eToko Japan image

UNIQUE JAPANESE FOOD


Back

Last update August 21, 2011




Other Contents
Sightseeing in Japan
Hiragana and Katakana List
Japanese Word List
Japanese Proverbs


食べ物  Food Tabemono [tah-beh-moh-noh]
*: Kanji representation of the food name seldom used in modern day Japan.
  ume boshi   うめぼし, 梅干(し)
 Pronunciation  [woo・meh・boh・she]
Apricot Pickles  or pickled Japanese apricots

umeboshi Ume boshi refers to pickled ume (Japanese apricot) fruits prepared through a series of steps: salt-marinated for several days; dried under the sunshine; then soaked in vinegar together with red shiso leaves. Featuring the strong acid taste (due to the citric acid content), ume boshi almost works like a bell to the Pavlov's dog for many Japanese. Despite its acute tartness, it gives the eaters a stimulating zest and it's one of Japanese soul foods. Popularly used as a filling for onigiri, or often placed at the center of gohan in bento (portable meal), both as a garnish and food preservative. Kishu ume is famous ume pickles produced in the region called Kishu, Wakayama prefecture.

  ume shu   うめしゅ, 梅酒
 Pronunciation  [woo・meh・shuh]
Apricot Wine  or Japanese apricot liquor

umeshu Often homemade for domestic consumption, ume shu is a liquor made from ume appricot fruits, shochu, and sugar (usually rock sugars), soaked together. The rich, sweet taste and fruity aroma can be enjoyed as an aperitif or nightcap; on the rock, straight or soda mixed. The apricot fruits used for preparing the liquor can be eaten; e.g. dropping one in the served liquor as a decoration. A variety of ume shu products are commercially available.

  ushio jiru   うしおじる, 潮汁
 Pronunciation  [woo・she・oh・gee・roo]
Ocean Soup  or clear seafood soup

ushiojiru Ushio is the word indicating the "sea water", and the entire bowl of the dish itself can be a representation of a sea, containing seafood. Mainly seasoned with salt (sometimes added with a small amount of shoyu), it's a clear soup containing several pieces of fish or other seafood as mi (ingredients). The added marine food further enhances the flavor, delicately harmonizing itself with the proper soup taste.
(Photo: Ushio jiru with sliced shiro negi and tofu.)

  wakame   わかめ, 若布
 Pronunciation  [wah・kah・meh]
Green Sea Vegetable  or wakame seaweed

wakame Wakame is a kind of seaweed (scientific name: Undaria pinnatifida) popularly consumed, just like nori and kombu. It has the brown color when it is alive, and when dipped in hot water it instantly turns green. Commercially available wakame products are usually in green, salted and sometimes dried. Used in various dishes: miso shiru, su no mono, nimono or as a topping for udon.
(Photo: Nama wakame or undried wakame rinsed to remove the salt grains.)

  warabi   わらび, 蕨
 Pronunciation  [wah・rah・bee]
Fern Sprouts  or Japanese bracken (brake) sprouts

warabi Warabi is sansai found on sunny places such as hillsides or mountain slopes. The curly-headed sprouts of the plant (Pteridium aquilinum) in early spring are eaten, after treated with boiling hot water containing wood ash or juso (baking soda) to prevent food poisoning. The carcinogen (ptaquiloside) which may be contained in the plant can be almost removed by the said treatment; and an generally accepted idea is that only tons of consumption every day can induce cancer. Popularly eaten as ohitashi, tempura, or mi (an ingredient) for miso shiru.
(Photo: Nimono of warabi with aburage.)

  warabi mochi   わらびもち, 蕨餅
 Pronunciation  [wah・rah・bee・moh・chee]
Fern Dumplings  or Japanese bracken (brake) starch dumplings

warabimochi A cool summer dessert often brought by traveling vendors, sometimes, fresh from the workshop. Traditionally, it's made from the root starch of the warabi plant (Pteridium aquilinum), combined with glutinous rice. However, due to its complicated production process, the authentic warabi mochi using the warabi plant starch is hardly found today and is therefore, expensive. More popularly available types are made of kuzuko, sweet potato stach or tapioca. Honey and kinako are spread over the dumplings when eaten.

Next