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Food in Japan - Japanese Food, Japanese Cuisine - traditional, popular, dishes, diet, history, common, meals, rice, famous

  • Japan is an archipelago (chain of islands) made up of about 3,000 islands.

    About twothirds of the land is too mountainous for development, so almost all the people live in cities, most of which were built on the country's flat land (plains area).
    Many operational models have been developed to describe these influences that including The Lifestyle Model of dietary habits (Pelto, 1981), which attempts to explain how these factors interact to result in specific food behaviors.

    The country sometimes experiences natural disasters, such as typhoons (huge storms originating over the ocean) and earthquakes.

    Some mountainous areas have been terraced (had step-like areas cut into them) to allow farmers to grow rice and other crops.

    The climate is good for farming, with rice being the chief crop.
    As such, the Japanese have become very limited to their selection of dishes. The geography has been considered to be one of lush valleys, misty mountains and open sea. It is for this reason that authentic Japanese food would always be comprised of fish, rice and vegetables. As such each of these dishes represent a little bit of the entire geography of Japan (Ashkenazi and Jacob 2-4; Allison 197), with each bite allowing you to commune with the treasures the land of the country has to offer. Another thing that is noticeable with Japanese food, particularly with the various sushi dishes is it being extremely colorful.

    About half of Japan's arable land (land able to be farmed) is devoted to growing rice. From the 1970s to the 1990s, the production of Japan's livestock farmers doubled.

    Japan accounts for about 8 percent of all the fish caught in the world.

    Japanese people consume large amounts of fish.
    A perfect example of this is seen in the humble bite-sized California rolls. The rosy colored prawn represents summer. The cucumber, seaweed and wasabi paste represent spring. Steamed rice represents the season of winter and the flying fish roe used for garnish is for autumn. The representation of Japanese food does not end with just merely representing a little bit about the country’s seasons, landscape or the kinds of produce available to the Japanese people. It is a representation of the religion and the way of life practiced by the Japanese based on their beliefs of Shinto and Buddhism.

    Each person in Japan eats more than 150 pounds of fish per year, or around three pounds of fish per week.

    2 HISTORY AND FOOD

    Japanese cuisine has been influenced by the food customs of other nations, but has adopted and refined them to create its own unique cooking style and eating habits.

    The first foreign influence on Japan was China around 300 B.C. , when the Japanese learned to cultivate rice. The use of chopsticks and the consumption of soy sauce and soybean curd (tofu) also came from China.

    In generally at sushi restaurants, costumers will sit at the counter and call out their order item to a sushi chef. Or sit at Conyever belt where the customers can grab small plates in front of you, or call a special order if you do not see what you want on the belt. Or customers can sit on tatami mats. And as like Chinese, Japanese also ate with chopsticks to transfer the food. The rice bowl is not held as closely to the mouth. Soups are consumed directly from the bowl and the only dish eaten with a spoon is an unsweetened egg custard which known as chawanmushi.

    The Buddhist religion, one of the two major religions in Japan today (the other is

    Shintoism)
    , was another important influence on the Japanese diet. In the A.D. 700s, the rise of Buddhism led to a ban on eating meat. The popular dish, sushi (raw fish with rice) came about as a result of this ban.
    Malaysia has a combined population of over 18 million people. Because of its central location, between the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea. Malaysia has traditionally been a meeting point for traders and travelers from both the East and West, it also has produced a most diverse culinary melting pot. As a result, Malaysia has a multicultural and multiracial population consisting of three main group which are Malays, Chinese, Indians and numerous indigenous peoples. With such a varying ethnic composition, it is no surprise that a great diversity of religions is prevalent throughout Malaysia.

    In the 1800s, cooking styles became simpler. A wide variety of vegetarian (meatless) foods were served in small portions, using one of five standard cooking techniques. All foods were divided into five color groups (green, red, yellow, white, and black-purple) and six tastes (bitter, sour, sweet, hot, salty, and delicate).
    While the colors contribute to the overall presentation of the dish, the colors of the various elements of the dish have been placed there for a purpose. To Japanese culture, apart from representing the geography of their country, Japanese also represent the various seasons experienced in the country. Each of the seasons is represented by a particular color. Summer is represented by red colored food. Autumn is represented by the colors yellow or orange. Winter is represented by the color white while spring is represented by the color green (Ashkenazi and Jacob 21; Graham 83).

    The Japanese continue to use this cooking system.

    Beginning in the early 1200s, trade with other countries began bringing Western-style influences to Japan. The Dutch introduced corn, potatoes, and sweet potatoes.

