There is more to Japanese cuisine than sushi!

In Dining to Tell 
japanese

Have a try of these delicious Japanese dishes

Most people will associate Japanese cuisine with sushi, don’t get me wrong I absolutely love sushi and would probably have it several times a week. However, Japanese cuisine is incredibly diverse and full of flavour, and in Dubai we are lucky enough to have a plethora of restaurants offering up a range of delectable dishes.

Japanese cooking utilises a number of ingredients and flavour combinations that are unique to that region, there are also many interesting fusions that have happened over the years, both western and South American influences. These have all created a rich cuisine that should be celebrated and more deeply explored.

Chawanmushi

This is a type of Japanese hot appetizer, it is an egg based custard dish, flavoured with salty soy sauce and topped with shitake mushrooms, shrimps and other savoury morsels. It is a creamy and slightly sweet bowl of goodness. This is the perfect dish to warm you up and put a smile on your face.

TOMO restaurant at Raffles Hotel has a sterling reputation for providing authentic Japanese cuisine and is one of the few places that serves the traditional Chawanmushi dish, we highly recommend booking a table to try this one and a few other delightful dishes!

Japanese and Peruvian fusion

The Japanese immigration to Peru started in the 1800s; there were rumours of gold and prosperity in this country across the ocean. Since then there has been a strong community bond between the Japanese and the Peruvians, which is demonstrated through the fascinating fusion cuisine of the two nations. The cuisine is known as Nikkei and it is much more than simply fusion, the Japanese took Peruvian dishes and added their own Japanese twist to it, creating a truly unique and delicious cuisine in its own right.

In Dubai Ají at Club Vista Mare on the Palm is treating everyone to a Nikkei inspired menu. Particularly tasty is the Cebiche menu; especially recommended is the Maguro Nikkei, a classic tuna cebiche with hints of yuzu and lotus root. Delectable and memorable!

Katsudon

Chicken Katsu is a very simple and comforting Japanese dish, it is either a chicken or pork culet coated in panko breadcrumbs, flattened and fried and then served with a variety of side dishes and sauces. It is usually served up on a bed of rice with pickled vegetables and a Japanese mayonnaise. Because this dish is cooked in a vegetable broth it is both moist and crunchy, making it a dish full of flavour and texture.

Miyako restaurant in the Hyatt Regency in Deira has a selection of katsudon dishes, including a Gyu Don, which is made with beef, creating a stronger tasting plate of food. Or you can try their tempura prawn variation if you are looking for something a little lighter. All are served with steamed rice with a side of refreshing and healthy miso soup.

Okonomiyaki

Okonomiyaki is seriously indulgent comfort food. Okonomi means ‘what you like’ and yaki means ‘grill,’ it is a savoury pancake made with flour eggs and cabbage and they drizzled with rich tasting Japanese mayonnaise, okonomiyaki sauce, dried seaweed and fish flakes. If you are looking to sample this dish I would really recommend you do it with an empty stomach as it is quite heavy and filling…but a salty, sweet, savoury, hearty taste explosion!

Manga Sushi is a quirky Japanese restaurant in the Dubai Mall and Jumeirah, the design is stunningly kitsch and the food is modern Tokyo inspired. Their Okonomiyaki is just one of the delicious and homely meals on offer at this not to be missed venue!

Miso Soup

Made with a dashi broth made from fish stock, miso soup is a traditional Japanese dish. The dashi stock is mixed with a miso paste, made from fermented soybeans and salt, giving it that strong distinctive flavour. Seasonal ingredients are then added, but most commonly it will be served with tofu, seaweed, mushrooms and daikon. If you have never tried miso soup I would recommend it as a starter to your Japanese meal, although strong on taste it is a super light and a refreshing appetizer.

TOMO serves a selection of traditional Miso soups, if you fancy something a little different then try the Kani Jiru, which comes with sweet king crab. Wakame at the Sofitel Downtown has a classic Miso soup served with tofu and its namesake Wakame, which is a type of traditional Japanese sea vegetable.

Yakitori

Yakitori is a Japanese style grilled chicken skewer, they are traditionally street food however, are a delicious side or main course for any meal. The chicken is commonly seasoned with a Tare sauce, a thick soy sauce, but every chef and region has their own variation, including teriyaki sauce, cayenne pepper or spicy wasabi. There is also robatayaki, where different meats are skewered and slowly cooked over a fire; the meat will be mixed with vegetables, similar to a kebab.

TOMO is an excellent location to sample a variety of yakitori, the chicken skewers are mixed with leeks and green peppers and you can even add in additional ingredients if you are feeling adventurous. Armani/Hashi has an enviable robatayaki selection, featuring delicacies such as jumbo squid and chili miso and Wagyu beef short ribs with black truffle, perfect for something a little more indulgent.

Gyōza

Gyōza dumplings are one of my favourite dishes, lovely little parcels full of meaty goodness with a delicious umami flavour, complete with a sour dipping sauce…having a craving for them even just writing about them. The reason they are so moreish is because of their light wrapping, they are delicate and flavoursome, meaning you can quite happily keep popping them in your mouth. They really are a great way to start your meal.

TOMO at the Raffles Hotel is famous for its home made Gyōza dumplings with either pork or chicken, simple but delicious! At Wakame in the Sofitel Downtown they have a delicious beef Gyōza with a spicy Ponzu shichimi dipping sauce. Or you can try the Shinjuku style pork Gyōza at Armani/Hashi, just how they would taste fresh of the street in Tokyo!

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