Lonely Planet presents Japan’s most authentic dishes – direct from the kitchens where they were perfected.
From street-food vendors to Michelin-starred chefs, Japan’s best local cooks share their passion for food and 60 of their region’s classic recipes – from steaming soups and silky ramen noodles to fresh, hand-rolled sushi.
• Takoyaki – octopus balls
• Sukiyaki – soy-simmered beef
• Okonomiyaki – savoury pancakes
• Torinabe – Chicken and vegetable hotpot
• Iwashi sushi – Sardine sushi
• Tonkatsu – deep-fried breaded pork cutlet
• Teppo-jiru – miso soup with crab
• Soki soba – Okinawan pork rib ramen with a pork broth
• And more!
It would be easy to assume that Japanese cuisine is all about the food itself. But no. Or at least, it’s not only about the food. The cuisine of this teeming archipelago of 3000 islands is a living part of its culture.
In Japan, it’s believed that food should be devoured with all five senses: not just smell, taste and sight, but also touch (the texture of the ingredients, the smooth warmth of bamboo chopsticks), and even sound (a high-end ryotei is oddly quiet, the better to appreciate the experience of eating).
Any Japanese meal – from a simple home-cooked fare to the most structured, formal kaiseki – aims to blend each of these elements for balance and nutrition. Unsurprisingly, this provides myriad benefits for our health, as does the act of lingering over our food and cherishing each mouthful with all our senses – the latter has been proven to aid digestion and portion control. It’s clear that meals taken the traditional Japanese way are good for us. That they are such a pleasure to consume, too? Well, that’s just a happy coincidence.
With sumptuous, original photography and inside stories and tips from Japan’s best local cooks of the history, legend, emotion, and process behind each recipe, From the Source – Japan represents global food at its most thrilling. The perfect book for foodies and travel enthusiasts alike!