Cultural Heritage

Japanese Food Site

With Japanese food (“washoku”) being added to UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list in 2013, the cuisine is drawing more international attention now than ever before.

In cities across the globe, rustic staples like ramen, onigiri and izakaya dishes are gaining popularity.

The word “washoku” was added to a Japanese dictionary in the 1920s. Perhaps the introduction of Western food spurred the necessity to define the characteristics of Japanese food. From the range of fermented products to the umami flavor in dashi stock, Japanese cuisine reflects Japan’s unique tradition and rich sensibility of honoring the four seasons.

On this site are everyday dishes of Japanese food culture, also touching upon annual traditions and the history of commonly used ingredients and tools.

Goho: The Five Basic Cooking Techniques

The essence of Japanese cuisine is said to consist of the “five flavors” the “five colors” and the “five techniques.” The balance to be obtained between the inherent savory umami of ingredients and the other five traditional tastes — sour, bitter, sweet, spicy hot, and salty — is basic. The five colors are white, black, yellow, red, and blue/green. These colors are kept in mind when serving dishes, considering the presentation of the food in terms of the serving vessel and flowers or other decorations used alongside. The five techniques are cutting (particularly significant for foods eaten raw), simmering, grilling, steaming, and deep-frying.