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A Practical Guide and Tips to Japanese Food

Whether it be sashimi, sushi, or ramen, you’ve probably enjoyed Japan’s wide array of cuisine at some point whether you are aware of it or not. The following 5 quick tips will open your eyes to the culinary insight that Japan has to offer.

Tip #1: It’s all about the fish

The Japanese diet consists mainly of sashimi and sushi, which has led to the country becoming one of the largest suppliers of fresh fish in the world. The Japanese go through 4.2 pounds (1.9 kilograms) of seafood per person every year, which is much more than America’s paltry 2.6 pounds (1.2 kilograms).

Tip #2: Rice is king, but fish are loyal subjects

Rice is more than just a staple of the Japanese diet; it’s an important part of their culture. It takes years to master the intricate art of growing rice properly so that its flavor doesn’t diminish. The stickiness and freshness of rice is what makes it the perfect vessel for sushi, the most well-known Japanese dish.

Tip #3: It’s not just ramen soup

Among other things, ramen noodles are one of Japan’s three national dishes (the other two being sushi and tempura). Each prefecture has its own specialty broth that can be used with noodles or served alongside, and they rival that of any other region’s specialty. The most popular way to enjoy them is in ramen soup, but they can also be fried into a crunchy chip or even turned into ice cream!

Tip #4: Don’t forget about the udon

Udon are thick wheat noodles that can be served in a variety of ways. They can be served hot or cold and made into a soup, salad, or dish with other ingredients. Popular types of udon include kitsune (fried tofu), tempura, and kakiage (with mixed vegetables).

Tip #5: You don’t have to go for takeout

Although you can find a lot of Japanese restaurants around the world, where they differ from their Western counterparts is that many don’t offer takeout. The catch is that the turnover rate for seafood and meat is much lower than in other countries, so getting takeout would actually be detrimental to these businesses’ bottom line.

 Types of Sushi Today

Sushi that we see today is easily and quickly prepared as it does not need fermentation, and its popularity increased many a thousand-fold with roadside vendors and small restaurants serving different variations of Sushi today.

There is vegetarian Sushi and also Sushi made with fish and meat, either raw or cooked. There are three main types of Sushi. They are Maki Sushi, Nigiri Sushi, and Oshi-Sushi.

For Nigiri Sushi, a slice of raw or cooked fish or shellfish is pressed onto a mound of vinegared rice, with a little wasabi in between. In some cases, nigiri sushi uses a small strip of toasted seaweed called nori to bind the whole mixture together. Nigiri sushi is commonly called two-kinds-sushi because it involves two ingredients: sushi rice and a single topping. The topping is also known as neta, and usually takes the form of a type of seafood such as tuna, eel, haddock, shad, snapper, octopus, or shrimp. Depending on the type of fish, it may be served raw in thin slices, grilled, or batter fried.

For Maki Sushi, layers of raw or cooked fish or shellfish, vegetables and vinegared rice on a sheet of dried sea kelp rolled into a cylinder then cut into pieces. The word maki means “roll.” There are a variety of types, including uramaki which is complex and requires the attention of a skilled chef. Others such as temaki are very easy to make, and frequently eaten at home and at social gatherings. Uramaki is an inside out roll, meaning that the sushi rice is on the outside. Nori is covered with sushi rice and then flipped over. The fillings are added and the maki is rolled up. The roll may then be dipped in, or topped with garnishes like sesame seeds or fish roe. This type of maki is more common outside of Japan, and includes the well-known California and Philadelphia rolls. Emaki is a sushi roll formed in the shape of a cone. Nori sheets are cut in half so that a small pile of sushi rice and fillings can be made on one corner. Then the nori is tightly rolled in a conical shape which can easily be held by hand while it is dipped into an assortment of sauces, including soy sauce and wasabi, and eaten. These hand rolls are a more casual type of sushi, and also has a fun visual appearance, with ingredients overflowing from the cone like a cornucopia.


Oshi Sushi or Oshizushi is a type of sushi from Osaka. It means “pressed sushi” or is also called “box sushi”. This is one of the oldest forms of sushi and stems from the ancient method of preserving fish by packing it tightly in boxes with fermented rice. Today, pressed sushi made with sushi rice and mackerel is one of the most popular forms of takeout food bought at airports by Japanese travelers. A wooden mold, called an oshibako, is used to make this form of sushi. Traditional molds are made out of wood, mainly cypress or cedar, similar to that used for the Japanese sushi rice mixing tub (or Hangiri). Cheaper variations are usually made out of pine. The box typically comes in three parts: The rectangular box part which consists of the walls, the bottom, and the top.

Are You Looking for Delicious Japanese Food and Some Family-Friendly Entertainment?

You’ve never had food this good! Kimono Restaurant offers a great place to take your family for entertainment, delicious eats, and fun. We start with the highest quality ingredients before grilling them right in front of you on our hibachi grill–the perfect way to get involved by watching as we prepare it just how YOU want it so there will be no surprises at all when they bite into your meal. This experience also gives us an opportunity to show off some amazing tricks which is where being entertained comes into play; our talented chefs will astound you even further by flipping meats around wildly or doing some other intricate, spectacular feats. If you’re looking for the perfect place to take your family for food, fun and entertainment. Kimono Japanese Restaurant in Benicia and Pleasanton, California, can’t be beaten! Join us today and experience the Kimono difference.