    The rice-centered food culture of Japan evolution follows the introduction of wet rice cultivation from Asia more than 2000 years ago. The cultivation and consumption of rice has always played a central role in Japanese food culture. The tradition of Japanese is usually rice served with seasonal vegetables; fish and other marine products reached a highly sophisticated form in the Edo period (1600-1868) and remains the vibrant core of native Japanese cuisine. In the century and a half since Japan reopened to the West, Japan has developed an incredibly rich and varied food culture which includes not only native Japanese cuisine but also many foreign dishes. Some adapted to Japanese tastes and some imported more or less unchanged.

    The Portuguese introduced tempura (batter frying).

    After a ban of more than one thousand years, beef returned to Japan during the Meiji Period (1868-1912). Western foods, such as bread, coffee, and ice cream, become popular during the late twentieth century.

    In the mid 19th century, many of new cooking and eating customs were introduced where the most important being eating the meat. Consider of Japanese dish, Sukiyaki that consist of beef, vegetables, tofu and other ingredients cook at the table in a soup stock of soy sauce, sweet sake and sugar was first served in Western style restaurants. Another dish that popular during this period is Tonkatsu, means a deep fried bread pork cutlets.

    Another Western influence has been the introduction of timesaving cooking methods. These include the electric rice cooker, packaged foods such as instant noodles, instant miso (fermented soybean paste) soup, and instant pickling mixes.
    With mixed origins, there are certain ingredients common to many dishes in Malaysia. Multiple varieties of rice and noodles, which are from local or imported from Thailand, Japan or India, are often used as a base. The Malays include a lot of seafood in their diet, like fish, squids, prawns and crabs that used to show up in Malay dishes. And most of Malaysian dishes use fish sauce or fish paste because fish live is around the shores of Malaysia's islands. Fresh herbs and roots are commonly used to cook Malays food. Indian and Thai curry spices with regional varieties are often used to create rich and spicy curry dishes. A dried spice is also form an important component of Malays cooking. Moreover, in a city of Malaysia which is Malacca was one of the great trading centers of the spice in the fifteen century. And Coconut is another favorite ingredient which is also common found in countless dishes. For instance: Santan(the coconut milk), to make creamy curries. It is to add savory sweetness of the dishes and to cool the fire of hotter spices.

    However, the Japanese are still devoted to their classic cooking traditions.

    3 FOODS OF THE JAPANESE

    Rice and noodles are the two primary staples of the Japanese diet. Rice, either boiled or steamed, is served at every meal.

    Visitors to Japan today witness a huge array of food choices, ranging from traditional Japanese cooking, Chinese, Korean, to the increasing available cooking of recent immigrants to Japan from various parts of the world. Of course, to this, so-called Western food goes into the mix. Western food comes in as many types as there are nations, with Italian and French now being very popular. Then there is fast food, offered by such outlets as McDonald's, Pizza Hut, and the like. On any block of a Japanese town, one is likely to find eateries offering a rich mixture of food choices. One finds, too, the Japanese eat meals that show a variety of foreign influences, without much cognizance of what influences come from which countries—for breakfast, they are as comfortable with ham and eggs, salad, buttered toast, and coffee as they are with a traditional breakfast fare, consisting of rice, miso soup, seaweed, and grilled fish. Lunch could be a plate of spaghetti with tomato sauce (originally Italian), hot bowls of rice with delicious, spicy toppings (originally Korean), or a steaming bowl of ramen noodles with soup (originally Chinese). For a snack, they may have cheesecake and English tea, Japanese sweets and green tea, or cold soba noodles dipped in sauce. Dinner may be sukiyaki, tenpura (originally said to be Portuguese, referring to fried vegetarian food eaten during Lent), or something as perennial favorite as curry and rice (originally Indian).

    Noodles come in many varieties. Among the most popular are soba, thin brown noodles made from buckwheat flour; udon, thick white noodles made from wheat flour; and ramen, thin, curly noodles, also made from wheat flour . Soy sauce and other soybean products are also staples in Japan.
    When one picks up a Japanese cookbook, one is often surprised by the variety of seafood dishes and a relatively small section dedicated to cooking of meat. This is for a reason: historically the Japanese avoided public eating of animals, animal fats, and dairy products, owing to Buddhism that shunned such foods (more on this below). The staple of the Japanese diet remains the same-with or without meat. It has always been seafood, vegetables, and grains (rice), due primarily to Japan's geography and climate. Except in pre-Buddhism days, meat eating in Japan without the danger of religious reprimand is a relatively recent phenomenon; it was not until the mid-nineteenth century that the people of Japan began eating meat widely and making use of it in their own cooking.

