The next time you sit down at a Japanese restaurant and order a wonderful meal, start giving some thought to your sides too. Japanese cuisine has many interesting sides to offer and these are delectable, wonderful and give more body and complexity to your whole meal. They are unique and not just provide balance to your mains but sometimes act as palate cleansers too!
The next time you visit a Japanese restaurant, order these, observe and devour them with the mains. Here are some of the most interesting sides for your Japanese dinners.
An extremely popular side to your sushi, this is a palate refresher. This is wonderful young, tender ginger that goes through an elaborative pickling process. It has a zingy, light, sweet, spicy kick and is so rejuvenating. It is also served with Sashimi, but is so versatile that it can be added to other dishes too to add a body of depth and flavor.
This is chilled tofu that is served on the side along with fermented and smoked skipjack tuna also known as katsuobushi, some green onions and a soy sauce dressing. It can easily even be veganized. It adds a whole lot of textural dimension to your dish and temperature contrasts to probably a warm broth that you are enjoying from your favorite Japanese restaurant.
The famous Japanese rolled omelet. No one makes a technically intricate omelet like the Japanese; this famous delicacy requires years of perfection. So wonderfully fluffy and still maintaining structural integrity, this omelet is certainly the melt in the mouth kind and a food lover’s dream. It has a subtle sweetness and yet a savory note in the background. Served as a relief agent to many spicy dishes or even goes well with a drop of wasabi on its own.
This is yet another tofu dish that screams scrumptiousness. Tofu, which is deep fried, is light, airy and crunchy. Served with a dipping sauce called Tentsuyu that is so flavorful made using soy, mirin, vinegar and ticks all the boxes of sweet, sour, salty, spicy. Garnished with delicate dried bonito fish flakes, green onions, and freshly grated daikon. You can find this dish in any Japanese restaurant, it is definitely a moreish finger licking side dish.
The Ramen egg, one might assume, has its place only in a ramen bowl, but this delectable, gooey goodness is one of the most sought-after side dishes in any good Japanese restaurant. Enjoyed best with a spicy pork belly or as a dressing for a lovely plate of fresh noodles garnished with some spring onions. This is a wonderful staple that has endless possibilities.
These are the wonderful, textural pickles you will find in any Japanese restaurant. These pickles collectively are called Tsukemono, it comes in different shapes, sizes, and textures. The most popular elements are Napa cabbage, Shiso buds, Aubergine, daikon, radish etc. Each pickle goes through an intensive process of pickling in different liquids, brines and preservation techniques depending upon the nature of the core element and what complements it. They serve as accompaniments even to drinks and the traditional sake or as sides to the mains.
This quick to whip yet entirely amazing side is a must for a heavy main and provides an explosion of texture and flavor. This is salted chicken wings that are made with Shichimi Togarashi, the Japanese seven spice after brining in a sake liquid. It is so crisp and does wonders of complementing the mains.
A vitamin and mineral rich healthy dish that is so simple yet so flavorful. Tororo is made by grating yam and is made into a sticky, slurry texture that is mostly consumed cold. It is used to flavor many dishes while cooking. It is also simply added as an accompaniment on the side to have along with rice or noodles to enhance the flavor and textural dimension. It is often served in many Japanese restaurants and eateries as a heat quencher to cool down the palate and kick start the meal.
Japanese side dishes are indeed very interesting, and they serve a purpose to add to the meal. They are as important as the mains which is why in many Japanese restaurants the side menu is elaborate. Next time you order some Japanese food, pay attention to the sides too!
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