Friday Five: Japanese Food


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Living on the West Coast, there’s a lot of influence on our food culture from East Asia. Sushi shops abound. To be fair, a lot of sushi shops here are not ‘authentically’ Japanese, and I even question when they subtitle these restaurants as ‘Japanese Food’. But while I love me some good sushi, it’s not my favourite Japanese food. You may not know that I actually lived in Japan for about six years, so I had lots of exposure to true Japanese cuisine. (Wow, that really makes me sound like a snob!)

I freely admit that this post has very tenuous links to running, but it will give you a bit more insight into Bradley on the Run! And if you want to make the connection stronger, you can read my post about Running Japan.

If I was stranded on a desert island, with unlimited access to the appropriate ingredients and a skilled chef, I could survive on Japanese food alone. Here are my five favourite Japanese dishes of all time!


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No, this is not the ‘connective tissue’ kind of tendon you might be tempted to think of (given the number of runners who read my blog!). What we’ve got here is tempura donburi, a bowl of white rice topped with prawn and mixed vegetables, coated with tempura batter and deep fried.

Typical vegetables include lotus root, green beans, eggplant, zucchini, yam, onion, okra, shiitake mushrooms, and kabocha/pumpkin. I’ve also seen broccoli, carrot and bell peppers used. This is all topped with tentsuyu, a sauce made of equal parts dashi (fish stock), mirin (sweet rice wine) and soy sauce.

Not the healthiest item on the menu, but one I could eat every day (if my body didn’t rebel).

Dashimaki Tamago

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Fortunately, my beloved is not only Japanese, but also a very talented cook. After a weekend morning run, the dish I request for breakfast is dashimaki tamago (literally dashi-rolled egg) – essentially a Japanese omelette. The recipe used in our household has dashi and mirin, making it both savoury and slightly sweet. I enjoy eating it with white rice and pickled daikon radish.

Breakfast of champions!

Curry rice

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This one is pretty self-explanatory. Japanese curry is made from ‘roux’ – little blocks of concentrated curry base mixed into a pot of cooked vegetables (and, usually, meat – but I don’t eat meat). The curry is a not necessarily pleasing dark brown colour, and considerably less spicy than curries from most other Asian countries.

In Japan, you can find curry houses that serve a vast array of curries, including such options as:  squid and clam; cheese-filled hamburger; natto (fermented soy beans); and cream croquette.

Yum all around (except for the natto – disgusting stuff)!


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Simple and delicious. Udon is a thick wheat noodle served in broth, and topped with any number of possible things. My personal favourites are kitsune udon (with sliced of sweet fried tofu); wakame udon (simply including Japanese seaweed); and, not surprisingly, tempura udon (see ‘ten-don’ above!).

Udon is simple and cheap to make, so I eat it pretty regularly at home.


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Omu-rice bears some similarity to the dashimaki tamago, but is definitely a dinner dish. The stuffing is fried rice with chopped vegetables and, if desired, choice of meat – and seasoned with ketchup! Not exactly ‘traditional’ Japanese food, but a spin on the Western menu. It’s then wrapped in a thin omelette or, more popular these days, light cooked scrambled eggs.

You’ll generally see omu-rice topped with ketchup again, but I sometimes put mayonnaise on top as well!


My Friday Five of Japanese food is, I’ll admit, pretty carb heavy. Japanese cuisine abounds with delicious, healthy selections – but I can’t help but favour those that are truly comfort foods for me.

What have been your experiences with Japanese food? What’s your favourite?
Have you eaten any of these dishes? Which of them would you like to try?


I’m joining the Friday Five linkup with Eat Pray Run DCMar on the Run, and You Signed Up for What?! this week. In case you hadn’t guessed, the theme for this week is Food & Drink!


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