Merry Christmas from Ichi Kaku Japanese Street Food
Updated: Jun 20
Winter Japanese Food
The entire family over at Ichi Kaku are wishing you all a happy and healthy holiday season. We celebrate Christmas but of course we are sending love and warm wishes to all.
Whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or Festivus we hope you stop in for some holiday cheer in the form of Ramen.
Ramen is our signature dish and our most popular dish during the winter months. Everyone loves a hot bowl of soup but if you are new to Japanese food you may not be aware that ramen is not soup.
Read more about, What is Ramen?
In this post we will share with you some winter Japanese food. There are dishes that are eaten primarily in winter and are most commonly made at home.
If you are visiting any Japanese residence where there is an Okaasan(mother) or Obaachan(grandmother) you will find these dishes.
This is by no means a full list but just a few dishes for you to look for or try to make at home. Japan is a small series of islands so it is important to note that all dishes are not eaten everywhere in Japan.
Of all the winter dishes during the winter season nabe is my favorite! I call this the family time food.
During the winters in Japan without central heat many Japanese families resort to using a kotatsu. One of the charming things about Japan is that people still live traditional Japanese culture.
The kotatsu keeps the family warm but so does sitting under it while eating nabe.
Nabe, most commonly referred to as a hot pot dish, is made up of; vegetables and meat, dashi broth, slices of mean, shiitake mushrooms, green onion (scallions) and perhaps a few other regional ingredients.
For a change or to add spice you can add some Korean kimchi.
Ingredients are cooked and served in a large ceramic pot. This is considered a hearty meal and there is a special version of nabe served to Sumo wrestlers called Chanko Nabe.
Oden is often found in Konbinis or as we call them convenience stores. It is only sold during the winter. Each ingredient is sold separately. Think of it as a hot buffet.
You remove the ingredients from the soup and take them to the register to purchase. It is a hot meal without the liquid.
Oden is a sweeter meal than most may be used to. The savory soup is the same for all of the ingredients. You usually find Daikon, eggs, fish cakes, carrots and bamboo.
Some refer to it as the Japanese lemon but it can be found in other parts of the world such as Spain and Australia.
People bathe in Yuzu as a winter ritual. Bathe in Yuzu during the winter solstice for good fortune in the coming year. If you would like to try this winter ritual try this popular Yuzu bath salt. It is exactly the one I used while living in Japan.
Japanese winter is not complete without Mochi! When you visit Ichi Kaku, a Japanese Street food restaurant, we offer mochi ice cream but that is a modern western version of mochi.
You will usually see Mochi served in small bricks if it is store bought.
Authentic Japanese mochi is a whole world! Making mochi is easily a laborious 2-3 day process. In Japan our entire family gathered in the winter to pound rice outside and prepare packages of mochi for the entire family.
Mochi is made by streaming then pounding short grains sticky rice into a paste. This thick paste is mochi!
Mochi can be made at home with a mochi making machine. Yey to modern times! Just be sure to get the correct short grain sweet rice and flour. The flour will allow you to roll them into balls and flatten then without sticking to your hands. The shape you are familiar with seeing mochi ice cream formed into.
Mochi is used as a New Year’s Food and decoration in most Japanese homes.
Mochi can be eaten with kinako, soy sauce, plain or sweet red beans. Japanese people enjoy mochi every year but a word of caution.
It is not to be given to small children or the elderly. They are unable to chew and swallow this food efficiently. It can pose a choking hazard.
There are a dozen stories every winter of a mochi tragedy so just be mindful to enjoy around friends and family where the littler and older can be monitored.
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Stop in to Ichi Kaku Japanese Street Food to try authentic food prepared by Chef Yohei!
He was born and raised in central Japan, he’d love for you to stop by for lunch or dinner. Be sure to check hours of operation.