第53話 : Love Month ブログシリーズ:「日本」のコレが好き!

Love Month: A blog series about the things we love in and about Japan


In celebration of the love month of February, I will be talking to you about the everything Marilou and I love about Japan.

Let’s talk food.

For food enthusiasts, Japan may be that one country that will offer you a wide range of variety of flavors may it be original or adapted. Japan has taken center stage in pioneering ground-breaking cooking techniques and serving food that are not only delicious but also an art from. Agricultural jobs are highly respected and farmers are revered for producing high quality meat, fruits and vegetables. With great nature comes great ingredients. Umami is a word widely used in the culinary word and is scientifically identified by a Japanese. It doesn’t end there. Did you know that Japan has taken over France in acquiring the most Michelin Stars in one country accumulatively?

Too much for the introduction. Let’s dive right in to our favorite foods in Japan. You will also get a bonus towards the end, so go through the entire blog!

Honestly, I had a hard time thinking about my favorites because I think the list will never end. In no particular order, I am going to reveal to you the Japanese foods that made great impact to me and has changed the way I eat.




Onigiri – This small portion of cylindrical or triangular shaped rice topped or filled with almost any Japanese dish you can think of is definitely one of my favorites. I have a special connection with onigiri because the first time I visited Japan, Mrs. Chiba would always prepare onigiri for me. Every time I get an onigiri from the convenience store, I would always attach this kind gesture to this humble ball of rice.


Oden – I love oden. My first closest experience with oden was in Korea. They have a similar way of eating simmered fish cakes, rice cakes and meat. The only difference is that in Korea, they are skewered and are sold in the streets. Every winter in Japan, I would always crave for oden and for a while now, it has become one of my comfort foods.


Ochazuke – You might be seeing a pattern of me choosing very simple types of food. Indeed, I lean towards milder tasting food than overwhelmingly spicy ones. Ochazuke is basically a rice dish with toppings with tea poured over it. The thing I love about it is how the tea accentuates the umami taste of your chosen topping while mellowing down the saltiness of the nori or the seafood. What is good food when it doesn’t give you the perfect marriage of all flavors.


Yakiniku – The thing I love about yakiniku is the social nature of it. While grilling meat around the table, you just can’t help but talk and bond with your family or friends. The downside is only smelling like smoked bacon after leaving the yakiniku place. Eat yakiniku at your own risk.


RamenRamen may or may not be the only dish that every foreign tourist wants to try in Japan. Because of the multitude of ramen restaurants that exist all over Japan, it is only logical to try a couple of ramen places around your hotel or your neighborhood. It may also be a considered sinful dish because of the amount of oil and sodium that comes with one bowl. On the brighter side, you can always start eating healthy tomorrow.


Natto – Okay, I do not know any other foreigner around me who eats natto religiously. It is known to be hated by foreigners, even by a handful of Japanese themselves. But to me personally, I genuinely enjoy the slimy texture it has to the tongue. Eating natto may feel gross to some, but it is an acquired taste. They might have to try it more than once.


Sashimi – Japanese cuisine might have changed how the world eats, but their greatest contribution to gastronomy is being true to the natural taste of food. Eating sashimi is like paying respect to the actual product of the ocean by consuming it in its purest form.  Some of my favourites are hamachi, salmon and uni.


SobaSoba or buckwheat noodles in English may be eaten chilled in the summer and with hot soup in the winter. Soba noodles are dense and chewy and has quite a strange colour for a noodle. Kitsune soba is my first love, while I also enjoy kakiage soba and tororo soba. The only problem I have is I am quite allergic to yamaimo. I can’t have too much of it.


Tsukemono – Last but certainly not least is the Japanese side dishes, tsukemono. They might be called side dishes but one must not just put them on the sidelines. Japanese cuisine isn’t complete without the tsukemono. Recently, I visited this quaint café just minutes away Kamakura station. There I tried for the first time a Japanese mochi dessert that came with a side dish. It blew my mind because my idea of a dessert is ultimately sweet. But this experience opened my taste buds to a new way of enjoying desserts.

I could go on and on about all the food that I love about Japan but one blog wouldn’t be enough.



I also asked Marilou, “what food do you love in Japan and why?” and she gave me her top three:

“It’s savory. It’s a perfect combination of saltiness (from the sauce) and tartness (of the pickled ginger). And most especially it reminds me of summer.”
Green Tea Mochi
“The sweet red bean paste goes well with the hint of bitterness from the green tea taste in the mochi.”
Rice bran pickles
“It’s healthy and it’s a good palate cleanser especially when eating savory dishes.”




As promised, I have a little surprise for you in the end. I also asked Boss, who is my boss and also a ghost writer on EXCEL English blog, about his favorite food and this is what he has to say. He wrote it in English by the way.

“My number 1 favorite dish is curry rice. This sounds quite childish but the moment I smell that pungent flavor, I would be on cloud nine.

Unfortunately for me is that my wife does not like it so much. So, the chances I can get for savoring it at home is only on a special day such as my birthday.

If you ask me for an alternative for curry rice, I will say won ton noodles or “wantanmen” in Japan. I’m originally a lover of all noodles but above all, wonton noodles are the most special especially if I cook it myself. My daughter inherited my gene, so she loves it likewise. We will eat wonton noodles even if they serve it to us every day till our dying day.”

If you liked this blog about food, I would love to write more. Just let me know!

最初に約束したように、最後にちょっとしたサプライズをみんなに贈るね。実は私のBoss(時々Excel Englishのブログも寄稿してくれてるよね)にも好きな食べ物を聞いてみた。で彼の回答がこちら。英語で回答をくれたよ。


-Teacher Mina the food lover #foodie

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