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UNIQUE JAPANESE FOOD


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Last update August 12, 2011




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食べ物  Food Tabemono [tah-beh-moh-noh]
*: Kanji representation of the food name seldom used in modern day Japan.
  tai yaki   たいやき, 鯛焼(き)
 Pronunciation  [tah・ee・yah・key]
Fish Pancake  or a fish-shaped pancake filled with bean jam

taiyaki Comprising two words: tai (a sea bream) and yaki (baking), the name refers to a pancake in the shape of sea bream with an filling. It's produced by baking wheat batter in a pair of fish-shaped iron molds (for both sides of fish) with the filling ingredient topped on the batter in one mold (for one half of the fish). Then, the both molds are joined to complete the fish shape. An is the traditional filling, but other ingredients such as chocolate and pastry cream are also used. As a new type of this sweet, there is a white taiyaki with soft and mochi-like texture, which can be eaten deliciously even after it is cold.

  take no ko   たけのこ, 竹の子/筍
 Pronunciation  [tah・keh・noh・koh]
Bamboo Shoot  or a bamboo sprout

takenoko Take no ko or literally "a bamboo child" is a young sprout shooting from underground bamboo stems. One of spring-harbinger wild field foods loved by people for the particular teeth-responding feeling when chewing. Usually boiled in katsuo bushi broth and seasoned with soy sauce, or used as the ingredient for takenoko gohan (small-cut pieces cooked with rice). Wakatake ni is also a popular recipe which cooks take no ko and wakame together in soy sauce based broth.
(Photo: Wakatake ni with take no ko and wakame.)

  tako yaki   たこやき, 蛸焼(き)
 Pronunciation  [tah・koh・yah・key]
Octopus Dumpling  or fried batter balls with an octopus piece inside

takoyaki Tako yaki is a street food originated in Osaka, and made from ball-shaped batter fried with a small piece of octopus flesh inside. Often served in a boat-shaped container, pasted with a sauce and sprinkled with beni shoga, ao nori (powdered green laver) and kezuri bushi. Another food similar to takoyaki is akashi yaki (Akashi: a city in Hyogo prefecture), which contains a larger amount of egg than flour in the batter. It's served on a wooden plate and eaten dipped in a clear soup.

 tara no me   たらのめ, たらの芽
 Pronunciation  [tah・rah・noh・meh]
Tree Sprout  or taranoki sprouts

Tara no me is a young sprout of the tree called Taranoki or Aralia elata. It's another seasonal wild food consumed in early spring. Its mildly bitter taste is pleasing to many refined palates. The most popular way to enjoy the sprouts is tempura, however, sauté or ohitashi can also make a nice side dish.

 tempura   てんぷら, 天ぷら
 Pronunciation  [teh・m・pooh・rah]
Deep Fries  or battered and deep-fried foods

tempura A well-known Japanese cuisine outside the nation, prepared by frying batter-coated vegetables, seafoods, fish, meat, etc. in deep oil. The batter coating of tempura is specifically called koromo, namely, "a robe or clothes". A variety of other foods than listed above (almost anything) can be cooked as tempura: Bananas, cheese, naga imo, beni shoga, or even ice cream. Tempura is usually eaten dipped in ten tsuyu (soup for tempura) blended with daikon oroshi, but simply sprinkling shoyu or salt is also a nice way to enjoy the dish. The word tempura sometimes may also refer to satsuma age in some western regions.

 teri yaki   てりやき, 照り焼き
 Pronunciation  [teh・ree・yah・key]
Shiny Grill  or foods grilled with thick soy sauce and sugar

The literal meaning of teri yaki is "shiny grilling", and the term refers to the cooking technique to grill or broil fish or meat fillets until the food surface becomes "glossy" due to the sugar content in tare (thick seasoning sauce). The tare for teriyaki is made of soy sauce, sugar, sake (nihon shu) or mirin and applied to both sides of the food during cooking. The most popular foods prepared using this technique are chicken and buri (a kind of yellowtail).

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