    These include miso (fermented soybean paste) and tofu (a soybean curd that resembles custard). Other common ingredients in Japanese food include bamboo shoots, daikon (a giant white radish), ginger, seaweed, and sesame seed products.
    Added to this availability is a general interest in good eating. When people get together, their topic often turns to food-new restaurants, regional cooking, recipes, and so on-more often than their counterparts do in the United States. This fervor is fueled by Japanese TV that broadcasts programs on food and cooking on a daily basis; in addition, travel shows, quiz shows, talk shows, game shows, and others frequently incorporate segments on cooking and eating. With show biz glitter and flare, a TV show like Ryōri no tetsujin (known as "Iron Chef" when shown in the United States) gained a phenomenal following, a show in which famous chef contestant and defender compete to create the best-tasting, luscious looking, and textually varied multi-course meal using one principal ingredient. Bookstores are replete with books and magazines on all types of cooking. Travel brochures and posters try to lure customers by showing beautifully prepared specialty dishes-in fact, we may say that a main attraction to a resort is food, perhaps superseded only by its scenery and its proximity to onsen (hot springs). Indeed, there seems to be no end to the length a Japanese would go to get something cooked just right, even if it is as humble as a bowl of noodles.

    Japanese pickles called tsukemono are served at every meal. Seafood is also plentiful in this island nation. Green tea is the national beverage of Japan, although black tea is also available. Sake (SAH-kee, wine made from rice, usually served warm) and beer are also very popular.
    Foods through the day in Malaysia are three meals a day and rice is almost always included, even at breakfast. For instance, Nasi Lemak. A typical meal consists of rice served with soup, curries, and a few vegetable stir-fries and also eaten fruit for dessert. A typical of Malay lunch and dinner was all dishes are placed in the center of the table to be shared by all the diners and usually the Malay food is often eaten with the hands.

    Two uniquely Japanese foods are sushi (fresh raw seafood with rice) and sashimi (fresh raw seafood with soy sauce); both rely on freshly caught fish or seafood. Dishes prepared in a single pot ( nabemeno ) are popular throughout Japan.

    Another teaching of Zen Buddhism has its roots as well in Confucianism. This teaching requires the presence of discipline in all of the Japanese individual’s activities. The ultimate goal is to strive for perfection. In order to do so, the philosophy of Zen required long hours of training in order to master a particular art, whether the art is in the preparation of food or practicing the way of the sword, as in the case for the samurai. This is perfectly exemplified through the simple yet elegant tea ceremony practiced in Japan.

    Sukiyaki is a dish made up of paper-thin slices of beef (or sometimes chicken), vegetables, and cubes of tofu cooked in broth. Shabu-shabu is beef and vegetables, also cooked in broth but then dipped in flavorful sauces.
    In the early 20th century, using Indian curry powder, Japanese curry rice (kareraisu) became very popular dish which consisted vegetables, meat or seafood with a thick curry sauce and served with rice.

    Each region has its own selection of favorite foods. People living on the cold northern island of Hokkaido enjoy potatoes, corn, and barbecued meats. Foods in western Japan tend to be more delicately flavored than those in the east.
    It is for this reason that as compared to other Asian cuisine, Japanese food may often taste slightly bland and extremely light. This is to ensure that when one consumes a meal, it would be a chance to experience the flavors of the various foods being consumed down to its basics (Ashkenazi and Jacob 18-19). Chan Buddhism, also known as Zen Buddhism, on the other hand, is based on the belief and philosophy that in order for an individual to experience enlightenment, one would have to go through a number of layers in order for that individual not to follow worldly ways (Graham 85).

    The Japanese are known for using very fresh ingredients in their cooking. They prefer using fresh, seasonal foods for their meals, buying it the same day it will be cooked. The Japanese are also famous for their skill in arranging food so that it looks beautiful.

    When brought together, these various heterogeneous aspects of Japanese culture would create a whole new masterpiece creating a whole separate work of art on its own (Graham 79). It is no surprise then as to why Japanese have been able to hold on to their traditions, cultures and beliefs despite the massive onslaught of Western cultures that have slowly made its way to the Land of the Rising Sun. Through their art, architecture, flower arrangements and in their food, they proudly impart not just their craft, but a part of themselves.

    The people of Japan live long lives and have a low rate of heart disease because of healthy eating habits.

    Gohan (Boiled Rice)

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup Japanese short-grain rice, uncooked (available at most supermarkets and Asian food stores)
    • 1¼ cups water

    Procedure

    1. Wash the rice and allow it to soak in a saucepan for about 30 minutes; let drain.
    2. Return the rice to the saucepan, add water, and bring to a boil over high heat.
    3. Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer, cooking about 15 minutes more until water has been absorbed by the rice.
    4. Reduce the heat to medium and keep covered, allowing rice to steam for about 15 minutes.
    5. Serve in individual bowls with chopsticks (optional).

    Serves 4. To eat rice, the rice bowl is held in the left hand, close to the mouth. The chopsticks are used to push the rice into the mouth as the bowl is slowly rotated in the hand.

