Yoshoku (Western-Style Food)
"Yoshoku" is the name given to dishes influenced by Western styles of cooking but developed independently in Japan. Yoshoku is available at specialty Yoshoku restaurants and family restaurants. As opposed to the usual course menu in Japan, yoshoku restaurants usually serve set menus with a main entree, soup, and salad. Most restaurants provide both chopsticks and cutlery (knives, forks, spoons), so you can choose which works best for you.
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Origin of Yoshoku
It is believed yoshoku first appeared during the Meiji era (about 140 years ago). The Meiji era was a time when Western culture started to enter Japan and changes in Japanese food culture began to appear. Items such as butter, ketchup, and Worcestershire sauce, which weren't common up until then, began to be used in cooking, and certain dishes developed into the current yoshoku style of cuisine.
Finding Yoshoku Restaurants
Various kinds of yoshoku dishes can be found in yoshoku and family restaurants. Many cafes and coffee shops also serve yoshoku dishes. There are also many restaurants that specialize in one kind of yoshoku, e.g., omelette rice, Hamburg steak, and tonkatsu (pork cutlet).
Omurice:Chicken rice flavored with ketchup and wrapped in an omelette. Served with ketchup or a special sauce on top. "Open omurice" is another take on the dish, where instead of being wrapped in an omelette, the rice is topped with lightly scrambled eggs. Chicken-flavored rice is the most common filling, but specialty shops often offer different filling and flavoring options.
Spaghetti Napolitan:Spaghetti mixed with ketchup and toppings. Some shops serve Napolitan on a hot skillet.
Spaghetti meatsauce:Spaghetti topped with a sauce made with ground meat, similar to Italian Bolognese sauce.
Ebi fry:Shrimp coated with breadcrumbs and fried. Eaten with ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, or tartar sauce.
Kaki fry:Oysters coated with breadcrumbs and fried. Eaten with ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, or tartar sauce.
Katsuretsu (cutlet):Pork coated with breadcrumbs and fried. Eaten with ketchup or Worcestershire sauce. Also called "tonkatsu."
Korokke:Mashed potatoes mixed with sautéed diced onion and ground beef, shaped into a ball, coated in breadcrumbs, and fried. Believed to come from the European "croquette." Eaten with ketchup or Worcestershire sauce.
Cream korokke:Fillings are mixed with a white sauce made from milk, butter, and flour, which is then shaped into a ball and fried. Some popular fillings are crab, shrimp, and corn.
Hambagu (Hamburg steak):Ground beef or pork is mixed together with sautéed diced onion, breadcrumbs, egg, and seasoning, shaped into a ball, and cooked. Hambagu come with many toppings, such as a light sauce made from grated daikon radish and soy sauce, a demi-glace sauce, or simply topped with cheese. There are numerous restaurants specializing in hambagu.
Guratan (gratin):Fillings are topped with cheese and a white sauce made from milk, butter, and flour, which is then baked in an oven. Chicken and seafood, such as crab and shrimp, are popular fillings.
Beef stew:Beef and other ingredients such as onions and carrots are stewed in broth, then flavored with tomato puree or demi-glace sauce.
White stew:Chicken and other ingredients such as onions and carrots are stewed in broth, then flavored with white sauce.
Roll kyabetsu (cabbage rolls):Ground meat is mixed with minced vegetables and seasonings, shaped into a ball, then wrapped in a cabbage leaf. This is then stewed in broth and seasoned. Some are seasoned with salt or tomatoes, others stewed in a Japanese-style sauce rather than broth to make a Japanese-style roll kyabetsu.
Hayashi rice:Rice topped with a sauce made from demi-glace; similar to Russian beef Stroganoff.
Menchi katsu:Ground beef shaped into balls, covered with breadcrumbs and fried. Eaten with ketchup or Worcestershire sauce.
Doria:White rice or pilaf covered in white sauce, cheese, and toppings, then baked in an oven. Chicken and seafood, such as crab and shrimp, are popular toppings.
Pilaf:Rice cooked in broth instead of water.
Toruko rice (Turkish rice):Local dish of Nagasaki, located in the western part of Japan. Typically accompanied by pilaf, spaghetti Napolitan, or katsuretsu.
Escallop:Katsuretsu on top of buttered rice, topped with a demi-glace sauce. Local specialty of Hokkaido, the northernmost area of Japan.
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