Japanized foreign dishes - Gyoza, Curry, etc.
About Japanized foreign dishes
Curry and rice
In Meiji period (1868-1912), mass Western cultures flowed into Japan, because Japan had closed the country to foreigners for a long time.
Especilally western-style dishes grew in popularity as gorgeous foods.
Japanese cooks invented the new western-style dishes liked by Japanese people.
They checked the dishes that the foreigners staying in Japan were eating.
They served rice instead of bread, and used ketchup and demiglace as seasonings.
At the same time, Chinese people built Chinatown in Yokohama, Kobe and Nagasaki.
They served cheap and common Chinese dish, and they become popular.
After the end of World War II (1945), Japanese people who came back from the area in China that Japan had occupied introduced the Chinese dish which they had eaten in China.
Chinese cuisine was accepeted relatively easily, because many Japanese foods had been affected from China since the ancient times.
Japanese people have absorbed the cuisine of other countries.
Above dishes are already popular for current Japanese people.
But the dishes have been changed from the original ones to Japanese favorite taste.
The followings are such Japanized dishes.
They are recognized as real Japanese dish.
Popular Japanized Chinese dishes
Gyoza is a food around northern China, and is called "Jiaozi" in Chinese.
(In Japanese, "o" in the word is pronounced long, so it is read as "Gyôza".)
It is a food that a lump of minced pork and chopped vegetables (mainly cabbage, Chinese chive, garlic) is wrapped with a thin dough.
In Japan, Gyoza is mainly fried on a pan.
And we eat after dipping it in the sauce mixed shoyu, vinegar and hot sesame oil.
Commonly, it is a side dish of ramen or rice.
In China, gyoza is mainly one of staple foods, and it is eaten after boiing in hot water.
Therefore, Japanese Gyoza is quite different food from Chinese Gyoza.
In some cities, Gyoza is a local specialty of the city.
Most popular cities are Utsunomiya (Tochigi prefecture in Kanto Region) and Hamamatsu (Shizuoka Prefecture in Tokai Region).
"Tenshin" means Tianjin which is a large city in northern China.
"Han" means "rice" and a word from Chinese language.
Tenshin-han is a dish that Chinese omelette with crab meat is put on rice and sour-sweet sauce is poured on it.
The style is in a category of Donburi dish (Rice bowl topped with cooked food).
But the Chinese omelette is one of Cantonese cuisine in the southern China, and there isn't a dish of the omelette on rice in the area.
During the food shortage era after World War II, a Japanese cook in Tokyo or Osaka made such dish with using ingredients from Tianjin.
It is said that the misterious name was given for the only reason.
Of course, we cannot find such dish in Tianjin city in China, and Chinese people don't know the dish.
Popular Japanized western-style dishes
Curry rice is the name in Japanese.
In English, it is called "curried rice" or "curry and rice".
It is the very popular dish, and is one of the dishes most Japanese people like.
Originally curry is an Indian dish.
Because Englishmen brought this from colonial India into Japan in the late 19th century, Japanese people believed that curry was a Western dish.
Then, Japanese Navy invented the cooking to put curry on rice as a smart dish in 1873.
White rice are spread on a dish, and curry which has cooked with any meat and some vegetables (onion, carrot and potato) are put on the rice.
As the meat, beef, pork and chicken are OK.
And prawn or shrimp is sometimes used.
Of course, there is also "vegetable curry" without meat.
We eat with a spoon, mixing the rice and curry.
Generally fukujin-zuke or rakkyo is served as a pickle.
Curry rice is often made at home.
And, many various restaurants serve the dish with curry.
We can find not only curry rice but also udon and soba of curry, and there is even a bread stuffed with curry.
As a variety of curry rice, there is the dish that a Tonkatsu (Japanese pork cutlet) is topped on the curry rice. (The name is "Katsu-curry".)
Hayashi rice also popular dish, and it is the dish that the roux is put on the rice like curry rice.
Generally, the roux is made by stewing fried beef and onion in a thick demiglace sauce mixed red wine and tomato sauce.
The roux is similar to "hashed beef".
It is said that the Japanese name "hayashi" came from "hashed".
Because beef is not cheap and the roux is a little gorgeous, Hayashi rice is mainly served at Western style restaurant.
Omu-rice means "the rice with omelette".
First, boiled rice is fried with chopped chicken, onion and other some vegetables.
And it is seasoned with ketchup.
Next, above rice is wrapped in a thin sheet of fried egg like omelette.
Generally, it is served with putting ketchup or demiglace sauce on it.
It is said that a Japanese chef invented this dish in 1900.
Spaghetti Neapolitan is made by frying boiled spaghetti, sliced onion and green pepper with ketchup.
Usually sliced Vienna sausage or ham is added.
Originally this is invented for army of occupation after the World War II, and "Spaghetti Neapolitan" was named by a Japanese chef of a hotel in Yokohama around 1946.
After this, it has been popular in Japan, so until recently Japanese people has believed that it is one of orthodox Italian spaghetti dish.
Of course, we can't find such spaghetti at Naples in Italy.
There are many orthodox spaghetti restaurants in Japan.
But it is a little difficult to find this "spaghetti Neapolitan" at such restaurant.
We can eat this at most cafes, family restaurants or cheap restaurants.
In Japanese we call them as "ebi-furai".
The head of prawn is taken off.
It is prepared in a batter of wheat flour and beaten egg.
Then, it is coated with bread crumbs and is deep-fried in hot oil.
It is often eaten with tartare sauce that chopped onion, pickles, parsley, boiled egg, etc. are mixed in mayonnaise.
Such method of cooking (deep-frying after coating with bread crumps) was started by a restaurant in Tokyo around 1900.
Since that, the fried dish with bread crumbs became popular in Japan.
A few fried fishes such as Aji-furai (fry of horse mackerel) and Kaki-furai (fry of oyster) are popular.
For meats, "katsu" is used as the name instead of "furai".
Tonkatsu is a fine example and is the most popular dish using pork.
There are many restaurants that specializes in Tonkatsu.
Menchi-katsu is a fry of ground meat mixed chopped onion.
Korokke is a fry of mashed potato mixed chopped meat and onion.
Kushikatsu (or "Kushi-age") is a skewered fry of a few pieces of pork and vegetable.
"Kushi" means bamboo skewer.