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Traditional Favorite Japanese Foods

What are the Foods that Japanese Eat at Home?

Japanese are known to have one of the world’s longest life expectancies,and they have very few case of obesity which contributes to health problems. Japanese women live an average 87 years with men following closely at 80 years. The longevity of the Japanese people is mainly attributed to their healthy diet which is largely made up of fish, vegetables, and plants. One defining quality is that Japanese cuisine emphasizes quality and not quantity.

Traditional and popular Japanese foods for sale in food market in Tokyo, Japan.

The Japanese eat food in moderation and with a lot of variety. Eating lots of different foods is a natural way to get the benefits of a balanced diet. For example, a typical Japanese meal is comprised of 1 soup, 3 side dishes, and a main dish. Japanese often practice the rule to eat until you are 80% full and then stop. Their cuisine and dining focus on the beautiful presentation of food, encouraging people to eat with their eyes. And, chopsticks, unlike the Western fork, tend to slow the eating process, as food is lifted to the mouth in smaller bites, delivering more taste and enjoyment.  All these habits help the Japanese maintain healthy eating habits.

These are the seven pillars of the typical Japanese meal:

  • Rice
  • Noodles (ramen, soba, somen, and udon)
  • Vegetable including sea vegetables and daikon radish
  • Soy (soy sauce, tofu, miso,edamame)
  • Fish such as salmon, mackerel
  • Green tea
  • Fruits, like tangerine, persimmons and Fuji grapes
Miso Soup

Miso Soup

Some of the most common types of dishes served in Japanese cuisine are:

Noodles

Noodles are a standard component of Japanese meals and can either be taken cold or hot depending on the season. There are different types of noodles and their mode of preparation differ depending on the kind of accompaniment.

Rice

Osaka steamed rice

Rice is served with every Japanese meal. Daily rice served with meals is usually steamed and lightly seasoned. But, rice may be cooked in a variety of ways and served with different spices and adding delicacies to make it more nutritious. Some popular rice dishes are:

Rice bowl – mainly served at breakfast. You can mix with raw eggs and soya sauce or eat it with traditional and distinctively flavored, fermented soybean-based natto or other toppings.

Donburi –this is plain cooked rice served with some food on top. It’s found in high-end restaurants but is also common in Japanese homes and local restaurants. You can serve donburi with stewed beef (gydon), tendon, chicken and egg and katsudon.

Onigiri (rice balls) – is cooked rice wrapped in nori seaweed. You can season it lightly with salt and filling such as pickled japanese plum, dried bonito shavings or salmon. It is inexpensive and usually available in convenience food stores. You can also get it easily in general restaurants.

Curry rice – plain cooked rice with japanese curry sauce. Serve it with additional toppings to increase flavor.

Sushi – refers to any dish that contains sushi rice flavored with seasoned rice vinegar.

Fried rice – it’s also known as chahan. You can add a variety of ingredients in fried rice and the most common ones are eggs, peas, negi (green onions), pork and carrots.

Kayu – a form of porridge, deemed suitable for sick people because it is easily digestible. Make kayu by slowly cooking rice in lots of water. It’s thicker than any other rice porridge and you can garnish it with umeboshi.

Seafood dishes

grilled fish

There are a variety of seafood available in Japan from its lakes, rivers, oceans and seas. The different fish species are prepared in different ways and play a big role in Japanese cuisine. Eaten as a staple in most Japanese households, fish may be prepared boiled, deep fried, steamed or grilled.

The most preferred variety is yakizakana, or grilled fish. Fish that can be prepared this way are saba, sweet fish(ayu), sea bream, aje, salmon and mackerel pike. You may also enjoy seafood raw, as long as it’s fresh and prepared correctly. A special art and not commonly prepared at home, raw fish is frequently enjoyed as a treat in specialty sushi restaurants, in the form of sushi, sashimi, nigiri and chirashi.

Vegetables

Apart from the predominance of seafood in the Japanese diet, vegetables play a large part in their diet. Commonly, these vegetables are simmered in dashi broth (the base for miso soup) , steamed, simply boiled or sautéed. They may be served with soy sauce or mayonnaise.

Edamame at Osaka Japanese Restaurant

Edamame

Beverages

Most Japanese meals are accompanied with green tea. During warmer months, meals are served with mugicha (cold barley tea). Beer and sake are alcoholic drinks that may be served with dinner.

Dessert

Sweet Japanese-style cakes with fruits and cream.

