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Types of Japanese Cuisine

Most Japanese restaurants in Japan specialize in one particular type of food


(O) Bento 
Bento are box lunches. They can be fast, easy and inexpensive, and found at every train station. You may also see beautiful bento boxes at fine restaurants, with a variety of Japanese foods. 

This is possibly the most exotic and dangerous food known to the world. If not properly prepared, it can cause death. Fugu chefs in Japan are licensed and highly trained to prevent accidents. 

Gohan (Rice) 
The staple of Japanese cuisine, rice is generally eaten with every meal. It is prepared in a manner that makes it sticky enough to be easily maneuvered with chopsticks.

This expensive cuisine appeals to highly aesthetic gourmet. Meals are modeled on the four seasons, and the consumer is treated to many small dishes, each involving much time and skill.

A rice casserole dish with meats and vegetables.

This style generally consists of deep-frying meats and seasonal vegetables on long skewers. Generally, the restaurant has a fixed price menu.

Men (Noodles) 
You can buy noodles on just about every street corner in Tokyo. Shops serve a variety, including soba (buckwheat noodles served hot or cold), udon (fat, white noodles), yakisoba (fried noodles), or somen (cold summer noodles). Noodle shops are great for quick meals and are generally inexpensive.

Consists of a stew served in a pot.  Most famous types of Nabe is Sukiyaki and Shabu Shabu.

An oden restaurant serves a variety of items that have been simmered in broth. Oden is inexpensive and can be found around Japan in restaurants and outdoor stands.

Originating in the Kansai region, it is often called Japanese pizza. It is more like a large pancake filled with vegetables, seafood or meat. "Okonomi" in Japanese means "choice or preference" and many restaurants permit the consumer to prepare their okonomiyaki directly at the tables.

Ramen is now considered a Japanese national food (kokuminshoku). While there are many types of ramen, it always consists of noodles, stock and flavorings

A traditional style of cooking that involves preparing meats and vegetables over a grill. All the usual suspects are prepared in robatayaki restaurants, and many include lesser-known specialties such as nikujaga (meat and potato stew).

This type of meal is prepared at your table. Thin slices of beef are prepared quickly in broths containing vegetables. The name comes from the swishing sound the meat makes in the broth..

Similar to shabu-shabu, except the broth is made of soy sauce and sake. Traditionally, diners take what they want front the pot, and dip the food in a beaten, raw egg before consuming (this step can be skipped, if you desire).

Sushi & Sashimi
Sushi and sashimi are the most well known of Japanese foods. Sashimi is just the seafood while sushi can have a variety of other ingredients, along with rice. After dipping the selection in a mix of soy sauce and wasabi, the entire piece is consumed in one bite. 

The literal meaning is "octopus cooked over direct heat". More commonly known as "octopus balls", this delightful dish is cooked in a cast iron "nabe" - a special molded pan. Made with a flour batter, it is most often filled with diced octopus, "tenkatsu" (tempura scrapes, green onions, ginger and topped with a special mayonnaise sauce. Creative versions, particularly found in the U.S. can include a wide selection of items and topped with a variety of sauces.

Tempura consists of foods that have been deep fried after being dipped in a batter. The result is light, delicate and incredibly hot. In formal tempura restaurants, one often sits at the counter where the chef presents each delicacy one at a time.

Essentially, a teppanyaki restaurant is a Japanese steak house where people sit around a grill and the chef prepares the meal.  Benihana is a good example. 

A traditional style meal consisting of a pork cutlet coated in batter and deep-fried. 

Unagi is eel, and can be had as sushi or broiled. Unagi is considered by many Japanese to be health food.

Chicken grilled on skewers. Red paper lanterns outside a identify yakitori-ya.


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