Top 15 favourite Japanese Food Experiences
Japanese cuisine is renowned for being one of the best in the world, for good reason as it really is one – of the many – perfect creations in Japan! Food is an important part of the country’s unique culture, as it is so respected and celebrated, that in many instances it becomes ritualised. Huge amounts of dedication and thought go into every stage, from the preparation, the cooking, the serving and, of course, the consumption. Chefs are regarded as artisans and referred to as ‘masters’ by many, so it is unthinkable to cancel a restaurant reservation in Japan and miss out on such a great experience. Even the simplest of dishes are of a high standard – everyday sushi, katsu curry, ramen to name a few – yet the total respect for food really comes to life within its delicacies, such as smooth sake, and fine dining establishments. One can experience these on an Ampersand tailor-made holiday – such as eating at a Michelin starred sushi restaurant and enjoying ‘kaiseki’ dinners (gourmet multi-course meals made from seasonal ingredients) – the latter of which are usually a real highlight of a traditional ryokan stay.
Here are our top 15 favourite Japanese food experiences to inspire you and entice your taste buds…
1). Fresh ‘sashimi’ - just one of the many parts of Gora Kadan’s exquisite ‘kaiseki’ dinner. Three types of fish accompanied by grated wasabi and a shiso leaf. (Hakone).
2). Braving pufferfish (‘fugu’) at the Gora Kadan hotel! Chefs of this delicacy are required to have a license to serve this potentially life-threatening, poisonous fish. (Hakone).
3). Smooth ‘sake'. (Kanazawa)
4). Kaiseki pudding, courtesy of Ryokan Kurashiki – sliced Matcha cake with a local Aurora grape and sweet Japanese pear, crafted with the up most care and presented with a seasonal maple leaf. (Kurashiki)
5). Pork Ramen. This dish can be found all over the country, from cheap and cheerful to Michelin star standard. My favourite ramen restaurant is Ippudo, which can be easily found in all the major Japanese cities. Head to their flagship restaurant in Ginza for the best experience. (Tokyo)
6). Traditional Japanese breakfast served at the Ritz-Carlton – perfect for the Western palette – complete with miso soup, sticky rice, grilled fish, fresh fruit yogurt and matcha tea pancake. (Kyoto)
7). Green tea (‘ocha’). Served after a sushi lunch as a palette cleanser.
8). Our wonderful ‘kaiseki’ multi-course dinner at the very traditional Tanabe Ryokan. (Takayama)
9). Delicately fried shrimp ‘tempura’, served in a warm ‘soba’ noodle soup. (Arashiyama, Kyoto)
10). Colourful ‘sake’ bottles on Pontocho. (Kyoto).
11). The speciality of Hiroshima – ‘Okonomiyaki’ – a savoury pancake made with noodles. Prepared right in front of you on hot plate. (Hiroshima)
12). A food blog from Japan wouldn’t be complete without perfect ‘nigiri’ sushi. (Kanazawa)
13). The speciality of Osaka - ‘Takoyaki’ - octopus dumplings served with pickled ginger, a tangy sauce and ‘bonito’ flakes. (Osaka)
14). Chilled beer - the ideal evening refreshment. (Tokyo).
15). ‘Katsu’ curry. ‘Tonkatsu’ (breaded pork), perfect sticky rice and pickled ginger. (Tokyo)
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