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Japanized foreign dishes

About Japanized foreign dishes

In Meiji period (1868-1912), mass Western culture flowed into Japan.
Especilally western-style dishes grew in popularity as plush foods.
Japanese cooks of that time invented the new western-style dishes loved by Japanese people, based on the dishes which the foreigners in Japan ate.
They served rice instead of bread, and used ketchup and demiglace as seasonings.

At that time, Chinese people from China built Chinatown in Yokohama, Kobe and Nagasaki.
They served cheap and common Chinese dish, and they become popular.
And after the end of World War II, the people who came back from China introduced the Chinese dish which they had eaten in China.

Above dishes are popular for current Japanese people.
But they has been changed from the original dishes to Japanese favorite taste.

Popular Japanized Chinese dishes


Gyoza is a food around northern China, and is called "Jiaozi" in Chinese.
It is a food that a lump of minced pork and vegitables is wrapped with a thin dough.

In Japan, gyoza is mainly fried on a pan. And we eat after dipping it in the sauce mixed shoyu, vinegar and hot sesame oil.
Commonly it is a side dish of ramen or rice.

In China, gyoza is one of main dishes, and it is eaten in Chinese soup.


Ramen is a noodle dish using Chinese noodle.
In the late 19th century, Chinese cooks in the Chinatowns in Yokohama and Kobe served Chinese noodle dishes first.
It became popular, and many Japanese cooks learned how to make the recipe.
Japanese ramen cooks made a lot of effort to suit Japanese taste, so it has been one of the major Japanese dishes today.

Ramen is a simple dish that boiled Chinese noodle is put in the soup.
But each cook selects his best noodle and makes his own soup.
Each cook expresses his identity as an ramen cook.


"Tenshin" means Tianjin which is a large city in northern China. "Han" means "rice".

Tenshin-han is a dish that Chinese omelette with crab meat is put on rice.
But the Chinese omelette is one of Cantonese cuisine in the southern China, and there isn't the omelette on rice.

In the mid-20th century, someone made such dish with using tasty rice from Tianjin.
It is said that the misterious name was gived for the only reason.
So, of course, we cannot find such dish in China, and Chinese people don't know "Tianjin Rice".

Gyoza Ramen Tenshin-han

Popular Japanized western-style dishes

Curry rice

"Curry rice" is the name in Japanese. In English, it is called "curried rice" or "curry and rice".
It is the very popular dish, and is one of the dishes most Japanese people like.

Originally curry is an Indian dish.
Because Englishmen brought this from colonial India into Japan in the late 19th century, Japanese people believed that curry was a Western dish.
And Japanese Navy invented the practice to put curry on rice.

White rice are spread on a dish, and curry which has cooked with meat and some vegitables (onion, carrot and potato) are put on the rice.
We eat with a spoon, mixing the rice and curry.
Generally fukujin-zuke or rakkyo is served as a pickle.

Hayashi rice

Hayashi rice also popular dish, and it is the dish that the roux is put on the rice like curry rice.
Generally the roux is made by stewing fried beef and onion in a thick demiglace sauce mixed red wine and tomato sauce.

The roux is similar to "hashed beef".
It is said that the name "hayashi" came from "hashed".


"Omu-rice" means "the rice with omelette".
First, boiled rice is fried with chopped chicken, onion and other some vegitables. And it is seasoned with ketchup.
Next the fried rice is wrapped in a thin sheet of fried egg like omelette.
Generally it is served with putting ketchup or demiglace sauce on it.

It is said that a Japanese chef invented this dish in 1901 for a guest who had already ordered omelette and rice.

Spaghetti Neapolitan

"Spaghetti Neapolitan" is made by frying boiled spaghetti, sliced onion and green pepper with ketchup.
Usually sliced Vienna sausage or ham is added.

Originally this is invented for army of occupation after the World War II, and "Spaghetti Neapolitan" was named by a Japanese chef of a hotel in Yokohama.

After this, it has been popular in Japan, so until recently Japanese people has believed that it is one of orthodox spaghetti of Italy.
Naturally, we can't find such spaghetti at Naples in Italy.

There are many orthodox spaghetti restaurants in Japan. But it is difficult a little to find this "spaghetti Neapolitan" at such restaurant.
We can eat this at most cafes, family restaurants or cheap restaurants.

Fried prawn

In Japanese we say "ebi-furai".
A prawn taken off the head is prepared in a batter of wheat flour and beaten egg. The it is coated with bread crumbs and is deep-fried in hot oil.
It is often eaten with thick sosu (Worcester sauce) or tartare sauce.

Such method of cooking (deep-frying after coating with bread crumps) was started by a restaurant in Tokyo around 1900.
Since that, the fried dish with bread crumbs became popular in Japan.

"Tonkatsu" is a fine example, and "menchi-katsu" (fry of ground meat mixed chopped onion), "korokke" (fry of mashed potato mixed chopped meat and onion) and "aji-fry" (fry of horse mackerel) are specially popular.

Curry rice Hayashi rice Omu-rice
Spaghetti Neapolitan Ebi-furai Korokke

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