Our Favorite Japanese Comfort Foods
During this chillier time of the year, we want to eat something warm, rich, and comforting. Combat the cold temperatures of fall and winter with a delicious Japanese dish.
Whether you’d prefer a warming bowl of soup or stew, a sweet treat, or a savory snack, check out this list for some of our favorite Japanese comfort foods.
Tonkotsu ramen originated in Fukuoka Prefecture and is still considered a specialty dish in both Fukuoka and Kyushu. In its birthplace, Tonkotsu ramen is also called “Hakata ramen.”
This type of ramen is made from a pork bone based broth. It’s traditionally boiled for hours and typically has a slightly cloudy appearance. Tonkotsu ramen is topped with slices of roasted or braised pork belly and is made with other ingredients, like garlic, ginger, onion, and spring onions. This ramen’s noodles are traditionally served still a little hard in the middle, adding a nice chew—but some ramen shops let customers choose their preferred level of firmness.
Dating back to the Meiji period (1868-1912), the first anpan was created by a former samurai who had taken on the role of a baker.
Anpan is a Japanese sweet roll that makes a great snack or dessert. This tasty baked good is soft, fluffy and often filled with anko, a sweet red bean paste, but other fillings are featured from time to time. These round, filled buns are as cute as they are crave-worthy, making them one of our favorite kinds of comfort foods.
Japanese curries typically come in three main forms, including a bread/pastry filled with curry, curry over rice, and curry over udon noodles.
The ingredients and flavors incorporated into the sauce of Japanese curry vary depending on the region, but most of Japan’s curries are thick, a touch sweet, and relatively mild in flavor—compared to the original Indian curry. Japanese curry typically features vegetables like carrots, onions, and potatoes along with some kind of meat, like beef, chicken, or pork.
Tamago Kake Gohan
Tamago kake gohan, or “eggs on rice,” is a popular Japanese breakfast food. The dish features cooked rice that’s topped or mixed with egg and a dash of soy sauce. The egg is often raw and can be beaten or left whole. Sometimes, just the egg’s yolk is used.
We like to whip the egg into the rice before eating this dish, making it fluffy and kind of custard-like. The simplicity of this dish makes it a real comfort food. The saltiness of the soy sauce and richness of the egg pair well together while the warm rice is filling and makes the dish satisfying.
Nabemono, also referred to as simply nabe, are Japanese soups and stews known as hot pot dishes. Traditionally made in special clay pots or cast iron, nabe is especially popular in Japan during colder months.
Although the look and flavor profiles of nabe differ from region to region, there are generally two types of nabemono stocks served in Japan. There are lightly flavored broths— made mostly with kombu (kelp) to highlight the taste of the ingredients—as well as strongly flavored broths, which are typically made with dashi (fish broth), miso, and soy sauce.
What’s more comforting than delicious fried food? To make tempura, everything from seafood—like shrimp, scallops, and fish—to vegetables—like bamboo shoots, green beans, and mushrooms—are battered and then deep-fried until crispy.
This cooking method dates back to the 16th century and was introduced to Japan by foreign traders, but it has since become an important part of Japanese cuisine. Sometimes enjoyed with a dipping sauce or simply sprinkled with some salt, tempura is served on top of soups, noodle dishes, and enjoyed as is.
Whether you’re looking for a warm bowl of soup or stew, a sweet treat, or a crispy, salty snack, there’s a Japanese comfort food for you! Keep warm in the midst of fall or winter with a rich, comforting dish.