The most common dessert includes rice cakes, sweet beans, sweet rice cakes, frozen treats, and gelatins. Manju, for example, is a confection made of a filling of sweetened red bean paste and a chewy outside skin made of flour, rice powder and buckwheat.

Japanese cuisine is very varied and highly refined over centuries of Japanese culture. In a culture that values simplicity, beauty, good health and moderation, no wonder the Japanese cuisine is one of the world’s healthiest and most admired. Whether you have the opportunity to try native Japanese cuisine in Japan, or visit an authentic Japanese restaurant near you, like the original Osaka Japanese Bistro in Las Vegas, we hope that you will get to know and enjoy a variety of Japanese foods.

 

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What are the Different Types of Sushi?

El Pollo Loco sushi roll example of uramaki sushi

Osaka’s El Pollo Loco Sushi Roll

Japanese cuisine is now mainstream and wildly popular throughout this country and much of the world. However, whether you’re a seasoned sushi connoisseur or a novice looking to order your first roll, terms on Japanese restaurant menus can be confusing. From nigiri to maki, here’s a rundown on the different varieties of sushi you may encounter in Japanese sushi restaurants.

Different Types of Sushi

Simply put, the term sushi in Japanese cuisine describes any dish prepared with vinegared rice. This distinctive and specially prepared sushi rice is combined with a variety of other ingredients. Raw seafood is the most recognized sushi ingredient. However, sushi is also prepared with cooked seafood, vegetables, egg, tropical fruit, and even meat. Sushi is commonly served with soy sauce, pickled ginger, and wasabi (Japanese horseradish).

Sushi was originally prepared by street vendors as a snack food. The bite size pieces were perfect for eating on the go. As sushi rapidly grew in popularity and spread across Japan, different varieties were introduced. Now, sushi-making is an entire art in itself, with hundreds of different varieties of sushi available around the world. But these will all fall into several main categories that you can recognize anywhere you go.

Maki

Maki, or makizushi, literally translates to “rolled sushi”. It is what most people envision when the word “sushi” is mentioned. The tube-shaped rolls are created using a bamboo mat referred to as a makisu. Maki is generally wrapped in seaweed (nori), but the seaweed is occasionally replaced by cucumber, soy paper, or shiso leaves. Rice is located directly inside the wrapping, and the filling is in the center. Maki rolls are usually cut into six or eight pieces.

8 piece futomaki sushi roll on a plate

Maki can be broken down into even more specific types:

  • Futomaki – Futomaki translates to “large, thick, or fat rolls”. Like the name suggests, futomaki sushi rolls are wide (usually 2 to 2.5 inches in diameter). They are filled with multiple fillings, and seaweed is usually on the very outside.
  • Hosomaki – Conversely, hosomaki means “thin roll”. These maki rolls have one filling, surrounded by rice and seaweed. Tuna and cucumber are some popular fillings in hosomaki sushi. Due to the convenient, bite-sized pieces, hosomakizushi is a popular snack item in Japan.
  • Temaki – Temaki means “hand roll”. Temaki is a cone-shaped piece of seaweed filled with ingredients that spill out of the wide end of the roll. Temaki is eaten by hand and should be consumed relatively quickly, as the seaweed absorbs moisture from the inside ingredients and becomes soggy.
  • Uramaki – Uramaki translates to “inside-out roll”. This Westernized sushi variety differs from traditional maki in that the seaweed is inside the roll and rice is on the outside. The common California Roll is an example of uramaki sushi. In Japan, where sushi is traditionally eaten by hand, this maki variety is rather uncommon.

Nigiri

Osaka tokujyo nigiri

Osaka Tokujyo Nigiri

Nigiri, or nigirizushi, means “hand-pressed roll”. It is the most traditional sushi type. Nigiri consists of an elongated mound of sushi rice that has been hand pressed by the chef. The mound of rice is then draped with a single topping. Some common toppings are tuna (maguro), salmon (sake), octopus (tako), freshwater eel (unagi), and egg (tamago). A small amount of wasabi is oftentimes placed under the topping. In most restaurants, including Osaka Japanese Bistro, one order of nigiri is two pieces.

Gunkanmaki is a type of nigirizushi that has a piece of seaweed surrounding the perimeter. This strip of seaweed helps contain a loose or soft topping, such as sea urchin (uni) or salmon roe (ikura).

