Western-style food in Japan

Light reading about how Western-style food came into existence in Japan.

Speaking for myself only, I dislike this kind of food. Japanese food in Japan is incredible and I didn’t get tired of eating it 6 weeks straight.

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I also love Japanese food (my favorite cuisine), but I enjoy a lot of yoshoku too. While I don’t love all, I do think there are a lot of yoshoku dishes that are homey, and delicious. I treat them as their own thing, certainly not like a version of what originally inspired them.

I like omu rice, but I would never substitute when I want an actual omelette for omu rice. When I want something simple for dinner, omu rice is one of things I might whip up, especially since I often have rice on hand.

I also enjoy Japanese curry and the occasional katsu curry (I prefer curry alone). It’s not even remotely close to real Thai or Indian curries, but you cannot deny how delicious this is with white rice. If done correctly, it can have a bit more spiciness than what you would find in most Japanese dishes. I prefer katsu alone, and I will say that if given the choice of katsu or a schnitzel (insert any other country specific fried cutlet dish), I have enjoyed the katsu more. Kudos to the strong frying technique and the use of panko to give the dish the crisp but airy texture that makes the dish feel less oily and heavy.

One of my quick dinner cheats is also to premake a bunch of hamburg steaks that I freeze and cook for dinner when I’m short on time. I also like when they marry pasta and mentaiko, for example - a nice blend of east and west.

I’m ok on the distinctly Japanese flavored Western foods like unique burger or pizza toppings - definitely not my thing on the average day. The only other yoshoku dish that I’m very ‘meh’ about is the white stew or cream stew dish. It’s tasty on its own, but I can eat more than few bites when I’m ready to move on. It reminds me too much of a chowder that I’m supposed to eat with rice, and it just throws me off.

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Too bad this BBC’s coverage wasn’t available to Oberlin College dining hall users a few years ago.

I very much like Western-style Japanese and Korean baked goods (cf: the Korean Paris Baguette chain). They’re often a lot lighter than their Western equivalent, and the “milk breads” make terrific French toast.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold