Have A Real Taste Of Nihon With These Japanese Cuisines (And Where To Dine Them At!)

for an authentic taste of Nihon!
By: Nina Shahriman
July 14, 2022

Japanese food prides itself on its flawless presentation, simple flavours, and fresh ingredients. Meals are complex ceremonies steeped in tradition and ritual, consisting of a variety of main dishes, steamed rice, pickles, and dipping sauces, all of which are served in specially selected, personalised bowls. Therefore, if you’re planning to sink your teeth into a taste of Nihon whether you’re travelling to the land of the rising sun itself or food-hunting for it around Singapore- where do you start? Glitz has got you covered in this helpful guide of must-try Japanese cuisine you need to try out for an authentic taste of Nihon!

Soy sauce, miso, and umeboshi (pickled plums) are frequently used in Japanese dishes in place of red meat, oils and fats, and dairy products. Despite the availability of low-sodium variants, some frequently used foods contain a lot of salt. However, Japanese food may be seen as nutritious. Because vegetables are constantly included in meals and are prepared in a variety of ways, they always include vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, antioxidants, and fibre at the same time.

The items made from seaweed are abundant in calcium and iron. Additionally, fish consumption makes it simple to meet daily requirements for high-quality protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin D. To regulate portion sizes and calorie consumption, Japanese meals are typically served in separate bowls. In addition, some meals, particularly sweets, are served with green tea as an antioxidant.

Want to find restaurants around our island for an authentic taste of Japanese cuisine? Here’s our helpful guide to our favourite Japanese restaurants in Singapore!

1. Sushi

One of the most popular Japanese dishes in the world is sushi. It is available in a variety of formats and price ranges, from the entertaining conveyor belt sushi (kaiten-zushi), where customers can enjoy sushi for a fair price, to the high-end, time-honoured, traditional Edomae sushi, where you can eat at a quiet counter while watching the sushi being made in front of you. Chopsticks or your hands can be used to consume sushi.

Glitz tip: Instead of putting the rice directly in the soy sauce, flip the sushi over and drizzle the sauce over the neta. This guards against the rice soaking up too much soy sauce and obliterating the neta’s unique flavour.

2. Tempura

A meal known as tempura consists of seafood, pork, and vegetable pieces that are battered and fried in hot oil. Typically, flour and eggs are used in the batter. 

Before eating, tentsuyu, a unique sauce, is typically dipped into tempura. Tentsuyu is a sauce created from simmered mixtures of mirin, soy sauce, and broth produced from dried bonito or kombu. For a more energising flavour, you might add ginger or shredded radish to your preference.

3. Soba

Buckwheat flour, water, and flour are thinly distributed and cut into noodles with widths of 1 to 2cm to make soba, a type of noodle dish. The noodles are eaten either dipped in cold soup or with hot soup poured over them after they have been boiled in hot water. The soba broth (tsuyu), which is commonly produced from dried bonito broth or kombu broth and is seasoned with soy sauce and mirin, is essential for enjoying wonderful soba. Since soba may be eaten either hot or cold, it is a year-round favourite.

4. Unagi

Eels, also known as unagi, are fish that are typically found in rivers. It is a speciality of high-end Japanese cuisine in Japan. Additionally, there are many fast-food establishments that provide unagi meals. 

You may order kabayaki at unagi restaurants, which involves skewering the unagi and grilling it with a sauce made of soy sauce, mirin, sugar, and sake. These places also serve unadon, which is kabayaki served over white rice.

5. Onigiri

Although onigiri, also known as omusubi, appear to be nothing more than simply rice, they frequently include a savoury filling and are covered in a salty film of nori seaweed. Families prepare them as bento lunches, and you frequently see them being sold in supermarkets and convenience stores. This is a traditional option for a small snack or lunch. There are restaurants that provide onigiri that you can enjoy during a sit-down dinner, produced by hand by chefs with high-quality ingredients, even if you can make onigiri yourself and buy it for a low price.

6. Sashimi

Sashimi is raw fish that has been cut into bite-sized pieces and is similar to sushi but without rice. Whether you are in Tokyo, Kyoto, or anyplace else in Japan, the exceptional calibre of the fish collected there makes it a great pick. Sashimi comes in hundreds of different kinds, much like sushi. Maguro and other tuna variations, salmon, mackerel, and sea bream are some of the most prevalent and well-liked kinds.

Order a selection of fish and seafood to discover what you enjoy the most. Soy sauce is frequently used to flavour sashimi when it is consumed. Wasabi can be sprinkled on top of the sashimi for an added kick, but it’s unnecessary. In place of wasabi, some species, like horse mackerel, will be served with ginger.

7. Udon

The distinctive meal known as udon is a staple of Japanese cuisine and is distinguished by its thick noodles. The dough is prepared by thoroughly kneading flour and salt water before being cut into noodles. After being cooked in hot water, udon noodles are dipped into seafood broth soup or served with soup and tempura as toppings. You may have udon hot or cold, similar to soba.

8. Takoyaki

These wheat batter balls with octopus filling originated in Osaka in the 1930s and were created by a street seller there. A unique pan with half-sphere indents all over its surface is used to create the recognisable takoyaki ball form. It requires some expertise to flip the batter just at the proper moment to get the ideal ball form. Takoyaki is topped with dried bonito flakes, dried seaweed flakes, and a unique takoyaki sauce in the traditional form.