Chirashi

Chirashi bowl fresh seafood in ricebowl

Osaka Chirashi Bowl

Chirashi, or chirashizushi, means “scattered sushi”. It is a bowl filled with sushi rice and a variety of different toppings. Toppings generally include raw fish and vegetables. Chirashi sushi is popular in Japan, because it is filling and comparatively easy to prepare.

Sashimi

Osaka sashimi platter of fresh sliced fish arranged in beautiful display

Osaka Sashimi Plate

While not technically sushi, sashimi is on most Japanese menus near the sushi. Sashimi is simply fresh, raw fish or meat cut into thin slices. Sashimi is not served directly with rice, but it is often served over a garnishment, such as shredded white radish (daikon) and/or shredded carrot. Like sushi, sashimi is eaten with soy sauce and wasabi. While it is considered appropriate to eat sushi by hand, it is proper to eat sashimi with chopsticks. There is a lot to know about sushi, as there is about Japanese cuisine, but with some basic knowledge you’ll be able to find your way through just about any sushi menu.

Find the Best Sushi at Osaka Japanese Bistro in Las Vegas

Osaka Japanese Bistro was the first Japanese restaurant in Las Vegas. Based on authentic Japanese recipes and never compromising quality, we have become the largest sushi-maker in Las Vegas, serving everyone from our guests in our restaurants in Las Vegas and Henderson as well as many of the food buffets up and down the Las Vegas Strip. With our award winning chefs and large selection of sushi, including maki, chirashi, nigiri and sashimi, you could say we know sushi.  Stop by Osaka today and enjoy the best fresh sushi in town.

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Hibachi or Teppan Grill: What’s the Difference?

Osaka teppan yaki grill lobster onion and veggies with open flame

Here at Osaka, after 50 years of hard work to be not only the first but the best Japanese restaurant in Las Vegas, our commitment to excellence means providing an excellent experience for our guests, whether they’re seated at our lively sushi bar, relaxing in a quiet tatami room, or gathered around one of our exciting teppanyaki grills.

Teppan or Hibachi Grill?

Guests are sometimes curious about the difference between teppanyaki and hibachi. The confusion is understandable as both refer to grilling over open flame. “Hibachi-style” is sometimes used in the United States to refer to teppanyaki cooking. At some point in the past, English speakers in North America started to use the word “hibachi” to refer to a small and portable barbecue grill usually made of cast iron that featured an open-grate design. Hibachis typically use charcoal to heat food and are called “shichirin” in Japanese. Some contemporary models of hibachis in the United States are electric and are used to cook Japanese dishes indoors.

Old Japanese charcoal hibachi (charcoal brazier / fire bowl), isolated on white.

Traditionally, the Japanese hibachi is a heating device with an origin that may date all the way back to the Heian period (794–1185 AD). “Hibachi” translates to “fire bowl,” referring to the round or cylindrical shape of this open-top container designed to burn charcoal or wood for heat. The container is made from ceramic or wood and is lined with metal. Hibachis were sometimes also used as portable heaters or built into furniture for ready cooking. Many models are highly decorative.

Teppanyaki-style cooking, on the other hand, uses a solid, flat iron griddle to cook food, most often in a restaurant setting. These grills are typically heated with propane. Diners sit around these large, gas-heated hot plates and enjoy the culinary display of talent and skill as specially trained teppan chefs grill seafood, beef, pork, and chicken dishes to perfection. The flat surface is also well suited for cooking small and finely chopped accompaniments such as rice, vegetables, and eggs.

Teriyaki Cooking

What about teriyaki cooking, another popular Japanese food style? Teriyaki is a method of cooking with a sauce of the same name. Teriyaki translates as “glossy grilled.” During preparation, the meat is coated with this thin, light sauce that’s actually a sweet glaze made from soy sauce, sugar, sake, and mirin — a sweet rice wine. As the meat cooks, the chef continues to brush on more teriyaki sauce to keep the meat evenly coated and give it the very appealing glossy look. The result is a dish with a salty, slightly sweetened, rich taste. Teriyaki cooking is traditionally used in Japan to flavor fatty fish like tuna and eel, but its popularity in the US has meant it is also now also widely enjoyed with chicken, salmon and beef. Originally used only for cooking, a thicker version of teriyaki sauce is now popular on the Western dinner table as a dipping sauce.