    Sushi

    Ingredients

    • Small bamboo mat (makisu) for preparing sushi
    • Dry seaweed sheets (nori)
    • Bowl of water to which 1 Tablespoon vinegar has been added
    • Wasabi (dried horseradish powder)
    • Strips of avocado, cucumber, carrot, or other vegetable
    • Cooked shrimp or crab meat (or frozen imitation crabmeat, thawed)

    Procedure

    1. Place a sheet of nori (dry seaweed), shiny side down, on the makisu (bamboo mat).
      In the early 19th century, the development in Edo, the introduction of sushi has started. Today's, most of people are familiar with that dishes. It made from vinegar rice top or combined with raw fish and shellfish. And during that time, sushi was sold from stalls as a snack food, and that stalls were become the starter of today's sushi restaurants.

    2. Wet your right hand (or left hand, if you are left-handed) in the bowl of vinegar water, and use it to scoop up a ball of rice.
    3. Spread the rice out in an even layer on one side of the nori .
    4. Sprinkle a line of wasabi (horseradish powder) down the center of the rice.
    5. Arrange the strips of vegetables and seafood over the line of wasabi .
    6. Using the mat to support the nori , lift one end of the mat to gently roll the nori over the rice and other ingredients.
    7. Use gentle pressure to compact the rice and other ingredients so that they hold together.
    8. Continue rolling until a long cylinder is formed, completely encased in nori .
    9. Carefully slice through the nori and other ingredients to make the bites of sushi .
    10. Serve immediately so the nori will still be crispy.

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    Wasabi powder, a key ingredient in sushi, is produced from the wasabi root.
    AP Photos/Don Ryan

    Onigiri (Rice Ball)

    Ingredients

    • 2 cups cooked rice
    • Salt
    • Pickled plums, cut into small, bite-sized pieces
    • Cooked salmon, cut into small, bite-sized pieces
    • Dry seaweed sheets (nori), cut into strips

    Procedure

    1. Cook rice according to directions on package. Allow to cool slightly.
    2. Have a bowl of lukewarm water handy.
    3. Dip clean hands into water, and then sprinkle salt on wet hands.
    4. Place a small mound of rice (about 2 Tablespoons) in the palm of your hand.
    5. Press a piece of pickled plum or cooked salmon into the mound of rice.
    6. Toss the mound back and forth between wet, salted hands to form a triangular mound, with the filling item in the center.
    7. Wrap mound in a dry seaweed strip.

    Serves 10 to 12.

    Miso Soup

    Ingredients

    • 2 scallions
    • ¼ pound tofu
    • 1¼ cups dashi (Japanese fish stock) or 1 chicken bouillon cube, dissolved in 1 cup boiling water
    • 2 Tablespoons red miso

    Procedure

    1. Wash the scallions and cut the green parts into 1½-inch lengths.
      In the 15th century, many of the foods and food ingredients eaten by Japanese nowadays, for instance: miso, tofu or soy sauce.

    2. Cut the tofu into small cubes and place the scallions and tofu in soup bowls.
    3. Boil the dashi (broth) in a saucepan.
    4. Put a little of the boiling liquid in a bowl and mix with the miso .
    5. Pour back into the saucepan, then ladle into the soup bowls.
    6. Serve immediately.

    Makes one serving.

    And now, development of Japanese restaurant that opened more and more in Malaysia. It can be cause of the trends between among the Malaysia. There is similarity between Malaysia cuisine and Japanese cuisine that makes Malaysia is easier to accept. Other reason is Malaysian are quite open minded with those culture.

    Beef Sukiyaki

    Ingredients

    • ½ cup soy sauce
    • ¼ cup sugar
    • ½ cup dashi or beef broth
    • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 1 pound beef tenderloin, sliced into thin strips
    • 10 scallions, cut into 2-inch pieces (both and green and white parts)
    • 4 stalks celery, sliced on an angle, in ½-inch pieces
    • 12 mushroom caps, sliced
    • 8 ounces tofu or bean curd, cut into bite-sized cubes
    • 1 can bamboo shoots (8½-ounce), drained
    • 4 cups rice, cooked

    Procedure

    1. Mix soy sauce, sugar, and dashi or broth in a bowl and set aside.
      In the 16th century, the combination of Spanish and Portuguese frying technique with Chinese method for cooking vegetables in oil led to the development of tempura, the popular Japanese dish in which seafood and many types of vegetables with deep fried method.

    2. Arrange beef and vegetables on a large platter.
    3. Heat an electric skillet 300°F; or heat a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add oil and heat.
    4. Add the meat and brown for 2 minutes.
    5. Add the vegetables and the tofu, including the bamboo shoots, placing each on its own part of the skillet.
    6. Add the sauce and cook mixture for 6 to 7 minutes, turning gently to prevent burning and keeping all ingredients separate from each other. Serve at once over rice.

    Serves 4 to 6.

