Tamago is Japanese for egg. This simple food is one of the most popular ingredients in Japan. Sometimes it is a component of another beloved dish, and sometimes it stands alone, but eggs can be found in a huge number of places, from top Japanese restaurants to street food vendors. As a country, Japan consumes the most eggs of any place in the world, so it’s not surprising to find them in so many popular Japanese dishes. Here is a closer look at how tamago is used in Japanese cuisine.
Unlike many places in the world, people in Japan like to eat their eggs raw. Raw eggs are used in many popular dishes, such as tamagokake-gohan, which is a dish that consists of rice topped with a raw egg and soy sauce, and an omelet that is filled with rice. Although many people in other cultures think of eating raw eggs as dangerous, people in Japan believe them to be safe if they are eaten within a specific window of time. Eggs are marked with a best-by date that indicates the window in which eggs can be eaten raw. After that, they must be cooked to be enjoyed safely.
Evolution of the Egg
Eggs are a quintessential Japanese food now, but this wasn’t always the case. From the 14th century onward, eggs were frequently banned under Buddhist guidelines. Even when they weren’t banned, they were often not a popular choice. Starting in about 1603, eggs became embraced as a luxury item, but it wasn’t until after World War II that eggs became a dietary staple.
Popular Egg Dishes
Eggs form the basis of both sweet and savory dishes in Japan. Marinated eggs are frequently used to top ramen or enjoyed on their own. Egg puddings and custards are popular desserts. Raw eggs are frequently mixed with soybeans as a side dish, and many variations of chicken and eggs cooked together are served with rice or noodles.
For a taste of Japan, visit House of Genji. Our teppanyaki dishes offer an authentic Japanese experience close to home. You can learn more about our Japanese restaurant in San Jose by calling (408) 453-8120.
Ramen is a favorite food export from Japan, and in Tokyo, going to a ramen café is a regular occurrence. One of the most famed ramen spots in Japan is Taishoken, which was one of the first to exist and is still one of the most popular.
Watch this video to learn more about Taishoken and the history of ramen culture. The chef of Taishoken is considered to be the inventor of ramen restaurants and spent his days in his restaurant until he passed away in his 70s.
At House of Genji, we give you access to another part of Japanese food culture: teppanyaki. You can find out more about Japanese dining in San Jose by calling us at (408) 453-8120.
Japan has a robust drinking culture, and many social occasions revolve around alcohol. In fact, it has only recently become socially acceptable to refuse alcohol in favor of soda or water at social events such as company year-end parties and springtime picnic. Although Japan does have a beer and wine scene, cocktails are also very popular. Some cocktails are familiar around the world, while others make use of uniquely Japanese ingredients. In Japan, these cocktails are served everywhere from small bars to upscale Japanese restaurants.
This cocktail will appeal to gin fans. It contains three parts gin to seven parts umeshu, which is a Japanese form of plum wine. It is a strong cocktail, because it doesn’t include any kind of mixer, but it is also flavorful and somewhat sweet, thanks to the plum wine. Umeshu is the base for a large number of cocktails in Japan and is often enjoyed simply with tonic water. The umetini is typically served in a martini glass.
If you’re looking for something with a little less of a kick, consider a matcha hai. Matcha hais are 50% club soda. The rest consists of lemon juice, gum syrup, matcha powder, and whiskey. Matcha powder is widely available in just about every bar in this Japan, so while it may be a specialty ingredient in other countries, you can generally order a matcha hai in any bar or restaurant in Japan.
Lemon sours are one of the most popular cocktails in Japan. It is a bright and tart drink that consists of three ingredients in equal measures: lemon juice, club soda, and shochu, which is hard liquor that is made from distilled grains or sweet potatoes. The lemon juice is sometimes substituted with juice from other citrus fruits, including grapefruit, lime, and yuzu.
At House of Genji, you will find a variety of cocktails on our menu that make perfect accompaniments to our Japanese food in San Jose. Contact us today to learn more about our teppanyaki meals and the rest of our menu by calling (408) 453-8120.
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