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The 5 Most Popular Japanese Dishes in the UK

Japanese food has become increasingly popular in the UK over recent years. There is a wide variety of Japanese dishes available in UK restaurants, including sushi, ramen, tempura, and teriyaki. Many UK cities have dedicated Japanese restaurants that offer authentic cuisine, while others offer fusion dishes that incorporate elements of Japanese cooking with other cultural traditions. In addition, there are also many UK chains that specialise in Japanese fast food, such as bento boxes and katsu curries. Japanese food has become a beloved part of the UK’s culinary scene, with its combination of healthy ingredients, bold flavours, and visually unique presentation appealing to many diners.

Chicken Katsu Curry

Katsu chicken curry is a very famous Japanese dish, loved by the UK population for its perfect combination of crispy chicken and mild curry flavour gravy served with hot steamed rice. The dish is traditionally made with pork, but the UK’s favours the chicken version.

Katsu chicken curry is Japan’s favourite comfort food and easy to cook from scratch using simple ingredients. Coat the chicken cutlet in panko breadcrumbs to create a crunchy exterior, and then fry until golden brown. Make the accompanying curry sauce with onions, garlic, ginger, curry powder, turmeric, flour, chicken stock, coconut milk, sugar, salt, and soy sauce. Plate up next to the rice, add your side salad or greens and enjoy!

Salmon Maki Rolls

Sushi always gets an enthusiastic reception in the UK due to its convenience as a finger-food and flavour versatility. Salmon Maki Rolls are a type of sushi roll that consist of vinegared rice, raw salmon, and sometimes avocado or cucumber, wrapped in nori seaweed and cut into bite-sized pieces. These tasty seafood rolls are a go-to option for those in the UK who are relatively new to sushi and prefer milder flavours, and are typically served with soy sauce and pickled ginger.

Maki rolls are a great party snack and making them at home is far cheaper than ordering them at a restaurant. It’s easy and fun to make your own rolls, as long as you master the rice – rice vinegar and mirin are essential ingredients for seasoning the rice, and make sure to fan your rice before working it into rolls. Pick up some bamboo sushi mats from your local Asian supermarket and roll your cooled sushi rice and filling into the classic cylindrical shape. 

Miso Ramen

Japanese noodle soup has become increasingly popular in the UK, with many restaurants offering various styles, including miso and tonkotsu. Ramen consists of Chinese-style wheat noodles served in a meat or fish based broth topped with ingredients such as sliced pork, dried seaweed, and green onions. 

Miso ramen has a creamy texture and is usually made with pork or tofu, miso paste, chicken stock, soy sauce, ginger, shiitake mushrooms, pak choi, spring onions, seaweed, and beansprouts. Its broth is thick and rich and due to its unique flavour, miso ramen is one of the most popular varieties of ramen in the UK. 

Teriyaki Chicken

Teriyaki Chicken is marinated in a sweet and savoury sauce made from soy sauce, sugar, sake, mirin, and ginger, and then grilled, broiled, or pan-fried. Typically, the chicken is dipped in or brushed with sauce several times during cooking. The sauce gives the chicken a glossy appearance and a rich flavour, and the dish is typically served with rice and vegetables. 

Teriyaki Chicken is a popular dish because of its simple preparation and delicious taste, and is the perfect easy dinner served with rice and a simple cucumber salad.

Vegetable Tempura

Vegetable tempura is a moreish dish consisting of a variety of veggies that are battered and deep fried until crispy. The batter for tempura is typically made with wheat flour, cold water, and eggs, and is flavoured with spices and seasonings to create a light, crispy texture. Some common veggies used in vegetable tempura include carrots, aubergine, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, and sweet peppers. The dish is usually served with a dipping sauce, such as tentsuyu – a mixture of dashi, soy sauce, and mirin.

Tempura is a common street food in Japan, where vendors sell hot, crispy tempura on sticks. It is also growing in popularity in the UK and can be found at many Japanese and Asian restaurants, food festivals and street food markets. The dish is enjoyed for its light and crispy texture, and the combination of textures from the batter and the ingredients being fried. 

There are many more delicious Japanese dishes that can be found in restaurants across the UK. There are only a few core ingredients in Japanese cuisine that are used to create traditional dishes: rice, dashi (broth), miso (soybean paste), nori (seaweed), mirin (sweet wine), and soy sauce. Add these staples to your cupboard at home to recreate your favourite flavours of Japan!