Washoku Explained

Chirashizushi: Japan’s Colorful and Delicious Celebration Dish

Konnichiwa everyone! If you love Japanese food, you’ve probably heard of sushi. But have you tried chirashizushi? This colorful and tasty dish is a popular meal in Japan, especially during special occasions like birthdays and festivals.

Chirashizushi literally means “scattered sushi.” Unlike traditional sushi rolls, chirashizushi is a bowl of sushi rice topped with a variety of colorful ingredients such as raw fish, shrimp, vegetables, and egg. The ingredients are arranged on top of the rice in an eye-catching design, making it a perfect dish to serve at parties or celebrations.

One of the best things about chirashizushi is that it’s incredibly easy to make. All you need is some sushi rice, vinegar, sugar, and salt to make the perfect sushi rice. (*Or use sushi rice with a variety of finely chopped and seasoned vegetables mixed in.) Once the rice is cooked, you can start adding your favourite toppings. Some popular toppings include salmon, tuna, shrimp, tamagoyaki (sweet omelet), cucumber, and avocado. You can also add some wasabi or soy sauce to give it some extra flavour.

In Japan, chirashizushi is often eaten on special occasions such as Hinamatsuri (Doll Festival) and Kodomo no Hi (Children’s Day).

Hinamatsuri is a festival that is celebrated on March 3rd to pray for the health and happiness of young girls. On this day, families display a set of hina dolls, which represent the Emperor, Empress, and other court figures, on a tiered stand. They also enjoy a special meal with their loved ones, and chirashizushi is often served as part of the celebration.

If you’re interested in making chirashizushi at home, there are plenty of recipes available online. You can also find chirashizushi in many Japanese restaurants around New Zealand. So why not try this delicious and colorful dish today? It’s sure to impress your friends and family with its beautiful presentation and delicious taste!

Note: This article is written by ChatGPT and edited by the Washokuzine team.

Exploring the Delicious World of Washoku: Traditional Japanese Cuisine

If you’re a fan of Japanese culture or food, you may have heard of Washoku – the traditional cuisine of Japan that is gaining popularity around the world. Washoku is known for its delicious flavours, fresh ingredients, and beautiful presentation, making it a culinary art form that is deeply rooted in Japanese culture and history.

In this article, we’ll dive into the world of Washoku and explore its unique features, ingredients, and preparation methods. We’ll also highlight some popular dishes that you can try at home or when you visit Japan.

What is Washoku?

Washoku refers to the traditional cuisine of Japan, which has been developed over centuries and is deeply influenced by the country’s geography, climate, and culture. Washoku is characterised by its emphasis on fresh, seasonal ingredients, simple preparation methods (note: some Washoku is required complex preparation methods), and balance of flavours.

Washoku typically consists of a steamed rice (gohan), soup (shiru), and main/side dishes (okazu). The side dishes are often served in small portions on a tray or plate. The presentation of Washoku is also an important aspect of the cuisine, with chefs often incorporating artistic elements into their dishes.

Ingredients Used in Washoku

The ingredients used in Washoku are typically fresh, seasonal, and locally sourced. Some common ingredients include rice, seafood, vegetables, tofu, and soy sauce. Washoku also makes use of unique ingredients like wasabi, dashi (a broth made from seaweed and bonito flakes), and miso (a paste made from soybeans).

Preparation Methods in Washoku

The preparation methods used in Washoku are often simple and emphasise the natural flavours of the ingredients. Some common preparation methods include grilling, boiling, steaming, and frying. Many Washoku dishes also incorporate fermentation techniques, which not only enhance the flavour but also offer health benefits.

Popular Washoku Dishes

There are many delicious Washoku dishes that you can try, whether you’re in Japan or cooking at home. Some popular dishes include:

Sushi: Raw fish and other ingredients served on top of seasoned rice
Tempura: Lightly battered and fried seafood or vegetables
Miso soup: A soup made with miso paste, dashi, and other ingredients
Yakitori: Grilled chicken skewers
Okonomiyaki: A savory pancake made with cabbage and various toppings

Washoku is a culinary art form that is deeply rooted in Japanese culture and history. With its emphasis on fresh ingredients, simple preparation methods, and balance of flavours, it’s no wonder that Washoku is gaining popularity around the world. By exploring the world of Washoku, you can discover new and delicious flavours and gain a greater appreciation for Japanese culture. So why not try making some Washoku dishes at home or visit a local Japanese restaurant to experience the deliciousness of Washoku for yourself?

