As soon as we hear Japanese cuisine, all that comes to our mind is Sushi – and for a good reason. It is a traditional Japanese dish of fish, often raw, seasoned with vinegar mix, and served with rice, vegetables, and seaweed. Despite it being characterized as seafood, it is labeled by different names with different ingredients; “sushi rice” however, being the key ingredient. A delicious blend of sugar and salt, it is now a staple in western culture.

There’s a lot more to the piquant flavor of Japanese cuisine than just Sushi. Japan supports a “rule of five” in creating gastronomical delights – five colors, cooking techniques, and flavors. If Japanese food makes your taste buds dance with a perfect balance of salty, sweet, sour, and umami – you would love to try out the following dishes.


1.   Shojin Ryori

The Buddhist example of the rule of five, it is presented so gorgeously you would not want to spoil the view. It is a power-packed flavorful snack of pickled, fried, and grilled dishes with steaming rice and tea, along with hot soup and tofu. For a complete and exquisite dinner, Shojin Ryori is a must-eat.


2.   Tempura

Tempura is a heavenly blend of fish, meat, and vegetable pieces dipped in a special Tempura batter and deep-fried until they turn crunchy and gold. Tempura can serve for either a light snack paired with radish, spices, and tentsuyu sauce, or with a bowl of rice and noodles. Divine to eat, it is one of the highlights of magical Japanese cuisine.


3.   Yakitori

Devour the glorious Yakitori with a glass of wine to reinvigorate the energy lost in the entire day. It is a delightful meal of grilled chicken skewered and dipped in a teriyaki salt or sauce. The grilled meat can be any or all parts of the chicken, pork, beef, or fish mixed with cooked vegetables.


4.   Okonomiyaki

Literally means “grilled how you like” in English, Okonomiyaki is a mixed pancake of meat, eggs, flour, and vegetables – add cabbage to that list, or any other whacky ingredient you want to try it out with. Some restaurants allow you to self-cook, and so you can add bacon, shrimps, and other ingredients to make this wholesome dish even more divine. Pair it up with an appropriate sauce, smoked and fermented tuna, and katsuobushi – the bonito flakes. History has it that Okonomiyaki can cure the gravest hangovers.


5.   Hida Beef

It is one of the classiest and purest forms of Japanese food – cooked and grilled so tender that it will actually melt in the mouth. Hida Beef is famous for its juiciness that does not escape as it is cooked, unlike other meats. There is a coating of fat layer that prevents flavors or the fleshiness to dry up, which makes it the finest meat cut you’ll ever experience.


Book one of these pure delights and more at Umami Square to treat yourself to classic flavors you could only meet at Japanese restaurants!


May 24, 2023 — Dragon Yamamoto