For the solo traveler, this can mean exceptional dining, food tours, and a cultural experience that will enhance your trip.
On the new episode of my solo travel podcast, I share what I learned about Japan through the food and dining I enjoyed on my recent trip including:
The fundamental construction of a Japanese meal. How the Japanese believe that every meal should include something from the earth and something from the sea.
Why rice is a staple of the Japanese diet and why you can expect to have rice with every meal!
Other foods you can expect to have with every meal
The Traditional Japanese cooking style, Washoku which embraces the “Rule of 5”
5 colors: white, black, red, yellow, green
5 cooking techniques: raw, grilling, boiling, steaming, frying
5 flavors: sweet, sour, spicy, salty, & bitter
Why food is really an art form in Japan.
The top 10 traditional dishes you will find in Japan
Sushi. Basically, fish wrapped in rice.
Sashimi. Raw, thinly sliced fish accompanied by a bowl of rice.
Tempura. Battered and fried seafood or vegetables. What is special about this batter is it has to be made with ice-cold batter and cooked in extremely hot oil. Usually served with some sort of dipping sauce.
Tsukemono - Japansese pickles. Not just cucumbers but a variety of vegetables!
Yakitoiri. Bite-sized cuts of chicken on a skewer.
Udon - fat, dense, wheat-flour noodles
Soba - long thin, firm buckwheat noodles
Sukiyaki - one pot dish of beef, vegetables and Tofo cooked in a sweet soy sauce. (My last meal in Tokyo was Sukiyaki - and what a wonderful experience it was!)
Kaiseki - food served alongside a traditional Japanese tea.
Why the Japanese use so many small dishes.
What to do with dipping sauces
What to expect in a traditional Japanese restaurant - proper etiquette, posture, how to greet the servers and chefs
What to do with chopsticks! What NOT to do!
Which cities to visit if you are a foodie!
Food tours, including which food tours I went on and why
Drinking tours - beer, saki, mixed drinks
How to choose the best food tour for you - regardless of destination and why I think food tours are extremely valuable to the solo traveler.
Specific restaurant recommendations for Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka (53:00 minute mark)
In summation, you will learn that Japanese food is not just sushi, that’s for sure! There are philosophical elements found in Japanese cuisine that are a window to part of the culture. Don’t skim over this integral aspect of Japanese life!