    Chicken Teriyaki

    Ingredients

    • ½ cup soy sauce (preferably Japanese-style)
    • 3 Tablespoons sugar
    • 1 teaspoon fresh gingerroot, grated
    • 3 Tablespoons sesame seeds
    • 1½ to 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into small serving pieces

    Procedure

    1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
      There are several ways to describes the differ of Japan cuisine from other cuisine, First, portion of the dish are small because it is to capture the diners attention with the freshness, natural flavor, the beauty of each dish, the atmosphere and the whole meal. Second, the food for a meal is served at once, so diners receive their own portions on individual plates and bowls instead of serving family style from large bowls in the middle of table. Third, Japanese use less oil which to emphasize the light and natural flavor of the food.

    2. Combine soy sauce, sugar, gingerroot, and sesame seeds in a large bowl.
    3. Place chicken in a baking dish and pour sauce over it.
    4. Bake for 45 minutes. Turn chicken about every 15 minutes, coating with sauce in the process.
      In the 6th century, introduction of Buddhism to Japan became the official religion of the country and from that moment any consumption of meat and fish were prohibited. The first recorded decision prohibiting the eating of cattle, horses, dogs, monkeys and chicken was issued by Emperor Temmu in A.D.675. Laws and emperor eliminate the eating of almost all flesh of animals and fowl because based on Buddhism are prohibiting to killing.

    Serves 6.

    Doll Festival Menu

    Pork and cabbage dumplings

    Sushi

    Peach tofu

    Vegetables with vinegar lemon dressing

    Sake

    Harvest Moon Menu

    Miso soup

    Tempura

    Rice

    Deep-fried oysters

    Daikon salad

    Red bean jelly

    New Year's Menu

    Miso soup with grilled rice cakes

    Sashimi shaped into roses

    Sushi canapés

    Beef and onion rolls

    Smoked salmon and daikon rolls

    Persimmon and daikon salad

    Spicy braised gobo (burdock root)

    Yaki-Soba (Fried Noodles)

    Ingredients

    • 2 to 3 medium-size shiitake mushrooms
    • 8 ounces fresh ramen or 6 ounces dried noodles
    • 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
    • 1 small to medium-size onion, chopped
    • 2 teaspoons gingerroot, minced
    • 2 cups green cabbage leaves, coarsely chopped
    • 1 Tablespoon mirin (sweet rice wine)
    • 2 to 3 teaspoons soy sauce
    • 2 to 3 dashes black pepper
    • Salt, to taste

    Procedure

    1. Soak mushrooms in a bowl of warm water for 30 minutes.
      There are similar eating pattern within Japanese and Malaysia, which the main staple is rice and it is eaten with almost every meal. The meal features is quite same, such as the tastes of sweet, sour, spicy, bitter and salty. Like Chinese style wheat noodles served in meat stock known as Ramen have become extremely popular over the last century and Malaysian like to consume noodles. Follow by seafood, as Japan is surrounded by sea as same as Malaysia's islands. Therefore, When Japanese cuisine comes to Malaysia, the food itself easily accepted by Malaysian.

    2. Dry mushrooms. Cut off stems and discard. Slice mushrooms thinly.
    3. Bring 3 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot and add ramen . Cook 1 to 2 minutes or until tender yet firm.
    4. Rinse ramen ; drain well. Toss with 1 Tablespoon of the oil; set aside.
      The growing, rearing and processing of foodstuffs seems to have held a special fascination since the nineteenth century. Food and beverage industry has really growth and moving positively if compare to the preceding years, which is from the number of restaurant that opens day by day. There is a vast variety of restaurants with the different types of cuisine in Malaysia that representing different country and culture by offers an exciting array of food outlets, from fast food to fine dining and everything in between. Local food alone offers Malay, Cantonese, Szechuan, Indian and Nyonya cuisine while international food covers the gamut from Japanese to Middle-Eastern, Italian and American. Today, more people are excited to experiment and explore each restaurant that just opened. Moreover, due to the lifestyle and trends, more people are eating out rather than cook at home. For instance: Recently, more and more Japanese restaurants have been opened around Malaysia. Every restaurant tries to bring up a new concept and originality to their brand.

    5. Heat remaining 2 Tablespoons oil in a wok or large skillet over medium to high heat.
    6. Add onion and gingerroot and stir-fry for 2 minutes.
    7. Add cabbage and mushrooms; stir-fry 3 minutes. Sprinkle with mirin . Stir-fry 1 minute more.
    8. Add ramen ; toss until hot. Season with soy sauce, pepper, onions, and salt.
      At many restaurants, customers can decide on their order by looking at very realistic wax models of their menu offerings at the storefront-so real that one can see details like bubbles in a carbonated drink and almost smell the melted cheese on gratin dishes.

    9. Shrimp, ham, chicken, or other tempura can be added.

    Serves 6.

    4 FOOD FOR RELIGIOUS AND HOLIDAY CELEBRATIONS

    The most important holiday in Japan is the New Year, Shogatsu. Special holiday foods, called osechi , are prepared in beautifully decorated stackable boxes called jubako.

