If any of you are wondering what that title of the post means, it is Japanese for “it is delicious!” and that is exactly how I feel about Japanese cuisine. Sadly though, when people think of Japanese food, the first thought that comes to mind is sushi, seaweed, rice balls (onigiri) or Ramen noodles. But Japan has a much wider range of tasty food than just those few items and I was able to learn that a few years ago.
During the summer of my junior year of high school, I stayed in Osaka, Japan for six weeks and fell in love with a variety Japanese food. One of my favorite dishes is Gyuudon, which is a beef bowl with rice and caramelized onions.
Yes, the strips of beef look like a squishy mess, but trust me when it hits your mouth, it is a sweet delight.
Another dish I liked was Hot Pot (Shabu Shabu), which is a Japanese variation of a Chinese meal. Consisting of a variety of meat, seafood, and vegetables that are dipped into a hot pot of boiling water and different sauces, Hot Pot results in a broth which is eaten with rice and noodles. Eating this with a group of people is a funny experience, especially when fighting over the last piece of anything on the table.
I also tried chicken Karaage, which is covered in wheat flour or potato starch and fried in a light oil. It is much better than any of the fried chicken that I’ve tried here. My friend Chantal, who went with me to Japan and is picky eater, practically survived on this and gyuudon.
When I returned home, I immediately began looking for convenient places where I could find the dishes in America.
I have not been to many Japanese restaurants in America, but the one that I go to regularly is Yoshinoya, a Japanese restaurant chain that fortunately opened on 42nd Street around the same time I returned home. The cooks make a gyuudon that is just as good as the one I had in Japan.
Now, I am hungry, so I will stop here. But, since this post is about Japan and in light of recent tragic events there, I encourage everyone to send any support you can to the country during this time.