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Food in Japan

Food in Japan



John Rayner

John Rayner
Hailing from Sherwood Forest, Little John has been occupying space in the Far East for 10 years. His obsession with food and drink is only rivaled by his dedication to his beloved Saitama Jets.




If you are new to Japanese food, then katsudon is a good dish to start out with. It is basically a bowl of rice (donburi) topped with fried onions, egg and a cutlet of deep fried pork (katsu). While the ingredients may be simple, it's definitely a favorite of gaijin (foreigners) living in Japan. It's almost unheard of for a foreigner to say they don't like katsudon, especially guys looking for a hearty lunch packed with carbs and protein ready for an energetic afternoon ahead. And since it is a dish you tend to wolf down, it is a good dish to eat when you are in a hurry!

Katsudon is commonly eaten for both lunch and dinner, as it is a meal in itself requiring no additional side dishes, although in a restaurant it may come with pickles and miso soup. A variation on the traditional version is sauce katsudon which is similar, but usually has shredded cabbage and a thick variation of worcester-sauce on top instead of the traditional egg and onion mixture. Other varieties include versions made with miso or even shrimps and chicken.

In olden times, the basic ingredients for katsudon (pork, egg and breadcrumbs) were quite expensive and hard to obtain, so it was seen as a luxury item only affordable to the upper classes. Nowadays, of course the opposite is true, and katsudon is sometimes eaten the day before a big sports event or examination as katsu also means "to win" in Japanese (although the kanji is different from that in katsudon).




- Deep-fried pork, coated in batter

- A (large) bowl of rice, topped with meat, fish or vegetables

- Foreigner

- Breadcrumbs

- A soup/stock used for many bases in Japanese cooking. (Vegetable stock or chicken stock may be substituted depending on the dish)

Soy Sauce (Shoyu)
- A fermented sauce made from soybeans, roasted grain, water and salt. Called shoyu in Japanese.


Photo provided by FOODEX JAPAN


Katsudon Recipe

(Difficulty Rating: 4 out of 5)

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 2 Pork Chops (boneless)
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 Cup Flour
  • 1 Cup Panko (breadcrumbs)
  • 1 Onion - chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Dashi Stock (or vegetable stock)
  • 30ml Soy Sauce
  • 1 Teaspoon Sugar
  • Rice (2 cups)
  • Oil


  1. Steam the rice.
  2. Trim the fat off the pork chops
  3. Place flour, breadcrumbs and 1 beaten egg on separate plates
  4. Add salt and pepper to flour
  5. Coat the pork by dipping in flour, egg and then breadcrumbs.
  6. Fry the pork in deep oil for 8 - 10 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile heat stock in fry pan.
  8. Mix in sugar and soy sauce.
  9. Add onions and simmer for 3 minutes
  10. Lightly beat remaining 2 eggs in a bowl
  11. Add eggs to frying pan.
  12. Mix the eggs gently until half set (the mixture should be gooey)
  13. Fill a large bowl with rice and add the pork and egg mixture on top.



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