The British Medical Journal conducted a study regarding traditional foods in Japan and results showed that those who followed diet close to Japanese dietary guidelines, a traditional diet which is high in vegetables and grains with some amounts of animal products and soy, but less in dairy and fruits, lowered risks of dying at young age, or from heart diseases and stroke. Japanese traditional diet is high in fish and soy is believed to play a vital role in lower risks for cardiovascular problems. Records also show that Japan has the lowest rates of obesity in men and women, and most especially – longer life expectancy.
Okinawa is also known for having the world’s highest number of centenarians and has the least risks for age-related diseases like arthritis, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease. Health professionals contributed such good health positive condition and longer life to their traditional Japanese diet. Japanese diet is known for low in calories and saturated fats but very rich in nutrients particularly the phytonutrients (flavonoids and antioxidants), and plant-based oestrogens. These elements is believed to aid in fighting against cancers, especially breast cancer.
So let us discover and learn their traditional foods.
Sukiyaki is prepared and served literally in the table by cooking thinly-sliced beef with vegetables, vermicelli, and tofu. You may try the recipe.
That light and soft tempura is Japan’s pride in terms of deep-fried foods. The dish contains seafoods and vegetables coated in mixture of wheat flour, water, and eggs and are traditionally deep-fried in sesame oil, and served with a dish of salt or soy sauce-flavored broth coated with grated radish for dipping.
Sushi is a raw fish served on rice-seasoned lightly with vinegar. The most popular ingredients are tuna, prawns, and squids, pickled radish, cucumber, and sweet egg omelet. Sushi comes in several types, namely Nigiri, Norimaki, Inari, Temaki, Oshizushi, Chirashi, and Gunkan. Where it originated? As a street food!
Sashimi is a Japanese delicacy that comes with thin slices of raw foods, mostly seafoods and fish, and other types of meats like beef, deer, and horse. Others confuse sushi with sashimi. The difference between them is that sushi is prepared with vinegared rice. When you are in Japan, they are available in restaurants and mostly in izakaya. They are used in teishoku set meals and an essential component of kaiseki meals. Sashimi is presented where slices of raw foods are placed on top of a bed of shredded daikon with shiso leaves as garnish.
Yakitori is another pride of Japan. This dish comes with grilled chicken skewers from bite-sized slices of meats from various parts of chicken like skin, breasts, liver, innards, and thighs. They are cooked over charcoal and popularly enjoyed with beer. It is known that the best yakitori is best served at specialty restaurants called yakitori-ya and in other restaurants in Japan, as well as in festival food stands.
Shabu-shabu is onomatopoeia of Japan where recipe is characterized by thin slices of pork or beef held with chopsticks and swished in a pot of boiling water, and then dipped in sauce before it is eaten. It is recognized as a sumptuous dish with some platters of marbled meat.
Soba and Udon are traditional staple dishes of Japan. Udon is made from wheat flour, while soba is from buckwheat flour. They are served in a broth, or dipped in sauce.
Kaiseki is Japan’s traditional dish which originated centuries ago with tea ceremony in Kyoto, Japan. There is actually no menu but a parade of small courses elaborately arranged on elegant crockery. It only use fresh ingredients.
Tonkatsu originated in the late 19th century during the period Japan opens its doors to the Western influence. This tonkatsu or “pork cutlet” are thick slices of pork, breaded and deep fried similar to German Schnitzel. There are two kinds of pork cutlet: loin and fillet. The dish usually served with shredded cabbage.
Unagi is Japanese term for freshwater eel – particularly Japanese eel known as Anguilla japonica. Basically unagi is a common ingredient in Japanese cooking, usually as kabayaki.
The best things in life are those that help us stay healthy and live longer to enjoy life to the fullest!
You may also want to read some healthy foods around the world.