Top 10 Fav Meal Series – Yoshoku!

Japan seems to be the only country in the world that accepts cuisines from the foreign world and adds enough flavor to create its own genre, which is In yōshoku (洋食 western food) nowadays. This style of Western-influenced cooking is originated during the Meiji Restoration era. The dishes are primarily Japanized forms of European dishes, often featuring Western names, but written in katakana (Japanese syllabary).

At the beginning of the Meiji Restoration (1868 to 1912), national seclusion was eliminated, and the Meiji Emperor declared Western ideas helpful for Japan's future progress. As part of the reforms, the Emperor lifted the ban on red meat and promoted Western cuisine. Yōshoku thus relies on meat as an ingredient, unlike the typical Japanese cuisine at the time. In the past, the term "yōshoku" was for Western cuisine, but due to the opening of more and more European restaurants in 1980s, people became aware of differences between European cuisines and yōshoku.

Yōshoku began by altering Western recipes for lack of information or adaptions to suit local tastes, but over time, yōshoku also evolved dishes that were not at all based on European foods, such as chicken rice and omurice (omelette rice). Elaborate sauces in Western recipes were replaced with tomato ketchup, demi-glace sauce, and Worcester sauce, etc.

Famous yōshoku dishes include Japanese curry, beefsteak, korokke (a deep-fried dish from French croquette. Made by mixing cooked chopped meat, seafood, or vegetables etc and covered in wheat flour, eggs, and Japanese style breadcrumbs for deep-frying), Nikujaga (stew dish of meat, potatoes and onion in sweetened soy sauce), Tonkatsu (deep fried pork cutlet), Naporitan (spaghetti with tomato ketchup or a tomato-based sauce), and omurice (an omelette made with fried rice, topped with ketchup).

Japanized western-style desserts are also a part of yōshoku. Castella cake is a perfect example. In the 16th century, the Portuguese reached Japan and soon started trade and missionary work. Nagasaki was then the only Japanese port open for foreign commerce. The Portuguese introduced many then-unusual things, such as guns, tobacco, and pumpkins. The cake could be stored for a long period of time, and so was useful for the sailors who were out on the sea for months. Over the years, the taste changed to suit Japanese palates.

So many delicious options. Don't watch the video below if it passed your normal meal time because you will definitely want to eat again. Credit to Japanology

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