Sunday, October 7, 2012

12 Cheap Gourmet Foods in Japan

Japanese people are passionate about food. It's not just fine Japanese cuisine that gets people excited. In Japan, inexpensive food also gets respect. 

B-Class Gourmet is a Japanese term for connoisseurs of quality (but inexpensive) food. They're the people who are willing to stand in long lines or travel far and wide for a perfect bowl of noodles. These are the foods they're most often obsessed with. 

1. Ramen (ラーメン)

Ramen is the Japanese version of a Chinese wheat noodle dish. Fine ramen shops make their own noodles and broth. Hardcore ramen enthusiasts are easy to find in Japan. 

2. Curry Rice (カレーライス)
japanese curry rice

Curry Rice is the Japanese version of English (British) curry. It's a double mistranslation of the original Indian dish. Nevertheless, people are crazy about it. 

3. Yakitori (やきとり)

Grilled skewers of chicken and vegetables. There are dozens of varieties of yakitori that make use of every imaginable part of the chicken. 
yakitori place yakitori


4. Yakisoba (焼きそば)

A fried noodle dish that's similar to Chinese chow mein. The Japanese variant is favored with a think Worcestershire sauce. Despite the name, the yakisoba noodle is more similar to a ramen noodle than a soba noodle. Yakisoba is a popular festival food. 

5. Okonomiyaki (お好み焼き)

A good translation of Okonomiyaki is "grill what you like". Okonomiyaki evolved as a way to use up leftovers by throwing them into a savory pancake. Okonomiyaki restaurants maintain this spirit by offering "build your own" menus. 

6. Gyoza (餃子)
gyoza greed

Gyoza are an example of Chinese cuisine in Japan (chuka, 中華). As with "American Chinese food" — Chinese food in Japan has changed to match local preferences. 

Gyoza are ground meat and/or vegetable dumplings that are often served fried. They're extremely popular in Japan. 

japanese hamburger
7. Hambagu (ハンバーグ)

Hambagu is a Japanese style hamburger. There are many variations of hambagu — none of which appear inside a bun.

8. Oden (おでん)

oden vat
Oden is a Japanese stew that's most popular in winter. Oden are simmered for long periods of time in a Japanese dashi (a light broth). Several famous Oden restaurants claim that they haven't changed the broth in their stewing vats for more than 50 years — adding broth but never cleaning out the vat. This is supposedly a 
good thing — a finely aged broth. 

9. Udon (うどん)

Thick Japanese wheat-flour noodles. 

10. Sushi (すし)

midori sushiAuthentic Japanese Sushi is typically an expensive food. Few cheap sushi restaurants get respect. The few that do are incredibly popular. Decent sushi at an inexpensive price is a rare thing indeed. 

11. Soba (そば)

cold sobaSoba are Japanese buckwheat noodles. They're served hot in a light broth or cold with a dipping sauce. As with ramen, restaurants often make their noodles from scratch. 

12. Tonkatsu (とんかつ)

tonkatsuTonkatsu are deep-fried pork cutlets breaded with panko. It's served with shredded cabbage and a sweet sauce (Tonkatsu sauce). 

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