What Makes Japanese Food So Great?

The Japanese are definitely world leaders in so many things — technology, fashion, disaster preparedness, quality control and, most importantly, food.

Through the years, people from across the globe have only grown their love for Japanese food — you name it, snacks, drinks, and of course, sushi. There’s just something about the way Japanese food is prepared that easily captivates people’s interest.

According to world-famous sushi chef Yosuke Imada, sushi is special because “The important thing about cooking is to enjoy the ingredient’s natural flavor. With that as the core, sushi is the nearest thing to it.” This is because preparing this dish is generally about maintaining the original qualities of the ingredients even if certain “treatments” are applied to make the dish even more enjoyable.

But, if you ask the biggest fans of authentic Japanese cuisine, Japanese food is so awesome because of countless other things. Rounded up below are just five of them.

1. It is colorful.

Natural vibrant colors instantly signal to the brain that the food is good or healthy. Typically, excessive cooking dulls the original pigments that ingredients have. Also, when the original color of the food changes, the texture follows suit.

Take vegetables, for example, once their natural hues change, they become limp and mushy as well. This is always the case with greens and root crops.

However, the way Japanese cuisine is prepared manages to preserve the lovely colors of ingredients. Therefore, it’s always visually pleasing and quite appetizing.

2.  Dishes often have a distinct “character” to them.

With preserving the original flavors of ingredients as the main principle of Japanese cooking, the unique characteristics of ingredients are maintained well even if they are mixed with each other. You get to fully appreciate how calculated the integration of certain items is in the recipe to produce a taste that is completely unique to the dish.

3. It’s a clear representation of Japanese good values.

Some describe Japanese cuisine as “culture on a plate”. You get to understand the Japanese way of life through food. With sushi, for example, you automatically get the sense that Japanese people thrive on rice and fish because of the country’s location, weather, and even spiritual beliefs.

Innovations with traditional Japanese food recipes are also representative of the Japanese inclination to invent for the purpose of convenience, health, and other values that have become paramount due to the evolution of lifestyles.

4. Attractive presentation is a chief requirement.

If good looks always impress you, then Japanese food will not fail to catch your eye. If there’s any cuisine wherein artistic presentation is an ever-present factor, it is definitely Japanese cuisine.

There are those “kawaii” (meaning cute in Japanese) bento meals, adorable edible garnishes, and creative designs for sushi to make you go “wow.”

5. Great attention to detail is given during preparation.

Every component of a Japanese dish plays a very important role — even if it’s just a small role — which is why top skills are crucial. Top sushi chefs always say that all the elements of a great sushi are fully intentional.

For instance, gunkan maki sets itself apart from other types of sushi because of the special nori wrapped around the rice and other ingredients. The crisp seaweed wrap is not just intended to come up with a different design, but it is also to add a crunchy quality to sushi, which is mostly composed of soft ingredients. Additionally, it allows for a few more ingredients to fit into a sushi bite. Overall, it creates a different sushi experience that diners can take great delight from.

Other types of sushi, meanwhile, have to be sliced or cut a certain way. Again, it makes for a more interesting design but chefs mostly pay attention to the cuts to enhance the flavor and the “eating” experience. Some raw ingredients can be difficult to bite through and adding cuts to them will help you eat them more easily.

It is practically the same with how a steak is prepared by a top-rated steakhouse wherein certain treatments are made to make the steak options “hypoallergenic” yet still gastronomically satisfying.

There’s still a bunch of other reasons why Japanese food is simply awesome, and the best way to discover them is through experience. Treat yourself and your loved ones to fine Japanese food and, for sure, you will better understand why the world simply cannot get enough of it.

Jenene Bronwin Batts is the Senior Marketing Coordinator at Tourism Development & Investment Company or TDIC. She oversees website maintenance, PR requests, marketing initiatives and all general guests’ enquiries for the company’s destinations, including KOI Restaurant & Lounge and Boa Steakhouse in Abu Dhabi.