5 Delicacies from the Land of the Rising Sun
Of course, you could go all the way to Japan just to try the sushi. After all, it’s nothing short of delicious. But on the other hand it’d be a bit like tucking into a traditional rib steak at a high-end French brasserie – a pale reflection of the rich, varied and unique gastronomy on offer. So we’ve picked out 5 Japanese specialities you just have to try out…
If you’re heading to Osaka, this is one speciality you simply can’t ignore. In an unlikely-sounding but mouth-watering pairing, takoyaki (literally ‘grilled octopus’) combines waffles with fish dumplings. Pancake batter, octopus, a sprinkling of condiments and dashi (fish stock) are all served grilled in small round moulds. A culinary highpoint to be savoured as you stroll the city streets.
Like so many Japanese dishes, okonomiyaki is a treat not just for the taste buds but also for the eyes. It’s a colourful dish whose preparation is a delight to behold – in fact it’s a sort of omelette made with eggs, cabbage, noodles, seafood or meat (or both) – grilled by the chef right at your table and served piping hot from the pan. Try this energising delicacy in Hiroshima, the city where the recipe was born!
3. Sara udon
For a long time, Nagasaki was the only Japanese city open to the wider world. Of the many foreign specialities which have influenced the local cuisine down the centuries, one stands out: sara udon – wheat noodles sautéed in bacon with vegetables and seafood. Savour it in style in the port of Dejima, as you imagine the thousands of merchants who sailed into these waters centuries ago.
Not to be confused with its close relative shabu-shabu, sukiyaki is a broth fondue whose ingredients include meat, vegetables, mushrooms, and eggs. A filling dish that’s eaten throughout Japan, especially in the Kyoto region, Sukiyaki is perfect for an enjoyable meal with friends.
5. Katsuo tataki
There’s a centuries-old delicacy in the Kagoshima region which the great Western chefs have adopted in more recent times. Katsuo tataki is the epitome of Japanese gastronomy: simple in appearance, this seared tuna fillet is a combination of the best products and meticulous preparation, and nothing less than a taste sensation. This dish alone is worth a trip to Nippon!