These noodles are made of buckwheat flour. Recipes usuing soba vary
according to the season. Zarusoba, cold noodles with a side dish
of dipping sauce, is served in the summer for a refreshing lunch.
However, soba is usually served hot, with broth, green onions, and
plain soba with a dipping sauce
zarusoba with tenpura on the side
soba with fried bean curd and green onions in broth
soba with tenpura in broth
Udon noodles (made of wheat flour) are thicker than soba and generally
cooked to a fairly soft, almost mushy consistency. Like soba, they
are served in a bowl with broth. Often aburaage (fried bean curd)
is added along with green onions. A hot spice called shichimi (seven
spices) is served with the udon.
udon with vegetables, egg, and udon cooked in an earthenware pot.
udon with fried bean curd and green onions in broth.
udon with tenpura in broth.
udon with beef slices and vegetables in broth.
Ramen or Chukasoba
This is probably the most popular kind of noodles in Japan and is
often eaten in the wee hours of the morning because ramen shops
are some of the few still open. Ramen is noodles served with broth
to which chashu (roast pork) and green onions are usually added.
All three kinds of noodle dishes are very reasonable in price and
are especially popular for lunch or a quick meal.
The word donburi literally means "bowl" and donburi is
always served in a deep bowl. Being enexpensive and very satisfying,
it enjoys a tremendous popularity in Japan. Donburi is a bowl of
rice, flavored with broth, with sliced onions and tenpura, meat
or egg placed on top.
pork cutlet on rice
chicken and egg on rice
beef on rice
tenpura on rice
egg only on rice
Curry rice is one of the cheapest and most popular lunches in Japan,
especially among children, and quite filling. Various curry dishes
are served including the following:
dry curry (curry powder with rice - somewhat resembles pilaf)
This local favorite resembles a pie in some respects, but is actually
unique. A thin plate -sized pancake made of flour and water is first
fried on a grill. Soba, cabbage, bean sprouts, bits of tempura,
egg and pork, shrimp or squid are piled on top. After cooking, tiny
flakes of nori (seaweed) and a special thick sauce are spread over
the top. More than enough for one meal, okonomiyaki is especially
popular in Hiroshima where it is made in a special way unique to
the area. It is eaten directly from the grill with a small spatula.
The following foods are eaten for dinner, typically with alcohol.
Sushi is served in a wide variety of forms. It is made of rice flavored
with vinegar and sugar and generally served in bite-size pieces
which can be dipped in soy source and eaten with fingers or chop-sticks.
The three basic kinds are nigirizushi (a wasabi, a green horseradish-like
root, and raw fish), makizushi (rice and vegetables or other ingredients
rolled in nori) and hako zushi (rice and topping pressed into a
rectangle box). Inari-zushi is rice stuffed into pouches of fried
bean curd; chirashizushi (scattered sushi) is a combination of various
tidbits served on top of rice.
Many kinds of raw fish are served as sashimi. Slices of the fish
are usually dipped in a mixture of special soy source and wasabi.
One should exercise caution in ordering sashimi and sushi because
they can be expensive if ordered individually. The safest way is
to order assorted combinations (moriawase for sashimi or jonigiri
for sushi) because the prices are posted.
Shabu shabu is made with beef (which is sliced very thin) or seafood,
vegetables, tofu and noodles. A stock (water plus a bit of kelp)
is boiled in a pot and the meat or fish and vegetables are added
and cooked briefly. Two sauces, one with a sesame base (gomadare)
and the other, a mixture of soy sauce and citrus juice (ponzu) are
served as dips for the cooked food.
A large eathenware pot filled with stock is heated over a gas flame;
chicken, clams, green onions, mushrooms, fish and vegetables are
added. Everyone helps themselves, so do not hesitate to dig in.
The Hiroshima specialty of this kind is kaki no dotenabe (oysters
in a miso stock).
Vegetables, mushrooms, shrimp and various other seafood are dipped
in a batter made of flour and water, then deep-fried to make a delicous
meal. Tenpura is served piping hot with a sauce of tntsuyu made
of dashi (fish stock) flavored with mirin (sweet sake) and soy sauce
with grated daikon (radish) and a bit of ginger added. It can also
be eaten with salt and lemon as flavoring.
Yakitori is another popular "late night" meal. Although
the word yakitori actually refers to chicken "shish kabob",
many different vegetables and meats are served including various
cuts of pork and beef (some not often consumed in the Western world).
Small skewered tidbits of meat and vegetables are grilled over charcoal
to a point of juicy mouthwatering doneness, dipped into a special
soy based sauce and served immediately.
Kaiseki-ryori is a style of dinner rich in etiquestte and simple
refinement. Each portion of the meal is small but by the end of
the dinner you will have partaken of a variety of foods specially
selected according to the season and prepared and served according
to the forms and practices underlying the formal tea celemony. The
dinner usually consists of a soup and three or more dishes served
in the finest of laquerware and earthenware. Another more recent
kaiseki-ryori, which evolved from the more formal dinner, emphasizes
lively conversation, drinking and relaxation.