Sushi and tempura are the most famous foods in Japan, but there are also many cheap and tasty foods called "B-class gourmet". Their popularity sometimes surpasses that of traditional "washoku". This article introduces some of the popular B-class gourmet foods in Japan.
Japanese people have an insatiable curiosity for food
Japanese people have a strong attachment to traditional food, yet are flexible enough to take in anything that tastes good.
While many people in the world eat the same kind of food every day, the Japanese diet is quite varied. Today they eat Italian, tomorrow Chinese or hamburgers, sometimes ethnic food, and of course Japanese food... They enjoy a wide range of menus every day, regardless of the genre of cuisine.
Japanese people have a reputation of being geniuses at arranging other cultures in their way, and eating habits are no exception. One of the best examples is B-class gourmet.
B-class gourmet food is often made by arranging traditional Western or Asian dishes and improving them to suit the Japanese palate. Although they are different from the so-called traditional Japanese food, they have completely taken root in the lives of ordinary people as a new food culture.
Staple and standard B-class gourmet food
Ramen is a type of Chinese noodle dish that has developed uniquely in Japan. It is no exaggeration to say that it is now the national food of the Japanese people. Ramen can be made in a wide variety of soups such as soy sauce, salt, or miso-based, and with many choices of ingredients such as pork, seasoned egg, chopped green onion, and seaweed, the variations are endless. It will be fun to compare and contrast the specialties of each restaurant.
Tonkatsu (pork cutlet)
Tonkatsu is a dish imitating the French côtelette but arranged for the Japanese. Thick slices of pork are dipped in a batter of flour, egg, and bread crumbs, and then fried in oil until golden brown. It is often pre-cut so that it can be easily eaten with chopsticks and served with shredded cabbage. It goes well with sweet sauce. Pork cutlet curry, pork cutlet sandwiches, and pork cutlet rice bowl with an egg are also widely popular.
Teriyaki is a dish in which chicken or fish is coated with a sweet sauce made of soy sauce, sake, sugar, and mirin, and then grilled. The name comes from the fact that the sugar in the sauce makes the surface of the food glossy "teri". Baking while applying the sauce also helps to lock in the flavor of the ingredients. Its sweet and spicy flavor is well received overseas, especially in the United States.
Easy but Excellent Street Food
Onigiri is rice balls made of freshly cooked rice, filled with your favorite ingredients, and shaped into triangles or bales by hand. Onigiri has a long history and information on it has been found in ruins dating back to the first century BC. Since they are easy to carry and can be eaten by hand, they have been widely popular as a quick snack. It is soul food and fast food that every single Japanese person has eaten.
Takoyaki is a snack made by mixing flour with eggs or broth, adding octopus "tako" cut into small pieces, and using a special cooking utensil to form a ball shape. You can add other ingredients such as meat or cheese. It is served with a sauce of your choice. A combination of crispy outside and thick and soft inside gives it an addictive texture.
Japanese wagashi sweets
Two small pancakes with red bean paste in between (made by boiling red beans and kneading them with sugar), dorayaki is one of the most popular Japanese sweets. It is also known as a favorite of the Japanese anime cartoon character Doraemon. Its fluffy texture and gentle sweetness go well with green tea as well as coffee with a bitter taste.