Enjoy Osaka Japanese Bistro Teppanyaki Grill and Tempting Teriyaki Dishes

Osaka japanese restaurant teppan yaki chef over flame cooking lobster, steak and other foods

The Osaka teppan grill is a popular spot on any evening at Osaka Japanese Bistro. Our talented teppanyaki chefs grill up the most tempting and tasty freshly grilled dishes from steak and lobster to chicken, salmon and shrimp, along with a mouthwatering selection of appetizers, grilled vegetables, rice and other side dishes. Bring your family and friends and enjoy an exciting authentic teppanyaki grill experience.

Looking for great teriyaki dishes? At Osaka you can also enjoy enjoy chicken, beef, and pork dishes grilled in our own carefully crafted teriyaki sauce. One of our most popular selections is the yakitori: grilled chicken on skewers brushed with aromatic and perfectly seasoned teriyaki sauce. Our popular house combination dinners allow you to combine beef, chicken, or pork teriyaki with our delicious shrimp and vegetable tempura, or opt for the beef and chicken teriyaki combo dinner for twice the enjoyment.

Stop by Osaka Japanese Bistro on W Sahara in Las Vegas, or our restaurant in Henderson for a truly authentic Japanese meal, or give us a call to reserve a teppanyaki grill experience today.

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Las Vegas’ Best Sushi Catering Service

You’ve enjoyed the tastes and textures of Osaka Japanese Bistro’s sushi at our legendary Las Vegas restaurant or maybe at our Henderson location. But did you know we also offer that authentic sushi taste, great fresh ingredients, innovative sauces, mouth-watering selection, and award-winning sushi chef artistry in our catering business as well?

Osaka japanese restaurant sashimi plate

If you have an upcoming event like a wedding or business banquet, or if you run a restaurant, buffet or other institutional food service, consider adding popular and tasty Japanese sushi and sashimi to your menu. Osaka sushi is authentic and exciting, colorful and visually beautiful, adding just a touch of the exotic to any menu. With many sushi varieties to choose from, we can help you add variety and fun to virtually any menu, with something for every palate.

And, when you choose Osaka catering in Las Vegas for your sushi needs,  you’re in good company.

Premier Catered Sushi Provider for the Las Vegas Strip

If you’ve enjoyed tasty sushi while visiting a Las Vegas casino buffet, chances are it was sushi prepared by Osaka Catering. That’s because Osaka provides 3 out of 4 pieces of all the sushi served on the Las Vegas Strip, including at the buffet services of many famous casinos. Meeting the needs of these big, highly selective clients is no easy task. In keeping with their high standards of quality and customer service, the top casinos demand fresh, authentic, exciting sushi rolls carefully and expertly prepared by highly-trained sushi chefs – and that’s precisely what they receive from Osaka. On any given day, Osaka delivers upwards of 20,000 pieces of freshly-made, delicious sushi to our growing number of catering clients on the Strip and around the Las Vegas Valley.

Serving the Best Catered Sushi in the Osaka Bistro Tradition

Kai's special sushi prepared by Osaka Catering Las Vegas

Osaka Catering was built on the quality standards set by the Nakanishi family when they opened the first Japanese restaurant in Las Vegas back in 1967. And, while Osaka Japanese Bistro is still going strong after all these years, and serving one of the most extensive and authentic Japanese menus in town, with such enormous demand for our famous sushi, our catering business has grown even faster.

To maintain our trademark high quality and freshness standards, our professional sushi team uses only the freshest, tastiest fish and other ingredients, sourced daily and prepared with care by highly trained sushi chefs. Our kitchen is a new, state-of-the-art production facility that is equipped to help us produce the very best sushi to our own high standards, and do it all on time. We then deliver our sushi with care, freshly made and beautifully presented, to provide a delicious and memorable catered experience for every event and every guest we serve.

Order Catered Sushi for your Event

Fresh sushi with fish roe close up by Osaka Japanese Restaurant sushi catering division

You don’t have to be a famous casino to provide your guests with the same high-quality sushi and sashimi. From banquets and parties to casinos, restaurants and institutions, Osaka can deliver a selection of fresh Japanese sushi in whatever quantities you need. We’ll work with you or your food service team to determine the selection mix and quantity desired, and go over details from delivery to service to clean up. We’ll make sure every detail is handled so that your guests enjoy a wonderfully fresh and exciting sushi experience, and you can sit back and relax.

Make your special event even more memorable with fresh, authentic Japanese sushi made with the best ingredients and based on traditional Japanese preparation methods. Contact Osaka Catering today for more information.

