The peculiarities and secrets of the most unusual cuisine in the world began to be revealed quite recently. There is an opinion that this was largely due to two talented chefs who lived and worked in the twentieth century. The first is Kitaji Rodzandzin, who went down in the history of local cuisine as a man who decided to supplement his meal with quality service (with music and cute Chinese women) and beautiful dishes that he himself made. The other is Yuki Teiichi, known as the founder of the Kitte Restaurant. Having diluted traditional Chinese dishes with European elements, he subsequently worked for a long time to bring their appearance to perfection and, as time has shown, succeeded in this. But it all started much earlier.
They say that modern Japanese cuisine is over 2500 thousand years old. The number was not chosen by chance. According to legend, just at that time the god Inarisama brought rice in his own staff, which since then began to grow on these lands and which later became a distinctive feature of Japanese cuisine. Interestingly, from the earliest days of the locals, this cereal was both a valuable food product and a symbol of prosperity, which was kept by the leaders in okura – barns.
Despite the fact that a lot of water has flowed under the bridge since then, rice, it seems, has not lost its special significance. Even today, the Ministry of Finance of this country is called Okurase, or the Ministry of Barns.
It is difficult to believe that the ancient Chinese initially held meat in high esteem, and this is not an assumption, but the results of archaeological research. It was later a shortage of game on the islands that forced them to try other ingredients, including fish. Along with them, the ancestors of modern Japanese ate shellfish, seaweed and all kinds of seafood. According to scientists, it was this diet that allowed today’s residents of the land of the rising sun to earn the proud title of a nation of long-livers.
Studying the origins of the development of Japanese cuisine, scientists were amazed at how well the ancients knew the properties of the foods they eat. Judge for yourself:
- they ate fish and other marine life raw without any harm to their health. Simply because at that time they were already seasoned with wasabi – Japanese horseradish;
- they had already learned to smoke meat;
- they created natural refrigerators, which at that time were dug holes up to 3 m deep;
- they knew how to preserve food using salt as a preservative;
- they tasted puffer fish several thousand years before our era and, judging by the results of excavations, successfully introduced it into their diet.
In the XNUMXth – XNUMXth centuries AD, Japanese cuisine changed somewhat. It was influenced by China, thanks to which the locals fell in love with soybeans, noodles and green tea. Moreover, the Japanese managed to adopt the philosophy of the inhabitants of the Celestial Empire, within the framework of which meat was not eaten, and meat-eating itself was considered practically a sin, since it showed disrespect for animal life. The most interesting thing is that such views persisted in the local cuisine until the XNUMXth century.
The later period in the development of Japanese cuisine is also of great interest to scientists. It coincided with the active development of science, art and culture. It was then that a special set of rules of behavior at the table was created and the first changes in serving and serving dishes began to be traced.
With the advent of samurai, table behavior and the ability to eat correctly became an art. Interaction with Europeans has also been observed, resulting in the introduction of meat dishes in local cuisine. However, old beliefs or dedication to tradition sometimes prevailed, at least that was the impression. According to some literary sources, sometimes in the Japanese, one smell of pork or beef could provoke fainting.
Be that as it may, today Japanese cuisine is considered one of the most ancient, varied, delicious and healthy. Many of her dishes have become firmly established not only in the menus of popular restaurants, but also in the diet of individual families. They say that the secret of her success lies in the careful selection of foods, the beauty of serving dishes and a special attitude towards food in general.
Over the years of its existence, distinctive features have also emerged in Japanese cuisine:
- Mandatory division of the meal into the beginning, middle and end, while there is no strict designation of the first and second courses in Japanese cuisine.
- Seasonality. They say that the locals do not like satiety, but are content with little. That is why they prefer to cook different dishes exclusively from seasonal foods and in small quantities.
- Colorfulness. In this country they love to “eat with their eyes”, therefore they attach great importance to the design of dishes.
- A genuine love for rice. Believing in its exceptional benefits, this cereal is consumed here with pleasure three times a day: as part of all kinds of dishes and even alcoholic beverages (sake).
- Special attention to seafood, including seaweed. Here they eat all kinds of fish, but it is interesting that local chefs have to attend a special school to develop the skills of cooking fugu.
- Rare use of meat and dairy foods for food. Yakitori – chicken kebab with vegetables – is a pleasant exception to the rule.
- Genuine love for vegetables.
Basic cooking methods:
Due to the fact that local chefs try to change as little as possible what is already great, there are not so many traditional methods of cooking in Japanese cuisine:
Japanese cuisine is not only about sushi. It is fabulously rich in all kinds of dishes, meanwhile, they stand out especially among them:
Sushi Edomae. Their main difference is in the cooking method. They are made in the same way as in the Edo period, dating from 1603-1868.
Fugu fish. The same fish, the cooking process of which requires care and skill from the cook, otherwise poisoning cannot be avoided. Most often it is part of such dishes as: sashimi, yaki, karaage. Interestingly, the Japanese themselves eat it no more than 1-2 times a year due to its high cost.
Kuzhira. Whale meat dish. Not a regular at local tables, however, it is popular. True, in order to avoid misunderstandings caused by rage at the sight of such a delicacy on the menu, restaurants warn tourists about it in advance. Moreover, in English.
Wagyu. Beef with a huge amount of fat, which makes it look like marble. Dishes made from it are incredibly expensive, since it is not uncommon for Kobe cows to be watered with beer and massaged to obtain such meat.
Unusual fruits and berries. For example, square watermelons, Yubari melons, which are grown in a region with private snowfall.
Otoro. A dish of rice made from incredibly fatty tuna that literally melts in your mouth.
Kaiseki’s kitchen. A kind of Japanese version of haute cuisine with over 100 years of history. It is part of a full meal, the process of preparing and laying out dishes for which is considered a whole art.
Tempura. A dish that actually comes from Portugal. Just at some point, the locals saw how Portuguese missionaries were cooking vegetables in batter and reworked the recipe in their own way. In their version, fish and mushrooms are also fried in batter.
Three-clawed turtles. A platter of fatty, jelly-like turtle meat. It is highly regarded for its high collagen content and medicinal properties. This delicacy is said to increase libido and improve male strength.
Undoubtedly, Japanese cuisine is interesting and delicious. But most importantly, it is also very diverse. The best confirmation of this is the top unusual dishes that can discourage Europeans. The funny thing is that they successfully coexist along with real works of culinary art, and sometimes are popular. Among them:
Dancing octopus. Although it is not alive, it is processed with a special soy sauce that makes the tentacles move slightly.
Basashi is horse meat. A favorite local delicacy, which is often served raw. In some restaurants, visitors can be offered for tasting pieces from various parts of the animal – from the mane, belly, sirloin.
Natto is an extremely slippery soybean with a characteristic “odor”.
Inago-no-tsukudani is a Japanese delicacy made from locusts and other insects, consumed with a sweetish soy sauce.
Shirako. In fact, this is the semen of shellfish and fish, which is also consumed raw.
Health benefits of Japanese cuisine
The wisdom of generations and a special attitude to food have made authentic Japanese cuisine one of the healthiest in the world. The latter is supported by the minimum heat treatment of foods, thanks to which they retain a maximum of useful substances, and the absence of fatty foods, and the state of health of the Japanese themselves. There are no obese people among them, but there are many slender, active and cheerful people. And their average life expectancy exceeds 80 years.
Based on materials Super Cool Pics