Welcome to the world of umami, the fifth basic taste long recognized in Japanese cuisine. Japanese food has taken the world of culinary, from sushi to ramen, with its unique flavor profiles and artistic presentation. One of the best ways to start your culinary exploration of Japanese cuisine is through their delicious appetizers.
But what are the most popular Japanese appetizers? Ahead, we’ll delve into some of the most famous Japanese appetizers and what makes them so unique. So, put on your chopsticks, and let’s get started!
7 Easy Japanese Appetizers
What are the most popular Japanese appetizers? From comforting miso soup to refreshing cucumber salad, here are the seven popular Japanese appetizers.
Miso soup is a traditional Japanese dish consisting of a savory broth called “dashi” and fermented soybean paste known as “miso”.
It often includes diced tofu, sliced scallions, and seaweed and can be seasoned with other ingredients like mushrooms or shrimp. Typically, this menu is served as an appetizer and is considered a staple of Japanese cuisine.
Gyoza, or Japanese dumplings, are small, crescent-shaped pockets of thin dough filled with a tasty mixture of minced meat, vegetables, and seasonings. Traditionally, the filling is made with ground pork, cabbage, garlic, green onions, and ginger.
They are typically pan-fried until crispy on one side and then steamed in water until cooked. They are served with a soy-vinegar dipping sauce and are a popular appetizer or snack in Japanese cuisine.
Onigiri is a popular Japanese snack consisting of small, triangular-shaped balls of rice wrapped with nori seaweed and filled with various savory ingredients such as salmon, tuna, or pickled plum.
These rice balls are often shaped by hand and can be found in convenience stores, street-side vendors, and restaurants all over Japan.
Chicken karaage is made of small pieces of marinated chicken lightly coated with flour or cornstarch and then deep-fried until crispy and golden. Typically, the chicken is marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and other seasonings that infuse the meat with a delicious umami flavor.
Often served with a slice of lemon, chicken karaage is a perfect appetizer or main course that is both crispy and succulent.
Tempura batter is a light and crispy Japanese-style batter traditionally used to coat and deep-fry seafood, vegetables, and other meats. It is made from a mixture of flour, cornstarch, baking powder, eggs, and ice-cold water that is whisked together until smooth.
When the batter is fried, it creates a delicate and airy texture that contrasts nicely with the savory flavors of the food it’s paired with. Due to its versatility, tempura batter is a popular choice for appetizers.
Agedashi Tofu is a delicious Japanese appetizer that features silken tofu coated in potato starch and lightly fried until crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
The fried tofu is typically served with a warm dashi broth made from a combination of soy sauce, mirin, and bonito flakes and topped with sliced scallions and grated daikon radish.
Japanese Cucumber Salad
Japanese cucumber salad, also known as “kyuri no sunomono” in Japan, is a light and refreshing salad commonly eaten as a side dish. It is made with thinly sliced cucumbers marinated in a mixture of rice vinegar, sugar, salt, and soy sauce, giving it a tangy and slightly sweet flavor.
The salad is often garnished with sesame seeds and shredded wakame seaweed, making it healthy and rich in minerals.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is finger food in Japanese?
In Japan, finger food is often referred to as “Otsumami (おつまみ)”. It refers to small dishes and appetizers that can be eaten with the hands and are often associated with midnight snacks or beer snacks. These dishes are usually served in izakayas, Japanese-style pubs, and at home gatherings and parties.
What are good appetizers to go with sushi?
Some good appetizers to go with sushi are chicken karaage, gyoza, cucumber salad, miso soup, and salted chicken wings.
What are the 2 things served with sushi?
The two mandatory things to serve with sushi are wasabi and soy sauce. Sometimes, pickled ginger is also served.
After delving into the delicious world of umami and examining some of Japan’s most popular appetizers, one thing is sure: no matter what kind of cuisine you’re in the mood for, nothing will go wrong with Japanese appetizer recipes.
From classics like onigiri and gyoza batter to inventive options such as tempura batter and chicken karaage, these dishes provide myriad flavors — salty, umami, sweet, or spicy — that are sure to satisfy to savor along with other popular Japanese foods. So don’t waste any more time; grab your chopsticks, round up your friends and family, and try Japanese appetizers today!