For over 2000 years, rice has been the most important food stuff in the Japanese cuisine. Despite changes in eating patterns over the last decades and slowly decreasing rice consumption in recent years, rice remains one of the most important ingredients in Japan today, and can be found in numerous dishes.
A bowl of rice is often served as a side dish for lunch and dinner. It is also part of the traditional Japanese breakfast, eaten plain, mixed with a raw egg and soya sauce (tamago-kake-gohan) or with natto or other toppings.
Sushi can be defined as a dish which contains sushi rice, cooked rice that is prepared with sushi vinegar. There are various kinds of sushi dishes.
A bowl of cooked rice with some other food put on top of the rice. Some of the most popular toppings are tempura (tendon), egg and chicken (oyakodon), tonkatsu (katsudon) and beef (gyudon).
Onigiri are rice balls made of cooked rice and usually wrapped with a nori seaweed. They are slightly salted and often contain some additional food in the center, for example an umeboshi (pickled Japanese apricot), katsuobushi (dried bonito shavings), tuna or salmon. Rice balls are a popular and inexpensive snack available at convenience stores.
Kare Raisu (Curry Rice) is cooked rice with a curry sauce. It can be served with additional toppings such as tonkatsu. Curry is not a native Japanese spice, but has been used in Japan for over a century. Kare Raisu is a very popular dish, and many inexpensive Kare Raisu restaurants can be found especially in and around train stations.
Fried rice or chahan has been originally introduced from China. A variety of additional ingredients such as peas, egg, negi (Japanese leek) and small pieces of carrot and pork are mixed to the rice when stir fried. It is a suitable dish for using left over rice.
Chazuke is a bowl of cooked rice with green tea and other ingredients, for example, salmon or tarako (cod roe) added to it. It is a suitable dish for using left over rice.
Kayu is rice gruel, watery, soft cooked rice that resembles oatmeal. It is a suitable dish for using left over rice and is often served to sick people because it can be digested easily.
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