover all our articles about Japanese ingredients, cooking techniques, portraits and much more!

And to find out more, explore the iRASSHAi glossary

Find all the terms related to Japanese cuisine!

FAQ

Japanese cuisine is renowned for its variety, freshness and balance. Here are some of the most popular typical Japanese dishes:


Sushi: Sushi is one of the most famous Japanese dishes. It consists of vinegared rice topped with raw or cooked fish, seafood, vegetables or eggs. It is often served with soy sauce, wasabi and pickled ginger. Not to be confused with maki, which is rolled in nori seaweed.

Sashimi: Sashimi is another raw fish preparation, but unlike sushi, it doesn't usually contain rice. Thin slices of raw fish are served with sauces and garnishes.

Tempura: Tempura is a dish of seafood, vegetables or meat fried in a light batter of flour and ice water. It is crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.

Ramen: Ramen are noodles served in a hot broth, usually with pork, chicken or seafood. Toppings vary, but often include soft-boiled eggs, vegetables and grilled pork.

Udon: Udon are thick, chewy noodles served in a hot broth. They can be garnished with a variety of toppings, including tempura, eggs and green onions.

Yakitori: Yakitoris are skewers of grilled chicken, but they can also be prepared with other types of meat, seafood or vegetables. They are often seasoned with a sweet and savory tare sauce.

Okonomiyaki: Okonomiyaki is a type of Japanese pancake made with shredded cabbage, meat or shrimp, batter and various fillings. It is usually cooked on a hot plate at the table and served with okonomiyaki sauce and mayonnaise.

Nigiri: Nigiri is a form of sushi consisting of a small ball of vinegared rice topped with a slice of fish or seafood. It is often served in pairs.

Tonkatsu: Tonkatsu is a breaded and fried pork dish, served with a special sauce and usually accompanied by rice and grated cabbage.

Donburi: Donburi are bowls of rice with various fillings such as raw fish (as in chirashi don), beef (as in gyudon), or eggs (as in oyakodon).

Gyoza: Gyoza are Japanese dumplings, often stuffed with minced meat, vegetables and spices, then steamed and lightly grilled.

Miso Shiru: Miso soup is made from miso broth, tofu and seaweed. It can, of course, be garnished to taste, and in Japan, recipes vary from region to region! It is served as an accompaniment to many Japanese meals.

Bento: Bentos are Japanese meal boxes containing a variety of foods such as rice, fish, vegetables, meats and side dishes, presented in an aesthetically pleasing way.


These dishes represent just a sample of the rich and diverse Japanese cuisine. Japanese cuisine emphasizes fresh ingredients, careful presentation and a balance of flavors. Each region of Japan also has its own unique culinary specialties. We invite you to discover all our recipes to discover this gastronomy, even at home! We also have a whole collection of Japanese cookery books at your disposal.

Japanese cuisine offers a variety of unique desserts, often characterized by their simplicity and elegance.

Here are some of the most popular typical Japanese desserts:


Mochi: Mochi are sweets made from glutinous rice. They are usually served as small round or square cakes. Mochi are available in a wide variety of flavors, including strawberry, matcha (green tea), sesame and anko (sweet bean paste).


Dorayaki: Dorayaki are small cakes consisting of two fluffy pancakes filled with anko (sweet red bean paste). They are often associated with the popular cartoon character Doraemon.


Taiyaki: Taiyaki are fish-shaped pastries, usually filled with anko or other sweet filling. They are pan-fried, giving them a crisp texture on the outside and a chewy interior.


Anmitsu: Anmitsu is a dessert consisting of agar-agar jelly cubes (kanten) served with anko, fruit (often citrus), and sweet syrup called mitsumame.


Yakimochi: Yakimochi are grilled mochi, usually brushed with sweet soy sauce or kinako.


Kakigori: Kakigori is a Japanese form of crushed ice, usually served with flavored syrups such as matcha, strawberry or melon. It's particularly popular in summer as a refreshing drink.


Kurimanju: Kurimanjus are small cakes filled with anko and steamed. They are often shaped to resemble chestnuts.


Castella or Sponge cake: Castella is a soft sponge cake of Portuguese origin that has been adopted in Japan. It is soft, slightly sweet and has a unique texture.


Dango: Dangos are glutinous rice dumplings served on skewers. They are sometimes grilled and drizzled with sweet soy sauce or kinako.


Warabimochi: Warabimochi is a fern-starch gum with a gelatinous texture and a coating of kinako or sugar.

Yuzu and other Japanese citrus fruits: Japanese citrus fruits, such as yuzu, mikan and sudachi, are often used to flavor desserts or to make jellies and sorbets.

These Japanese desserts offer a variety of flavors, textures and presentations, and are often appreciated for their subtlety and delicacy. Some are associated with specific festivals and seasons in Japan, making them unique cultural experiences for visitors and fans of Japanese cuisine alike. To make Japanese-style desserts at home, discover our selection of sugar, flour and preparation aids!

Japanese cuisine uses a variety of unique products that are essential for preparing authentic dishes. Here's a list of staples often used in Japanese cuisine to apply to your favorite recipes:

Japanese rice (Uruchimai): Japanese rice is the basic ingredient of Japanese cuisine. It is used to prepare sushi, sashimi, onigiri and many other dishes.

Noodles: Various types of noodles are used in Japanese cuisine, including udon noodles, soba noodles (buckwheat-based), and ramen noodles.

Nori: Nori seaweed leaves are used to wrap sushi and onigiri. They are also grilled and crumbled to garnish dishes.

Tofu: Tofu is an important source of vegetable protein in Japanese cuisine. It is used in many dishes, including miso shiru (miso soup) and agedashi tofu (fried tofu).

Miso: Miso is a fermented paste made from soy and salt, used to prepare miso soup, sauces, marinades and braised recipes. We love it as a salad dressing, too!

Wakame seaweed: Wakame seaweed is commonly used to prepare seaweed salads and is also added to soups.

Soy sauce (Shoyu): Used to season and enhance the taste of many Japanese recipes. It comes in several varieties: light, dark, more or less fermented, etc.

Mirin: Mirin is a sweet rice wine used to sweeten sauces and marinades. It adds a sweet, slightly alcoholic flavor.

Rice vinegar: Rice vinegar is used to season sushi rice, to prepare marinades and to add acidity to certain dishes.

Wasabi : Wasabi is a spicy green paste, similar to horseradish, often served with sushi and sashimi.

Pickled ginger (Gari): Pickled ginger is often served with sushi to cleanse the palate between bites.

Sesame: Sesame seeds are used to add flavor and crunch to many Japanese dishes. Toasted sesame (goma) is commonly used.

Sweet bean paste (Anko): Anko is a sweet paste made from kidney or azuki beans. It is used in many Japanese desserts.

Rice alcohol (Sake): Sake is used in Japanese cuisine, notably in the preparation of dishes such as teriyaki salmon.

Roasted soy powder (Kinako): Kinako is used to sprinkle certain desserts and drinks, adding a slightly sweet soy flavor.

Dashi: It can be sold ready-to-use, or you can make your own from bonito, kombu and shiitake flakes. It's one of the great pillars of Japanese cuisine, bringing that unique umami dimension to a recipe!

These ingredients form the basis of Japanese cuisine, but there are many other varieties of ingredients and products specific to certain regions that add a wealth of flavors and textures to Japanese cuisine. You can use them just as well for a traditional recipe, but you can also use them for fusion cooking, as chefs are increasingly doing. Whether you want to add an Asian dimension to your starters, or add umami to your recipe, Japanese products are ideal. For more vocabulary on Japanese gastronomy, we invite you to consult our online glossary!

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