    In Malaysia, eating out is really a gastronomic adventure. A blend of cultural and ethnic histories which make up Malaysia's diverse population is reflected in the broad range of influences and flavours found in Malaysian cuisine. And each state in Malaysia has something to offer in terms of culinary delights. For instance: Penang, the famous in hawker stall haven, where all the most delicious food requires that only costs as little as RM 3.50 per dish, such as Penang Char Kway Teow, Fried Oyster, Laksa, etc. Mallaca is also home to Baba Nyonya food, which served in quaint cafes in historical shop houses. Or in Kuala Lumpur, the most diverse offering of foods from all over the world, such as Chinese cuisine, Indian cuisine, Japanese cuisine, Thailand cuisine, Vietnamese cuisine, European cuisine, Arabian cuisine, etc.

    Each layer of the box has compartments for several different foods. Glazed sardines, bamboo shoots, sweet black beans, and chestnuts in sweet potato paste are just a few of the many holiday foods. New Year foods are also eaten because they are believed to represent good fortune or long life.
    A Hindu saying goes “a man is what he eats. Not only is his bodily substance created out of food, but so is his moral disposition” (Ohnuki-Tierney 3). Indeed, food has no longer been considered as a means to acquire energy and fuel for the body. Many anthropologists, sociologists and historians have begun to view food as a reflection of one’s culture. This is because the preparation, cooking, presentation and even the manner how the food is eaten is embedded in culture. This is nowhere more evident that in Japanese cuisine.

    At New Year's, children are especially fond of hot rice cakes dipped in sweet soybean powder.

    The Girls' Festival (or Doll Festival) is held in March. Dolls are dressed in traditional Japanese dresses called kimonos and are offered rice crackers, colored rice cakes, and a sweet rice drink called amazake . Everyone in the family eats the foods.

    Popular knowledge has considered as a religious belief practice by the Japanese which focused on the communion with nature. Looking deeper, Shinto has become the way of life practiced by Japanese since during the ancient times so much so that it was become the basis of the code of Bushido. One of the practices that the religion of Shinto mandated was simplicity. This is clearly defined in everything and anything that has been associated with the Japanese, particularly when it came to food. Unlike other Asian cuisines which utilize various spices in their cooking, Japanese cuisine hardly uses any spices in its cooking.

    Festive foods for Children's Day (May 5) include rice dumplings stuffed with sweet bean paste.

    The tea ceremony ( cha-no-yu ) is an important Japanese ritual that can be held on a holiday or other special occasion.

    Works Cited Allison, Anne. “Japanese Mothers and Obentos: The Lunch-Box as Ideological Apparatus. ” Anthropological Quarterly. 64. 4 (October 1991): 195-208. Askenazi, Michael and Jeanne Jacob. Food Culture in Japan. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2003. Ohnuki-Tierney, Emiko. Rice as Self: Japanese Identities through Time. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993. Parks, Graham. “Ways of Japanese Thinking. ” Japanese Aesthetics and Culture. Ed. Nancy G. Hume. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1995. 77-108.

    Developed over several centuries, it plays an important role in Japanese life and culture.

    Ozoni (New Year's Soup)

    Ingredients

    • 4 mochi (rice cakes)
    • 2 boned chicken breasts, trimmed and sliced into thin strips
    • 2 thin leeks, sliced very finely on the diagonal
    • 4 cups dashi
    • 3 Tablespoons white miso

    Procedure

    1. Broil the mochi cakes under a hot broiler on all sides until the cake is crisp and brown, but not burnt.
    2. Remove from heat, piece with a fork, and set aside.
    3. Dip the chicken slices into salted boiling water for 2 minutes, then drain.
    4. Bring the dashi to a boil in a saucepan, then add chicken pieces and simmer until tender.
    5. Ladle ½ cup of dashi into the miso and whisk until blended.
    6. Pour back into the soup and bring just to a boil, then remove from heat.
    7. Place a cooked rice cake in the bottom of each of 4 bowls, then ladle the soup over them, distributing the chicken pieces evenly. Top with slivered leek.
    8. Place tops on the bowls, and serve immediately.

    Serves 6 to 8.

    Sweet Peanut Mochi (Rice Cakes)

    Rice cakes are a popular dessert for both New Year's and Children's Day. These may sometimes be purchased at Asian markets or specialty grocery stores.