Note: This post was written by ChatGPT and edited by the team at Washokuzine.

Ekiben (駅弁・えきべん) boxed lunches to enjoy the local cuisine

Ekiben Boxed Lunches for Train Travel
on 01 Nov 2019 by Japan Video Topics – English

There’s something about Ekiben. I don’t know why, but when I travel by train in Japan, I eat Ekiben whenever possible.

It’s more expensive and less choices than Convini-Bento (Boxed lunches you can buy at a convenience store).
Still I want to buy it because, I think, it makes my ordinary train journey exciting and enjoyable.

What is Ekiben?

Ekiben (駅弁, railway bento) are a specific type of bento boxed meals, sold on trains and train stations in Japan.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

What does Ekiben mean in Japanese?

Eki (駅・えき) means ‘train station’ and ben (弁・べん) is, in this case, a short form of the word bento (弁当・べんとう), which means boxed lunch.

Are there any books about Ekiben?

Here are some Ediben related Japanese books:

旅鉄BOOKS 026 駅弁大百科
にっぽん全国100駅弁 鹿児島中央駅から稚内駅までEKB100!
駅弁味の陣2019 公式ガイドブック うまい駅弁 (オレンジページムック)

What is Eho-maki (Lucky Direction Sushi Roll) and why people eat it in silence on Setsubun (3 February) in Japan?

It’s Setsubun on 3 February each year in Japan.

“Setsubun (節分) is the day before the beginning of spring in Japan.” (From Wikipedia)

Setsubun is known for the special ritual called Mamemaki(bean throwing), but have you ever heard of Eho-maki?

It’s a sushi roll eaten facing that year’s Eho (lucky/good fortune direction) strangely in silence for good luck on Setsubun in Japan.
The Eho changes every year and the Eho for 2019 is east-northeast.

The following video “Lucky Eho Maki (Salmon Avocado Alasca Futomaki Sushi Roll) Recipe 福を呼ぶ恵方巻き レシピ” by ochikeron shows you how to make Eho-maki.
More about Eho-maki, ingredients and how to make directions can be found on the linked Youtube page.

I grew up in Hiroshima, and when I was little, I did Mamemaki (bean throwing and eating :)), but didn’t know about Eho-maki until I moved to Osaka for my university.

I was surprised (a bit shocked) when I first heard of the Eho-maki because a friend told me that her all family members would eat it in the same room, facing the same direction (the year’s Eho), in SILENCE!!!
Can you imagine that???

I think Eho-maki is now widely known regardless of the region in Japan.

Do you want to know how strange it is to eat Ehomaki in silence, and how it became widely known?
Ask someone who has tried Ehomaki or search articles online about how to eat Ehomaki.
I’m sure you will find some interesting stories.

I just also want to mention that Eho-maki food waste was on the news last year (2018).

‘Lucky direction’ sushi roll trend makes a wasteful winter’s end (THE ASAHI SHIMBUN on February 20, 2018)

I think it’s good to keep the tradition, but hope the food waste would be minimised this year.
Probably, one of the best solutions is to make your own Eho-maki as you need it!

Wagashi – Traditional Japanese Sweets

They are mostly made from rice or beans and sweetened with natural ingredients.
(My father has diabetes, but his Japanese doctor says it okay to eat wagashi, but not Western sweets.)

和菓子(Wagashi) … 和(Wa = Japanese) + 菓子(Gashi/Kashi = confectionery)
和食(Washoku) … 和(Wa = Japanese) + 食(Shoku = meal)

和 also has so many different meanings such as sum, harmony, concord, peace, peacefulness, serenity, calm, calmness and quiet.

Wagashi is not just sweets, different wagashi for each season or traditional occasions… it is so much more than that!

Watch the video and enjoy the art of Washoku, and its beauty.