Brief introduction of Japanese food
Japanese food has been a long time for a famous cuisine in the world. Why is that? What’s special compared with other cuisines? It brings healthy meals with an excellent nutritional balance for the Japanese people who have long-life expectancies in the world. This also supports the strength connecting among homes and local communities by sharing food that is a blessing of nature. After an extended period, the cuisine’s value was recognized to the world as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage, which is a victory for Japanese culture. Especially, sushi became international food, and it’s been changing in different food cultures. Honestly, some of the sushi introduced outside of Japan are not very authentic for Japanese people, but it carries some new perspectives simultaneously. Overall Japanese food is now attracting all over the world.
Still, unfortunately, Japanese home meals are diminishing, and the current situation is that Japanese food culture is not entirely inherited. Japan’s food self-sufficiency rate is now below 40%, so the local people rely on production outside of the country. It’s a pity because it is Japanese food without the local ingredients. Besides, people are no longer eating meals at home than before, and local dishes and event dishes are disappearing.
Geographically Japan is located at the east end of Asia. It’s long from north to south, surrounded by the sea, and mountains occupy 75% of the country. From Hokkaido to Okinawa, the distance between these two places is around 2000km. Different food customs have emerged in each area. There are four clear seasons due to the monsoon climate, so against the background of such an environment, it brings various ingredients for making the cuisine more attractive. Japanese people respect the nature that cultivates such blessings and lives together. While the belief in the unique religions and culture, the particular food culture has thrived.
It’s believed that Japanese food culture has lots of influences from neighboring countries such as China, Korea, and Southeast Asia. After the Meiji Restoration, the local people tried to accept Western food and take their ideas into the local cuisine. As a result, delicious and healthy “Japanese food” that should be proud of in the world has developed.
The basic Japanese food menu is considered “Ichiju Sansai,” meaning of one soup with three dishes. It’s not like a single plate meal with the same flavor, but it makes each dish more delicious but straightforward. The vital point of Japanese food is Dashi. Sometimes it is taken from seaweed or dried bonito, depending on the meals. There is also a cooking method in which the ingredients are boiled and extracted. Japanese people think that Umami has a very tied relationship with Dashi.
The main ingredients for Japanese food are grains, mainly rice, vegetables, mushrooms, fish, shellfish, seaweed, and meat. Japanese people prefer eating beef, chicken, and pork. Lamb meat is consumed in some areas, but the amount of consumption with lamb meat is lesser than the other three kinds. The range of vegetables from ancient varieties to western that have entered the Meiji era and abundant fish. There are about 4,200 species of fish that live in the waters near Japan. The cuisine starts with choosing ingredients and cooks while considering nutrition.