The Most Traditional Foods of Japan

The Top Traditions: Centuries-Old Food

Here are the most traditional and still extremely popular Japanese dishes.

Sushi and Sashimi

Sushi is one of the most famous foods from Japan, the concept likely introduced in the ninth century with the spread of Buddhism. Sushi originated from the process of preserving fish in fermented rice. Today it’s made with vinegared rice and fresh fish, presented in a number of ways and shapes.

The Japanese first enjoyed raw fish without the rice centuries before sushi came. “Sashimi” refers to any thinly sliced raw food, including raw beef and chicken. Fish and seafood are the most popular varieties now

More Common and Popular Japanese Dishes

Tempura is a dish of battered and fried fish, seafood, or vegetables. It was introduced by the Portuguese residing in Nagasaki in the 16th century. It is most commonly eaten using Ten-tsuyu dipping sauce made with fish-stock, mirin, and soy sauce. Grated daikon radish or ginger is added for extra kick.

Yakitori is bite-sized cuts of chicken grilled on a skewer. Every part of the chicken is used to avoid wastefulness, an important element of Japanese food culture. Because meat was largely forbidden for many centuries in Japan, yakitori has only been eaten since around the mid-17th century.

Miso soup accompanies any traditional meal. It’s made from dashi stock – either fish or kelp stock – combined with miso bean paste for a savory umami element. Seasonally, other ingredients are added – tofu, sliced green onions, fish, clams, and pork.

Udon is a thick and chewy wheat flour noodle. It’s delicious, inexpensive and versatile – enjoyed hot or cold and customized with toppings. There are many stories about its origins, and some say that the start of the milling technique in mid-1200 AD made possible making long noodles.

Soba is another noodle dish eaten in Japan for centuries. Made from buckwheat flour, soba comes in a long thin shape and firm texture and is very healthy. Also served in a hot broth or chilled with a dipping sauce, making it a delicious and healthy option any time of year.

Sukiyaki is a one-pot dish of beef, vegetables, and tofu cooked with a sweet soy sauce broth in a shallow cast iron pot. After banning eating meat for centuries, the Meiji period lifted it and the dish became very popular. It’s a way of enjoying Japan’s incredibly rich and tender wagyu beef.


Serving Traditional and Fusion in Bellevue

Experience both traditional as well as fusion dishes at your favorite Japanese restaurant in Bellevue, FLO. We hold true to real Japanese tradition in our serving style, our atmosphere, and our dedication to serve.