    Ingredients

    • 1 cup sweet glutinous-rice flour ( mochiko )
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • ¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
    • ⅓ cup cocktail peanuts, unsalted
    • ½ cup water
    • Potato starch or cornstarch
    • Orange blossom honey, rice syrup, or molasses
    • ½ cup roasted soybean powder ( kinako ) (optional)

    Procedure

    1. In a medium-size bowl, combine rice flour, salt, and brown sugar.
      It is for this reason that unlike other cuisines and dining practices that is practiced anywhere else in the world, a person that experiences a traditional Japanese meal would be served one meal at a time, allowing you to savor and enjoy the meal before the next one is brought out. Not only does it symbolize the teachings of Zen Buddhism with regards to the different layers that one must undergo in order to reach enlightenment but to also provide the individual to slowly make his or her way through the various combinations of unadulterated flavors exhibited by each dish ( Graham 80)

    2. In a blender or food processor, grind peanuts until they form a paste.
    3. Add the water; process until blended, scraping sides of container once or twice.
    4. Pour peanut mixture into rice-flour mixture. Stir to form a stiff dough.
    5. Lightly knead dough about 30 seconds.
    6. In a wok or deep pot, bring 4 cups of water to a boil.
    7. Spread a piece of dampened and unbleached muslin or several layers of cheesecloth over a steamer tray.
    8. Spread the dough evenly over the cloth, about ½-inch thick.
    9. Place the steamer into the pot, over the boiling water. Cover and steam for 20 minutes.
    10. Remove tray from pan and lift out cloth with dough.
    11. Pull away cloth, dropping dough onto a flat surface dusted with potato starch or cornstarch. Cool 2 minutes.
    12. Knead 1 minute or until smooth and shiny.
    13. Roll dough into an 8-inch long sausage roll and cut into 8 equal pieces.
    14. Dust lightly with cornstarch to prevent sticking. Form into smooth, round shapes.
    15. Drizzle rice cakes with honey and roll in soybean powder.
    16. Serve on small plates with cups of hot green tea.

    5 MEALTIME CUSTOMS

    The Japanese eat three main meals a day. The main ingredient in all three, however, is rice (or sometimes noodles).

    Rice has divided into three (3) which are long grain, medium grain and short grained varieties. In this case, different populations, consumer different varieties of rice.

    Miso soup and pickles are always served as well. Meals eaten early in the day tend to be the simplest. A typical breakfast consists of rice, miso soup, and a side dish, such as an egg or grilled fish.

    Noodles are very popular for lunch (and as a snack), and a restaurant or take-out stand referred to as a noodle house is a popular spot for lunch.

    Today, rice is the staple for almost half the world's population, particularly in parts of China, India, Indonesia, Japan and Southeast Asia.

    A typical lunch would be a bowl of broth with vegetables, seaweed, or fish. The bento is a traditional box lunch packed in a small, flat box with dividers. It includes small portions of rice, meat, fish, and vegetables.
    As the time goes by, people are more selective nowadays. They would like to choose a good quality food, with a good portion, with a good branding, and willing to pay with a reasonable price. There are some students are willing to pay high price for one meal because they want to try a new restaurant or a new cuisine with a good quality of the food. Thus, all restaurants have to try their best to meet the customers' expectations. Besides that, they also have to recognize every aspect of their business has an impact on customer service because involve face to face customer contact and the supply in food has growing day by day. Each restaurant has to boost them self to improving customer service that involves making a commitment to learning what our customers' needs and wants are, and developing action plans that implement customer friendly processes.

    Stores sell ready-made bento for take out and some even have Western-style ingredients like spaghetti or sausages. A favorite among young people, and as a take-out food, is a stuffed rice ball called onigiri.
    What makes Japanese so passionate about eating? How is Japanese cooking different from Chinese or Korean cooking, and for that matter, so-called Western cooking? What can we learn about Japanese people and their culture from what they eat? These are some of the fundamental issues involved.

    Many Japanese have turned to Western-style food for breakfast and lunch, especially in the cities. However, traditional dinners are still eaten by most people in Japan, such as rice, soup, pickles, and fish.

    Unlike tea ceremonies that are practiced in other parts of Asia, the Japanese tea ceremony requires the tea person performing the act to prepare the tea in a very calculated manner down to the very last detail while still appearing to be graceful and fluid (Graham 90-93). All in all, the tradition and culture of the Japanese is simple at the same time complex. It is composed of a number of separate and various elements, which on its own is a piece of art in itself.

    Seasonal fresh fruit makes a great dessert. Sweets are more likely to be served with green tea in the afternoon.

    Food is grasped between chopsticks and lifted to one's mouth. Chopsticks should never be stuck into a piece of food or used to pass food back and forth. It is not considered impolite to sip one's soup directly from the bowl. At a Japanese meal, people at the table fill each other's drinking glasses but never their own.

    Tsuchiya, Yoshio and Yamamoto Masaru. The Fine Art of Japanese Food Arrangement. Tokyo and New York: Kodansha International, 2003.

    The Japanese do not eat while they are doing other things, such as walking or driving. A Japanese car company once claimed that some of its seatbelts didn't work properly in the United States because Americans spilled so much food in their cars.

