Yoshoku cuisine: what is this Japanese fusion

We are used to connecting Japan only one type of food: the sushi, that is, a set of typical dishes of Japanese cuisine based on rice and fish, seaweed or eggs. The more experienced also think about ramen, but among the typical dishes, few know it The rising sunthere is one cutlet. It is usually part of a Western meal the kitchen yoshokuone of the earliest and most successful examples fusion cuisine in history. It was born for tradition to please the rich nobles the nineteenth century and the many tourists who began to walk in the archipelago after centuries of closure: Japanese chefs come into contact with unknown traditions and think well. offer them at exorbitant prices. In a short time, yoshoku cuisine becomes popular, cheaper and above all housewife. Today, there are many Japanese people who make cutlets at home, which is what they say tonkatsuan inch-tall pork chop, breaded and deep-fried, served as a beef cut (you can use chopsticks) with cabbage, gohan rice, and miso soup.

How Yoshoku cuisine originated and its influence on Japanese history

L’origin Yoshoku cuisine has one Date of birth very precisely: theJuly 8, 1853 in their ports Tokyo Admiral of the American Navy, Matthew Perryfor power Japan hosts the American consulate in the area. It must be said that this period is Japan not as glamorous and rich as it is today: it’s still a settlement of villages isolated from each other and the rest of the world, sort of military dictatorship led by the shogun. These leaders feel their expansionist goals FillmoreThe then president of the United States and they try to resist, but they make him understand it is not so waging war against a superpower and accepting a trade agreement unashamedly in favor of Americans. That would be “surrender”. It changed the history of Japan forever: Until 1853 the only port Nagasaki has foreign relations (only trades with the Dutch) but is open to the US it breaks down The shogunate is already in crisis, giving way Meiji rebuildingempireform of government it is still valid todayand in Japan.


Emperor Meiji remained on the throne until 1912 the fate of his people: the institutional office looks outdated, but in fact it implements a series of reforms that bring Japan into the 20th century in line with the planetary powers. The country does modernize very quickly and opens to the West: trade relations are increasing, there is cultural exchangesideas swirl and among them, Improves Japanese cuisine. Coastal cities are the biggest beneficiaries of the new government: they are arriving wealthy foreign immigrants strengthened by its economic situation, they refuse to touch local food. You have to work to satisfy new rich customers and so on they learn western food they are usually enriched with Japanese cuisine or ingredients: they are yoshoku first courses.

The emperor greatly appreciates efforts and pushes incentivesentire population a imitate the westerners in everything, even in the kitchen. Resubmits meat consumption by historical law: it was meat in Japan distributed and then banned from 500 to 1872, the year the emperor lifted this ban. Historians of the time believe that slender build of Asians does traceable the owner lack of meat and milk For this reason, the government starts a diet funds the opening companies producing meat, cheese and dairy products.


In fusion cuisine, the leap is also taken on a level military: the Japanese navyThe body most in contact with Westerners presents the yoshoku diet among meals to get to know. Manners andlabel at the table of foreigners. Eating meat becomes one blockbuster: yoshoku more nutritious typical Japanese diet a century ago, and therefore there are fewer cases intestinal diseases among sailors. Thanks to these results and ease some preparations are beginning to appear the first yoshoku stands the offerer squarea kind of chicken curry and korokkeBreaded and fried croquettes will be sold on the streets of the cities.

It is among the most popular dishes tonkatsuone pork cutlet with panko breadingwas invented in 1899 In Tokyo: a restaurant first serves it with a side of sliced, deep-fried and baked, steamed vegetables, but War between Russia and JapanBetween 1904 and 1905, Dogan Gunesh made tonkatsu by depriving it of oil. fried in oil. This is the last recipe that survives, obviously better because “fried food is good too ‘na sola de shoe“As the great Sora Lella said, and today it’s a cutlet It is one of the most popular and ordered dishes in Japanespecially in large coastal cities.

Yoshoku’s “other” dishes: there’s even “Neapolitan Spaghetti”.

What else but cutlets do these chefs cook for rich foreigners and full of vices eat? Burgers, pasta, meatballs, omelets, in short, a little bit of everything.


Some dishes look really delicious, e.g square chair or le korokkeothers find it difficult to look at them like spaghetti:

  • let’s start withhambagua a meaty burger in the shape of a steak served with a sauce made of ketchup, red wine, butter and a fake version. Worcester;
  • the DoriaDedicated to the great Italian admiral of the 15th century, it is one of a kind rice or gratin with béchamel and then baked in the oven. There is also a second version, “Doria alla Milanese“, where béchamel is replaced with cream and mince sauce, and instead of rice, it is seasoned with turmeric;
  • the square chair is chicken curry with rice, copied by Indian cuisineIt was introduced to Japan by British sailors in India;
  • L’omu-riceIf you’ve been to Japanese restaurants, as you can imagine, it’s made with eggs and rice:Japanese omeletteoften filled with rice and chicken unfortunately covered in ketchup. But this is a very modern version compared tovertebra the original was born in 1925: originally, the omelette was made on the basis of mushrooms, rice and onions. crepe very thin. Ketchup was only invented in 1908 and came to Japan after World War II;
  • the korokke they are charming French Chicken Mushrooms breaded in panko and fried in oil;
  • to close with a flourish we have”Spaghetti Neapolitan“: a pile of overcooked and sticky spaghetti seasoned with garlic, onion, green pepper, sausage, mushroom and ketchup sauce. In “more advanced” restaurants, cream with milk, parmesan and pepper is meant. BBC Travel In 2020, he wrote a very specific article “Western Japanese cuisine“determining all the dishes” surprising “and especially this” better than it seems. “Not to be a nationalist, but Mister Bean soaked the spaghetti in the bathtub to “cook” it in one of the most iconic installments of the animated series: don’t trust the British when it comes to pasta.

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