Explore Japanese food and the many ways to enjoy it. Sushi, ramen, bento boxes and more are all part of Japanese cuisine. Learn more with these blog posts: Japanese Food: Beyond Sushi, The Traditional Japanese Breakfast, and Yakiniku: The Ultimate DIY Barbecue.
Photo by Toshihiro Gamo

Photo by Toshihiro Gamo

Let’s face it: sushi has evolved (or arguably, devolved) far from its traditional Japanese roots. Offerings with cream cheese, pineapple, and barbecued meats all purport to be sushi, but aren’t exactly authentic. There’s a reason it’s called a California roll and not a Tokyo roll.

This doesn’t mean that it’s bad to like these menu choices, or for restaurants to offer them. All chefs, including sushi chefs, should feel free to experiment and offer anything they think will delight their guests. But with sushi so far from its origins, how closely to traditional sushi etiquette should we hold ourselves? Will you look like a dork if you bow to the sushi chef? (Answer: probably, even though this would be expected in Japan). (more…)

Posted by on August 3rd, 2015

Aji nigiri with grated ginger and shiso at Naoe. Photo by Ed Fisher

Aji nigiri with grated ginger and shiso at Naoe. Photo by Ed Fisher

With fresh fish so easy to come by, it can be hard to sift through Miami’s slew of sushi options to find the true diamonds in the rough. These four locations that will please your taste buds in ways that only the highest quality fish and perfect vinegar-to-rice ration can.
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Posted by on November 12th, 2013

Photo by Seth Anderson

Photo by Seth Anderson

We all know Chicago is famous for deep-dish pizza and hot dogs — but what about its sushi? As sushi’s popularity has skyrocketed, the city has met the demand with some truly noteworthy sushi restaurants. With the help of Gino Williams of Chicago Alphabet Soup and Devin Ruddy of Gears, Beers, and Grub, we compiled a list of Chicago’s hottest sushi spots. Ittadakimasu!

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Posted by on October 15th, 2013

Photo by Filip Wolak

Photo by Filip Wolak

Featuring fresh ingredients and creative interpretations from the skilled hands of sushi masters, today’s post features five of the best sushi spots in New York City. With recommendations from popular food bloggers Malini Horiuchi of The Restaurant Fairy, Yvo of Feisty Foodie, Jean-Philippe of I Just Want to Eat, and Michael of New York Food Journal, you won’t have any doubts about how delicious the food will be. From Sasabune to Sushi Yasuda, here are the top five picks:

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Posted by on October 8th, 2013

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If there’s one thing which causes me to roll my eyeballs, it’s a restaurant that serves both Chinese and Japanese food. Whenever I see a restaurant proclaiming “Chinese and Japanese Food” or “Sushi and Chinese Food,” I’ll bet that there’s a good chance it should be avoided.

Now there are a couple of obvious reasons why combination Japanese and Chinese mix like oil and water. For one, many of these restaurants are geared towards customers who perceive little if any difference between the two — imagine a diner who considers sushi and kung pao chicken to be of common ilk. While not as bad as three-cuisine restaurants (like the restaurant I saw in St. Petersburg, Russia which proclaimed “Pizza – Sushi – Wok”), combination Chinese and Japanese restaurants have such a low common denominator that the result often isn’t pretty. (more…)

Posted by on August 20th, 2013

Daikokuya ramen. All photos by Bun Boy Eats LA

Daikokuya ramen. All photos by Bun Boy Eats LA

When I first moved to LA, my only background in ramen was of the Cup O’Noodles variety. Then I began to get Japanese ramen at my local haunt, Atch Kotch, but this was before tonkotsu ramen began to hit it big here, and it wasn’t exactly love at first sight.

I had a lot of trepidation before writing this article. Not being of Asian descent, I questioned whether I had the background to be any kind of authority on ramen. After diving in deep, I realized I had a LOT to learn and a lot more ramen joints to try out! Of course, I was happy to remedy this.

There are four main types of ramen broth: shio (salt), shoyu (soy sauce), miso (soybean paste), and tonkotsu (pork bone).

My experiences with the often simple (read, bland) shio and shoyu broths were very “meh.” That wouldn’t stop me from slurping them down in seconds, however. Especially once spicy components were added. And then tonkotsu took over. (more…)

Posted by on May 14th, 2013

Bluefin tuna. Photo by InvernoDreaming.

Bluefin tuna. Photo by InvernoDreaming.

Co-written with Betsy Suttle

With the recent $1.76 million sale of a single bluefin tuna in Tokyo, bluefin tuna – the poster child for sustainable seafood – is front page news again. These apex predators fetch such high prices because their populations are too low to support the demand, primarily fueled by the sushi market.

What’s Going On With Bluefin Tuna?

There are several species of bluefin tuna, and all of the world’s populations have declined dramatically in recent decades. Bluefin tuna are warm-blooded top predators that live for more than 20 years and are slow to mature. Due to their value, bluefin are taken at rates faster than they can repopulate. Many bluefin landed in today’s fleets are younger and smaller animals that haven’t had a chance to reproduce, further reducing their ability to bounce back from the immense fishing pressure. (more…)

Posted by on February 21st, 2013

Fried Jidori Chicken. Photo by naftels

I first encountered Jidori chicken last year at the Skyline restaurant atop the Huntley Hotel in Los Angeles. Having never heard the term, I asked the hotel’s events director seated at my table. “It’s like Kobe beef,” she explained, “but for chicken.”

Unlike Kobe, however, Jidori does not correspond to a specific region of Japan. Instead, the term roughly translates to “from the ground.” Jidori chicken refers to a type of mixed-breed domestic free-range chicken known for its robust flavor. The original Jidori chicken began when a precious pure breed of chicken called Hinaidori was crossed with the Rhode Island Red to create Akita Hinai-jidori, with Akita referring to the prefecture of Japan, and Hinai referring to the town. The chickens are fed an all-vegetarian diet, including clover, tomatoes, and apples. They are delivered the same day of slaughter, ensuring freshness — so much so that Hinai-jidori chickens are served sashimi-style. Yup, raw. (more…)

Posted by on September 24th, 2012

Photo by LingMuse

Summer is in full swing and that means barbecues all across the country are being lit to produce some beautiful food. While it can be easy to fall back on the typical hamburgers, hot dogs, and brats, this is a great time of year to explore more interesting ways to put your grill to work and use it as a central entertaining piece. From Argentina to Japan, countries across the globe provide the inspiration needed to host a fantastic BBQ party with delicious eats. Here are a few tips to make your next BBQ a success! (more…)

Posted by on August 7th, 2012

Kewpie mayonnaise. Photo by Joe Marinaro.

What comes to mind when you hear someone mention Japanese cuisine? Chances are sushi, sashimi, tempura, sukiyaki, ramen and tofu are at the top of most people’s list. And while those dishes are certainly very Japanese, that’s not all we eat. Much of contemporary Japanese cuisine takes cues from countries as near as China and as far-flung as the US. Japanese-style Chinese food is one popular hybrid, but we have also yoshoku: Japanese-style Western food. Yoshoku borrows freely from French, Italian, American, German and other Western cuisines:  think of it as pan-Western cooking. Just like the average dish in a “pan-Asian” restaurant in the west is totally unrecognizable to an Asian person, most of what you’ll find sold as yoshoku in Japan is likely to strike a Westerner as weird.   (more…)

Posted by on September 16th, 2011

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