    If you would compare an exquisitely prepared entree of Japanese food to a flower arrangement handcrafted by a Japanese florist, there are so many similarities that you would be able to decipher between these two seemingly unrelated objects. In order to understand why Japanese food is considered both as a work of art and an exemplification of the culture of the cook that had prepared the dish, one must first understand a little bit about Japan’s culture and Japan in general. Firstly, the country is one that has been known to be a land of minimal resources.

    They believe people should not eat and drive cars at the same time.

    Yakitori (Grilled Chicken on Skewers)

    Ingredients

    • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
    • 2 small leeks
    • 2 teaspoons sugar
    • 4 Tablespoons soy sauce
    • Bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes prior to using

    Procedure

    1. Cut chicken into bite-sized chunks.
    2. Wash leeks, remove the roots, and cut into ¾-inch lengths.
    3. Slide the chicken and leeks onto bamboo skewers.
    4. In a bowl, mix the sugar and soy sauce together.
    5. Spoon a little of this mixture over the chicken skewers.
    6. Broil for 5 minutes.
    7. Turn the skewers over, spoon on some more sauce, and cook for 5 more minutes.
    8. Serve hot and eat with your fingers.

    Thread pieces of chicken and slices of leek onto bamboo skewers. The skewers should be soaked in water for at least thirty minutes before using.
    EPD Photos

    Ramen (Noodle Soup)

    Ingredients

    • 1 package ramen noodle soup
    • Vegetables to add to soup (choose up to four, such as chopped celery)
    • 1 carrot, cut into very thin sticks, about 2 inches long
    • 1 scallion, chopped
    • Daikon radish, cut into very thin sticks, about 2 inches long
    • 1 mushroom, sliced thin
    • 3 snow pea pods
    • 1 Chinese cabbage leaf, shredded

    Procedure

    1. Make soup according to package directions.
    2. Place up to four of the add-ins into a large soup bowl.
    3. Carefully pour hot broth and noodles over vegetables.
    4. Use chopsticks to eat the vegetables and noodles, and drink the broth from the bowl.

    Serves 4.

    Broiled Salmon

    Ingredients

    • 4 salmon steaks (8-ounces each)
    • ¼ cup white soybean paste ( shiromiso )
    • 1 teaspoon sugar
    • 2 Tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
    • 2 Tablespoons sake (or rice wine vinegar)
    • 2 green onions, thinly-sliced

    Procedure

    1. Place salmon under broiler for 5 minutes each side.
      Tanpopo. Directed by Itami Jūzō. 114 minutes. Tokyo: Itami Productions, 1987.

    2. Mix soybean paste, sugar, soy sauce, and sake (or vinegar) together in a bowl.
    3. Spread mixture on salmon steaks and broil another 2 minutes per side.
    4. Garnish with the sliced green onions and serve immediately.

    Serves 4.

    6 POLITICS, ECONOMICS, AND NUTRITION

    Because Japanese people like to eat a lot of fish, one of the major issues facing the Japanese government relates to fishing privileges. For example, Japan, Canada, and the United States have argued over the rights to fish for salmon.

    This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

    Japan has had conflicts with neighboring Asian nations, including the Republic of Korea, China, Indonesia, and Australia, over fishing rights to waters around those countries.

    More than 80 countries, including the United States, have adopted laws that restrict other countries from fishing within 200 miles of their coastlines.

    So, the next time that you and your friends are heading out for a night on the town and you happen to decide to grab a bite to eat at the Japanese restaurant around the corner, do not just order your food and gulp it down hurriedly. Take your time to observe and savor this wonderful edible work of art presented to you and your friends for it is not just a meal that you are taking in your body. Rather, it is a short moment for you to commune with the Japanese chef’s country, its seasons, their philosophies and their beliefs, which have made their culture and traditions uniquely their very own.

    This has resulted in Japan being forced to pay fees for the privilege of fishing in many ocean areas around the world.

    7 FURTHER STUDY

    Books

    Albyn, Carole Lisa, and Lois Webb. The Multicultural Cookbook for Students. Phoenix: Oryx Press, 1993.

    Beatty, Theresa M. Food and Recipes of Japan. New York: PowerKids Press, 1999.

    Bremzen, Anya von, and John Welchman. Terrific Pacific Cookbook. New York: Workman Publishing, 1995.

    Cook, Deanna F. The Kids' Multicultural Cookbook: Food and Fun Around the World. Charlotte, VT: Williamson Publishing, 1995.

    Halvorsen, Francine. Eating Around the World in Your Neighborhood. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1998.

    Ridgwell, Jenny. A Taste of Japan. New York: Thomson Learning, 1993.

    Slack, Susan Fuller. Japanese Cooking for the American Table. New York: Berkeley Publishing, 1996.

    Weston, Reiko. Cooking the Japanese Way. Minneapolis: Lerner, 2001.

    This fresh sushi produced at this factory in Queens, New York, meets the growing demand for sushi in restaurants and supermarkets across the United States.
    AP Photos/Jim Cooper

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