Japanese Food & Ingredients

Japanese cookware & ingredients

The Japanese food specialists! BuyJapanese ingredients online - order the same Japanese food and brands you'd find in a Japanese supermarket. Fermented soybeans form the backbone of Japanese cuisine: in umami-rich soy sauce and miso paste. Combine with sweet mirin wine, sushi rice, rice vinegar and dashi stock for a basic Japanese storecupboard.

About Japanese cuisine

Japanese cuisine embodies impeccable presentation, clean flavours and fresh ingredients. Meals are elaborate affairs steeped in ceremony and ritual with numerous main dishes served alongside steamed rice, pickles and dipping sauces– each presented in carefully chosen, individual bowls.

With its strong focus on seasonal ingredients and due to its Buddhist heritage, Japan has a history of vegetarianism – with the exception of fish. A distinctive flavour in Japanese cooking is an ‘umami’ savouriness which often occurs in fermented foods.

What are some of the most popular Japanese dishes?

Sushi - Traditionally made with rice, vinegar, and a variety of fillings, such as fish, vegetables, or egg, and often wrapped in nori or seaweed.

Sashimi - Made with raw fish or seafood, sashimi is sliced into thin pieces and then served with soy sauce, wasabi and pickled ginger.

Ramen - One of the best known Japanese dishes outside of Japan. This hearty soup consists of noodles in a savoury broth, and can be topped with a variety of ingredients.

Teriyaki - Despite the western interpretation of teriyaki, this is a style of cooking rather than a sauce. ‘Teri’ means to lustre or gleam, and ‘yaki’ means to grill or broil.

Miso soup - Served with every rice dish, you have this with the main meal, rather than before it.

Tempura - Seafood or vegetables are lightly battered and deep fried to create tempura dishes.

Onigiri - Onigiri is made with rice and typically includes some sort of filling, such as fish or vegetables. It is a popular snack food in Japan.

Staple Japanese Ingredients

For authentic Japanese cooking, it’s a good idea to have some essential ingredients in your kitchen cupboard. Here are the seven key products to have in before you begin:

Soy sauce - of course! And it’s best if you get hold of Japanese soy sauce, as this has a subtle but unique taste. Kikkoman Usukuchi Shoyu Light Soy Sauce is a great pantry essential.

Mirin– this is a rice wine specifically used in cooking and has a sweet flavour. Mirin is a key umami ingredient which lends body to a dish and allows flavours to harmonise.

Rice vinegar- unlike most Western vinegar, rice vinegar is milder, sweeter and less acidic. We love Mizkan Rice Vinegar which is so versatile for all types of Japanese cooking.

Sake – For marinades, stocks and soups, a bottle of sake is a must-have. You could also enjoy a drink of it with your meal too!

Miso Miso, a fermented soybean paste, comes in a range of styles and is the perfect partner to rice.

Kombu- While westerners use stock, the Japanese rely on dashi as the foundations of their cooking. Kombu is a type of kelp and normally sold in salt encrusted sheets. It is one half of dashi, together with bonito flakes.

Bonito Flakes– This is skipjack tuna which is smoked, dried and fermented and partner to kombu in dashi.

Rice - Short-grain rice is the most common type of rice used in Japanese cuisine. It has a shorter, plumper grain and is stickier than long-grain rice.

The most popular drinks in Japanese cuisine

Japan also has a rich drink scene and here are three of the most well-known exports;

Matcha tea 

Matcha is a type of green tea that is native to Japan. It is made from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, which are ground into a powder and then whisked with hot water. Matcha has a unique flavour and is often used in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies.

Sake

Sake is a Japanese rice wine that is typically enjoyed with food. It can be enjoyed chilled, at room temperature, or even warmed. When pairing sake with food, it's important to consider the flavours of both the dish and the wine.

Bubble tea

An import from Taiwan, Bubble tea has quickly become an extremely popular drink in Japan. It's made by combining tea with fruit or milk, and then adding chewy tapioca balls, or "bubbles", to the mix. 

How is Japanese food and drink best served? 

Presentation is an important part of Japanese cuisine and there are a number of specific items that will help create the most authentic experience when serving Japanese food. From sake sets, ramen bowls and Bento boxes it is important to match your Japanese culinary creations with the correct Japanese tableware. [link] 

What is a Bento Box

Bento boxes are a type of traditional Japanese lunch box that is often used to pack sushi, rice, and other small dishes. They are usually made of wood or plastic, and can be found in many different sizes and shapes. 

Essential Japanese Cookware

We stock traditional Japanese cookware and Japanese utensils including everything you need to make ramen, takoyaki pans, donabe and agemono-nabe. Start cooking your own Japanese food with our free Japanese recipes and an introductions to Japanese cooking.

Some of our favourite Japanese recipes

New to Japanese cuisine? Read our ultimate guide to ramen here then get started with our broad selection of ramen noodles. Or have a go at the Japanese street food staple okonomiyaki pancakes, layered with flavours of dashi powder, bonito flakes, Kenko mayonnaise and okonomi sauce.

Or become a sushi master with our step by step guide to making maki rolls. Including tips for uniform rolls with your favourite selection of fillings. Or for something sweet, go for Edd Kimber's matcha roll cake.

Articles & Recipes

  • Miso Ramen Recipe
  • Japanese Matcha Tea Crepe Cake Recipe

    Japanese Matcha Tea Crepe Cake Recipe

    • 2 hours 20

    • Intermediate

  • How To Make Sushi: Easy Maki Rolls Step-By-Step

    How To Make Sushi: Easy Maki Rolls Step-By-Step

    • 45 minutes

    • Easy

  • How To Make The Best Japanese Food At Home

    How To Make The Best Japanese Food At Home

    June 4th, 2018
  • Everything You Need to Know About Yuzu Kosho

    Everything You Need to Know About Yuzu Kosho

    • Easy

  • What Is Ramen & Ramen Recipes To Make At Home

    What Is Ramen & Ramen Recipes To Make At Home

    August 12th, 2020