As a Uni student, my life revolves around studies and food. Food not only provides a sense of comfort from all the stress, but is also a great way to socialize. A few days ago, I wanted to treat a friend of mine to something he hasn't tried before. All the searches on Yelp and similar search engines lead me to Japanese cuisine.

I myself have always been an admirer of the cuisine and culture. My favourite anime, "Naruto," was my initial source for learning about the Japanese culture, and my visit to Japan a few years later made me fall in love with their food. Here's a list of the best of Japanese cuisine.

1. Sushi

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A small interaction along with a small demonstration by a sushi chef opened my eyes to a skill called sushi. He told me that in earlier days, travelers took along fish and rice. The fish used to ferment in the rice, and that's how sushi originated. 

California rolls are something we're all familiar with, but there are many other types of sushi ranging from different fish sashimis and other sea offerings like prawns, clams, oysters, and much more.

Next time you devour some sushi, there's a certain way it has to be eaten. Tradition takes eating sushi to another level.

2. Ramen

ramen, egg, soup
Morgan Goldberg

If you are in Uni, then ramen is probably your best friend. As a student, I scavenge the aisles of my local grocery store to a point that I'm on a first name basis with the guy who bills them.

The type of ramen I mention above is the instant variety, and they make 80 billion yens in yearly sales all across Japan and even more worldwide. Real ramen is a different meal altogether. Ramen shops all across Japan prepare ramen with more than 100 plus variations of broths and toppings. This broth is so yummy that it led to the discovery of a new flavour sensation, called Umami.

3. Bento

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Remember when your mum used to pack your school lunch? Bento boxes are something that reminds me of those days. Bento is a packed meal that is both fun and nutritionally balanced. A stroll in the market and all you see are small little shops that offer custom or prepared bento boxes for people in a hurry. Mothers, on the other hand, take time and effort in assembling very intricate lunch boxes that their young ones and husbands will enjoy.

YouYuber “BraLady Japan” specializes in making these small lunch boxes exciting, interesting, and engaging. Follow along as she makes food live.

4. Ekiben

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While we're on the topic of packed lunches, let's talk about ekibens. A sight that fascinates visitors in Japan is the bullet train, or the Shinkansen. These trains connect all of Japan's prefectures. They all produce a different type of food and a short stop at their stations gives you the opportunity to trya delectable meal.

A nice cool ice tea or a cherry juice along with your meal makes the food taste even better and is a reminder of their rich history. Remember, you get a small window to buy yourself one or you may have to sleep on the platform that night.

5. Soba

pasta, herb, tea
Lily Allen

Soba is a creation that had flourished across areas of Japan in its history. Soba, or buckwheat, is a grain that is cultivated on the foothills of Japan. Buckwheat has become an essential part of every citizen's life as their harvest signals the New Year; it symbolizes wealth and prosperity in every household.

Soba is formed into long, thin noodles and eaten with a soy sauce-based broth. If you think that it may taste like ramen, it does not. Want to become a sobalier? A sommelier is a connoisseur of wine; similarly, a sobalier is an expert at making and tasting soba.

6. Nabe

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As India is a part of Asia, community eating is a concept that flourishes throughout the continent. A long, I mean a very long chat, with my grandparents got me to realize that community eating is something that makes individuals more immune to disease and strengthens bonds. 

Nabe or “hot pot” is a very similar concept. A hot soup, stock, or any preparation is placed in the center and other ingredients are placed in front of people. What a person likes is added to the soup and is consumed individually. In this manner, all can have what they want and still enjoy a delightful conversation with their friends or loved ones. A warm soup and warm friends or family is what all want during the winter, isn’t it?

7. Curry

If you are shocked, don’t be! Curry is a dish that originated in India and with time took over the world. Japanese curry started with Japanese sailors. Curries were easy to make, required less ingredients, and could be prepared in large quantities. After the war, people started to enjoy curry to a point that ready-to-cook versions and curry pastes are present in grocery stores across Japan.

These are more refined for Japanese taste buds, but if you can’t handle spice, you should give Japanese curry like the potato carrot curry and Katsu curry a look.

8. Yoshoku

I love butter chicken, though my ideologies are not shared by my nephew. He rather demands spaghetti and pan fried noodles. Kids are kids and nothing other than international cuisine fascinates their devilish minds. Kids all over the world love pizza. It is the most desired food among kids in Japan.

All dishes do have a twist to them. Some dishes that I tried on my trip were pancakes, spaghetti, omurice, pizza, and renowned breakfast specials. This type of cuisine can only be found in the modern part of Japan. If sashimi is not for you, try yoshoku.

9. Kaiseki

egg, fried egg, egg yolk, bacon
Morgan Goldberg

Kaiseki is Japanese gourmet food. But there is a twist. French gourmet food relies on courses that are served one after the other, kaiseki cuisine believes in displaying all courses in an elegant format together. Kaiseki cuisine is based on the produce and not the dishes; they change to provide their customers with a fresh and seasonal variety. If you love to swirl a glass of wine, this is the place for you. For backpackers, it is a different ball game. If you believe in an empty wallet, go ahead.

Final Thoughts 

Kunal Govil

Japanese cuisine relies on the simplicity and presentation. My journey through Japan shared the same attributes, with old Japanese architecture of the Shinto Temples and diverse nature of their teachings.