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All About Sake

Planning to dine on Japanese food in Las Vegas?  Consider making your Japanese meal even more of an authentic and enjoyable experience by adding a glass or two of your preferred sake. Sake is a popular Japanese alcoholic drink made of fermented rice, koji yeast, and water. It occupies a special place in Japanese dining, with its distinguished history and it even offers some health benefits.

Sake: An Ancient and Enjoyable Japanese Tradition

Japanese sake barrels stacked in a Shinto shrine.

In Japan, sake is known as nihonshu (sake is a broader term that means liquor).  Local Japanese may also commonly call it seishu (“clear liquor”) when ordering. Sake is actually a beer and not a wine, since it is a beverage fermented from a grain (rice) and not from fruit. However, it is not carbonated and is closer in taste to wine than beer.

Typically, sake carries an alcohol content of 15% to 20%. Sake has a more delicate flavor when compared to wine which is more acidic. The minerals in Japanese water lend their own distinctive flavor.  These elements help make sake a bit gentler on the stomach than wine or other alcohols, although it still carries a full alcohol hit that you will discover if drinking it on an empty stomach. A health benefit of drinking sake in moderation is its selenium. As soybean dishes also offer a healthy amount of selenium, your thyroid will benefit from a visit to a Japanese table.

Originating in China, sake was first popularized in Japan and has been brewed there for at least 2,000 years.  Brewing methods were perfected in monasteries in the 12th to 15th centuries. After the invention of wooden brewing vats, mass production was now possible outside monasteries, resulting in widespread availability of the brew. There are over a thousand active sake brewers today, providing a wide variety of fine sakes to choose from. Regional varieties, based on unique combinations of rice varieties and types of yeast, have developed their own flavors, characteristics and fan bases.

Sake varieties for every meal or occasion

Among the many choices of sake, some favorite types stand out and are well enjoyed in Japanese restaurants, sushi bars and homes:

Tasty sake in black ceramics or tokkuri on black tableDaiginjo is a fragrant and highly sought-after sake. Served chilled, it has been painstakingly made from rice that’s highly polished. The percentage of the rice grain remaining is stated on the bottle.

Junmai daijinjo is its “pure rice” edition. Junmai is brewed strictly without additives like sugar or distilled alcohol that occur in Honjozo sake. Junmai sake—robust, traditional, often with memorably floral tones—is usually enjoyed at room temperature.

Nama, a sweet sake, is unpasteurized. It must be kept refrigerated. Nigorizake is creamy, sweet, and ricey—you’ll even find tiny rice bits in it.

The nihonshu-do (Sake Meter Value) is the specific gravity of a sake. It tells how much sugar created through fermentation turned from sweetness into alcohol. A high number such as 10 has traditionally indicated dryness in the dry-to-sweet scale.

Sake might remind those who enjoy it of apples or pears, or citrus zest, perhaps melon or cucumber. Some might be more reminiscent of nuts or caramel, and some has a captivating, vanilla-like scent. Other varieties have a mouth-feel like sherry, and, infused with yuzu or berries, can be served in the style of a dessert wine.

Enjoying the Sake Experience

Brought to the table in flasks called tokkuri, sake is paired with, of course, Japanese food or salty snacks. And most sakes go very nicely with Asian food in general.

Interestingly, as with grape wine, the drinking vessel will impact the taste. Connoisseurs may serve fine sake in crystal, to celebrate the aroma, much as wine-tasters do. Drinking from the elegant, saucer-like sakazuki, or perhaps a little, round ochoko, or even a wooden masu can add flair to festive occasions.

The most popular sake in Japan, soshu, is served cold. In contrast, junshu, a richer brew, can be enjoyed cold or warm. The pricey, aromatic jukushu is served at room temperature.

No matter how it’s served, when it comes, pour it out as an offering to others, and let others pour for you. After your dinner partner pours for you, take a sip before placing your sake back on the table.

As we’ve already noted, many fine sakes are best when chilled. Others might be perfectly delightful when gently warmed in a water bath. Different temperatures draw out different characteristics. Our experienced restaurant staff will be able to describe the nuances in temperatures.

Kamisama sushi roll and a glass of sake

Enjoy your sake with food like your favorite sushi rolls, or with a complete meal or a teppanyaki grill experience. Drink it with a delicious Osaka dessert, or enjoy it as a before or after dinner drink. However and wherever you enjoy sake, you will find it a satisfying and enriching experience. And when dining with us, please don’t hesitate to ask your server for recommendations for a fine sake to accompany your meal at Osaka Japanese Bistro.