What is important to make Japanese food is "fermented food". It is used as a seasoning or some ingredients when you cook some Japanese cuisine.
Fermented foods are foods that are processed by fermenting some ingredient by microorganisms.
When the ingredients are fermented, the flavor is changed and you can conserve it longer than usual. Also, the nutritional value becomes high when it's fermented, and the health effects which enhances the immunity is obtained. Here we introduce three fermented foods that are commonly used in Japanese cuisine.
Fermented Food 1 Soy Sauce
Soy sauce used as a seasoning for almost all of Japanese cuisine is liquid, but in fact soy sauce is made by fermenting soybeans and wheat. In Japanese, it is called "Syo-yu".
There are different types of soy sauce, such as "Strong", "Weak", "Sweetened" and "White" etc... And recently, you can buy some soy sauce like "For Sashimi" or "For Raw Egg on Rice".
Fermented Food 2 Miso
Rice and miso soup are always together in Japanese meal, but miso is the cornerstone of the taste when you make miso soup.
It is fermented food made by fermenting soybeans. There is a difference in the type of miso used mainly by the region in Japan the change in the color and the taste because of the difference of the process and the raw material.
You might find that miso soup's color is always different. It is normal. Because miso is produced by many area in Japan. Different process, different ingredients or different temperature.
Fermented Food 3 Natto
Natto that many Japanese love enough to eat almost every day is not popular with people from outside Japan.This natto is also one of fermented foods, and it is fermented by adding 'natto bacteria' to soybeans.
It is a standard way to eat with rice, but you can eat it in Okonomiyaki or omelet. With curry and rice that I recommend! Trust me!
Fermented foods have an inseparable relationship with Japanese food culture, and sake and shochu are also fermented food companions. It may be difficult to accept the unique flavor of natto, but I know that seasoning and alcohol can be widely accepted by people all over the world.
Since these fermented foods have a high shelf life, I recommend you to find your favorite fermented food as a souvenir gift for your family.