Soba noodles are Japanese noodles cuisine made from buckwheat. Soba means buckwheat. There are many varieties of soba, hot and cold, with meat, with seafood, or with eggs. Also, some regions have local sobas made with their local special products, and it’s usually a big part of local industries. You need to be careful, though, because some people have severe allergies to buckwheat. I recommend that you take an allergy test first before you try soba.
Okonomiyaki is one of the Teppanyaki foods, which means “foods grilled on an iron plate”. It’s made with flour, eggs, veggies, meat, seafood, and sometimes noodles, and cooked on an iron plate just like a Korean barbecue. It kind of looks like pancakes or pizza. As toppings, they use okonomiyaki sauce, mayo, soy sauce, or dried seaweed. Since it can be very cheap, okonomiyaki has become a very popular home cooking or festival dish.
お好み焼きは鉄板焼き料理の１つです。鉄板焼きは“grilled on an iron plate”という意味です。小麦粉、卵、野菜、肉、海鮮、ときどき麺類などでできていて、ちょうど焼肉のように鉄板の上で調理します。見た目はパンケーキとかピザみたいな感じです。トッピングとして、お好み焼きソース、マヨネーズ、しょうゆ、ノリなどを使います。お好み焼きはとても安いので、家庭料理やお祭りの料理として人気です。
Shabushabu is one of the Japanese hot pot cooking. In a hot pot cooking, all the ingredients such as sliced meat, veggies, mushrooms, or seafood are uncooked, so you cook them for yourself in a hot pot and eat them with condiments and dipping sauce. In that way, you can eat foods freshly cooked. Even though shabushabu can be prepared very cheaply, it is known as a luxury dish for some reasons, but it’s true that shabushabu can be a dish for celebration or special occasions.
Sukiyaki is one of the Japanese hot pot cooking. They cook sliced beef, veggies, mushrooms or tofu using a soup called “Warishita” that is a mixture of sugar, soy sauce and sake. Sukiyaki has a wide variety depending on the region. Some people like to keep it dry, like Korean barbecue. Some people want to simmer the ingredients. Some people might completely boil them. It is common for Japanese people to have a discussion about what true sukiyaki is.
Takoyaki is a Japanese flour-based food. It’s sometimes called “Japanese octopus balls” in English. They are round dough balls with a piece of octopus meat in them, and they usually put Takoyaki sauce and mayo on them. Takoyaki is a common street food that you can find during festivals. It is common home cooking in the western part of Japan, though.
Misoshiru is “Miso soup”, which consists of dashi and miso paste. Dashi is a Japanese soup stock usually made from fish or kelp, and miso is a fermented soybean paste. Pretty much any food can be used as ingredients for miso soup, like fish, veggies, shellfish, meat, beans or seaweed. The most common ingredients for miso soup are probably tofu, seaweed and green onions. It’s a little bit time-consuming to make miso soup if you are not used to it, but you can find instant miso soup at stores.
Katsudon is one of Japanese rice-bowl dishes. It has deep-fried breaded pork, egg and some veggies on top of rice. Katsu is an abbreviation for “Tonkatsu”, which means deep-fried breaded pork, and Don is an abbreviation for “Donburi”, which means rice-bowl dish. Katsudon is known as a good luck food because the word “Katsu” is a homophone of “winning”.
Udon is a Japanese noodle dish. It’s made of wheat and is usually thicker and chewier than soba or ramen noodles. There are thousands of variations of udon, like hot, cold with soup, without soup, with dipping sauce. Ingredients vary from place to place, and their names change depending on the ingredients they have. For example, if it has deep-fried tofu, it’s called “Fox udon”. If it has rice cake, it’s called “Power udon”. If it has an egg, it’s called “Moon Viewing udon”.
Tofu is a food made by coagulating soy milk. It’s also called soy bean curd in English. Tofu is known as a low-calory healthy food because the ingredients are only soy milk, coagulant and water, so many people eat tofu when they are on a diet. Also, tofu is sometimes used as a substitute for meat.
Natto is a traditional Japanese food made from fermented soybeans. Natto is so nutritious and healthy that some people have it as breakfast. It’s usually served with rice. Because of its unique smell and texture, most people from western countries don’t find it tasty, but I don’t see so many Japanese people who don’t like natto.