Japanese Cuisine Evolution: Ancient to Modern


A Culinary Journey Down The Centuries

What composed ancient Japanese cuisine? It’s a banquet of meats and vegetables: there’s wild deer and boar, mushrooms, sudachi lime, ginger, sansho pepper, myoga, nuts, pears, fish, and shellfish. It was during the Muromachi period (1392-1573) that “washoku” or traditional Japanese cuisine took shape, and was consolidated from the year 1573 to 1615, known as the Momoyama period. The washoku was influenced by several factors: the extravagant imperial court feasts; Daikyo Ryori, types of Kyoto cuisine developed over the ages; the Heian period (794–1185)the peak of Buddhism and Taoism; the vegetarian diet of the 13th century Buddhist monks; and tea cuisine.

By the 16th century, the foundation principles of washoku, such as seasonality, presentation, and a meal comprising one soup, three side dishes (ichiju sansai). Examples of classic washoku dishes are vinegared food (sunomono), vegetables, fish dressed with vinegar, sesame, or miso (aeomono), and food boiled in dashi (nimono).

The Meiji Restoration (1868) wanted to build a stronger, more modern Japan, after the country was closed to the outside world for hundreds of years. The centuries-long ban on eating meat was lifted, Western-style eating was encouraged, and Japanese chefs travelled abroad to study cooking. As a result new foods and beverages came, kitchen cars travelled everywhere spreading Western ingredients like milk, eggs and meat. housewives learned cooking in major cities. And as the economy boomed in the 1960s, there was more disposable income to spend on foreign tastes.

Western dishes are reinvented to suit Japanese tastes and styles. Menus have modern selections and are found from high-end restaurants to izakaya, family restaurants, and convenience stores.Today, Japanese homes cook a diverse array of cuisines, like gyoza, miso, curry rice, mabodofu, tonkatsu, and soba. For visitors visiting Japan, they will find sushi, tempura, kaiseki, yakitori, ramen, and udon. These changes were only introduced within the last 100 years or so.

The Japanese are good at taking foreign concepts and modifying them for Japanese tastes, and food is no exception.

Finding Old and Modern Delights in Federal Way

Taste tradition and modern when you come dining at K-Ton Japanese Restaurant in Federal Way. See great selections from our menus that, you can say, date back centuries but with a westernized appeal.

April 18th, 2019

Ramen Types From All Over Japan


Different Regions, Different Ramen

Did you know that ramen is served in more than 24,000 restaurants across Japan? The quintessential dish is increasingly revered for its culinary complexity, from the depth of flavor in the broth to the perfect bite of the noodles. When it was once a laborer’s dinner, it is now a culinary expression of the Japanese quest for perfection. See the different types of heavenly ramen found in different regions across Japan.

Dry Goods Essential for Japanese Recipes


What Dry Goods are in Your Pantry?

The ideal Japanese pantry must have a list of essentials to be able to make particular Japanese dishes. There are dry goods considered important in cooking the most common Japanese meals. Without them, you can say your meal isn’t really quite Japanese. Here are some of those dry goods essentials.

Adzuki beans are small, red beans that originated in China. They are starchy legumes with a rich, chestnut-like flavor, often used in making sweets in Japan. The beans are usually cooked down with sugar and mashed to make red bean paste. They are often paired with glutinous rice in sweet and savory applications.

Bamboo Shoots and Benefits


What are Bamboo Shoots?

Bamboo shoots are the edible sprouts which spring out beside the bamboo plant. also known to be one of the fastest growing plants in the world. Bamboo shoots, or takenoko in Japanese, are a commonly used vegetable in Japanese cuisine. They are considered as the “King of Forest Vegetables”. There are many bamboo species which sprout shoots, but only a handful are actually cultivated and consumed.

Bamboo shoots are available fresh or canned. Fresh shoots can last for up to two weeks, properly refrigerated and away from sunlight. Canned versions can be stored longer. However, before cooking them, boiling is highly recommended or at least soak them in water overnight.

Bamboo Nutrients

According to studies, bamboo shoots are rich in various components such as proteins, carbohydrates, minerals, and fiber, and are low in fat and sugars.

Pork Loin and Pork Tenderloin: What’s the Difference?


The Difference of Cuts

If you’re carnivorous, you love pork meat. Pork loin and pork tenderloin are two comfort foods you may not be missing out in your diet. Pork loin and pork tenderloin are similar sounding but are actually quite different cuts of meat. While both cuts are delicious and make great choices for barbecue, they are treated differently. Not knowing their differences may lead to some kitchen errors or accidents.

Firstly, the main difference. Pork loin and pork tenderloin are not cut from the same part of the animal. They also look really different. Where pork tenderloin is thin and small, a pork loin is wide enough to cut steak-like pieces from it.

The Appeal of the Okonomiyaki


The “As You Like It” Pancake

The famous Okonomiyaki literally means “cook what you like” for okonomi, and yaki means “grilled or cooked”. It’s a kind of savory pancake made from a batter of flour, grated yam, eggs and dashi, and typically pork and cabbage as toppings.

The origins of okonomiyaki are unclear as many variations of pancakes have appeared at different times, in many places. The earliest origins of a basic crepe-like pancake date back to the Edo period (1683-1868) when it was a special dessert served at Buddhist ceremonies called Funoyaki. This then evolved during the Meiji period (1868-1912) into a sweeter dish called Sukesoyaki. In the 1920’s and 30’s the dish continued to evolve with more emphasis on the sauces added and the name Yoshokuyaki began to be used.

Ramen, Udon and Soba: The American View


A Quick Western Guide to Japanese Noodles

Noodles are the quintessential food of the Japanese. Japan is such a noodle-loving country. When Westerners, like Americans, visit, they see noodles practically everywhere. From street stalls to high-end restaurants, in offices and in homes, there is just no escaping noodles. The Westerner knows there are different types; they’ve seem different colors, sizes, and might say even taste different from each other. A Westerner is aware of at least three types of Japaneses noodles and can tell them apart.

The Evolution of The Katsu


Katsu Then and Now

Originally, katsu, a shortened version of katsuretsu was traditionally made using beef. During the Meiji period (1868 – 1912), the Japanese technique of cooking tempura was applied to meat coated with breadcrumbs and deep fried in oil. The forward-looking Emperor Meji wanted to to see Japan become a modern westernized country to lead in development, and that included embracing some new world cuisine. It was the western adaptation that introduced pork into the mix.

Discovered: The Oldest Japanese Curry Recipe


Curry Then And Curry Now

You probably didn’t know that curry has become so integral to the Japanese diet, you’d think it’s only so in India. For example, down Tokyo streets, you’re as likely to find a curry joint as you are a sushi or soba restaurant. The dish was unknown in Japan until about 150 years ago. Japan’s feudal system isolated the country for so long that when Japan opened up its doors to the outside world in the late 19th century, not only foreign science and technology entered, but foreign food as well.

Oodles of Fun Facts About Japanese Noodles


Tickle Your Friends and Sound Smart with These

Did you know that some people would eat instant ramen noodles raw? Yes, they wouldn’t wait 5 minutes to cook them. Over the hard and crunchy noodles, just a sprinkling of the seasonings, and that’s it.

A vacuum sealed package version of ramen skyrocketed into space in the Discovery space shuttle when Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi brought some along. It’s the very first of its kind.The noodle were smaller and the brought thicker, so it’s easier to eat in zero gravity.

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