Unlike other kinds of cuisine, eating Japanese food is as much an art as preparing it. For example, when it comes to some of the country’s most popular dishes, the finishing touches don’t actually take place in the kitchen but, rather, on your plate. Authentic Japanese food does not call for a lot of seasoning during cooking because it’s ultimately the condiments that make the meal.
7 Popular Condiments to Complement Japanese Food
Mirin is a kind of rice wine that is often used to eliminate the “fishy” taste in seafood while bringing out the natural, briny flavor. It is comparable to sake but has more sugar and less alcohol.
Ponzu is a tart, citrus-based sauce that is commonly used to dress fish before grilling. Authentic Japanese restaurants may also serve this watery brown condiment alongside sashimi for dipping.
Shoyu is the Japanese version of soy sauce. Made from soybean mash and wheat, this dark brown liquid is used to make a lot of other sauces but can also stand on its own as a condiment for dipping.
Pickled ginger is one of the perfect accompaniments to sushi. Because of its tangy spice and subtle sweetness, it can liven up more mild fish varieties.
5. Egomanoha Leaf
Egomanoha leaf is an herb that belongs to the mint family and is native to Southeast Asia. Also known as shiso, these bright green leaves are more than just a pretty garnish. They add a unique flavor that hints at clove and cinnamon to all kinds of Japanese dishes.
Daikon is a kind of radish native to East Asia. Because of its mild flavor, Japanese chefs often opt to pickle it before using. It is also common to grate it and toss with ponzu before serving.
When it comes to wasabi, a little can go a long way. Also called Japanese horseradish, this spicy plant is typically made into a green paste and served as a condiment alongside sushi.
If you’re craving authentic Japanese food but can’t seem to find the right ingredients—or don’t want to deal with the hassle of cooking and then cleaning the kitchen—head to Hatsuhana Hawaii. Located in Hilton Hawaiian Village, they are a favorite Japanese restaurant for both tourists and locals alike. You can view their menu online. To make reservations for a large party, call (808) 946-8287.