You can certainly get some amazing okonomiyaki at restaurants around Japan, especially in Osaka or Hiroshima where the two main varieties originate. But much of the charm of okonomiyaki is how incredibly easy it is to make at home. There are plenty of native Osaka residents who can't recommend a good okonomiyaki restaurant, because the best okonomiyaki in town is the stuff their mom makes on the dining room table. So try it yourself! You know this is a good recipe when you see it's been reviewed over 3,000 times, and the many photos speak for themselves.
Sure, we've quickly strayed from the traditional Japanese kitchen, but these uniquely fluffy pancakes are so different from pancake house flapjacks, they're essentially a brand new Japanese food. As referenced in the recipe's title, a number of chains (including Shiawase no Pancake) have cropped up all over Japan in recent years all specializing in one thing with a few different names: fluffy pancakes, souffle pancakes, Japanese pancakes. The uniquely jiggly, airy insides are a whole new world of pancake texture. See if you can replicate it in your own kitchen!
A total mix of western and Japanese cooking, the sweet ketchup rice surrounded by fluffy omelet that is omurice is a long-standing favorite of kids in Japan, and often a popular find by visiting travelers. If you can learn to wrap a mound of flavored rice just so with your fresh, fluffy omelet, and then decorate it with a cute ketchupy design, you'll never have to travel to Japan just to get your omurice fix.
If you know you love Japanese food, you probably know and love the crispy deep-fried veggies and seafood of tempura. Historically, the dish actually comes from the Portuguese, whose early contact with the closed-off island country of Japan actually had a huge influence on the evolving culture. Nowadays we know it as Japanese food, and it might just surprise you how easy it is to make. This recipe is even a little unique thanks to its use of Japanese mayonnaise (not a standard ingredient).
Unless you've tried it while eating in Japan, it's all too possible that you've never heard of chawanmushi before. It's certainly a very different culinary experience from most of the Japanese food you commonly see outside of Japan. But this warm, custardy, savory egg dish deserves a chance in the spotlight. It's flavored like a dashi soup full of umami, but with a firm silken texture and enough flavor to remind you it's centered around eggs. Try it on a chilly night when you want something to warm you from the inside!
I came to Japan for a semester abroad, and have been here ever since, so I guess there's just something about it. Tell me all the cool Japan-related things you know on instagram or twitter @japankuru !SHOW COLUMN