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Japanese Cuisine in India is no longer an exclusive phenomenon


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Japanese Cuisine in India is no longer an exclusive phenomenon

It wasn’t so long ago that the everyday urban Indian would cringe at the idea of consuming raw fish. Today, Japanese-cuisine restaurants are frequented by many in cities, and it is a fascinating development. Japanese culture, as a whole, has charmed the young India. The country has become a symbol for wellness and tranquility, and this improved access to Japanese cuisine gives its Indian admirers a chance to experience it authentically, even for a short while.

Japanese entertainment is the India’s first point of contact for the cuisine

Studio Ghibli is seeing a resurgence among young people all around the globe. A reason why people got into watching these films is because of the popularity of its kitchen scenes. The long sequences of simple dishes being prepared put people in a trance, with those scenes becoming nothing short of art.

Japanese pop culture, particularly anime, has taken India by a storm. Manga comics and anime shows like Naruto and Jujustsu Kaisen seem to be all the rage. We now have Japanese merch in the product lines of prominent sellers. These show that Japanese entertainment is no longer just a popular phenomenon. In fact, like K-Pop, Japanese culture too has become a normal part of youth culture in India. And it is also this precise generation that is open to consuming Japanese cuisine on a regular basis.

Japanese cuisine is similar to that of India’s

Japanese and Indian cultures are also similar on some grounds. They are rooted in traditions and have a rich history. Palate-wise too, Japanese and Indian cuisine share some similarities. Carbohydrates, for example, form a major component of both cuisines. Rice is a staple used in heaps of Japanese dishes, and also in Indian ones. Indian comfort food includes homely dishes like rice with rajma, daal, or even dahi. Ramen (a Studio Ghibli icon), as common as it is in Japan, finds a contemporary in India’s reliance on instant noodles like Maggi. The goal is to eat a simple dish, a purpose served by both dishes. Japanese dishes are also packed with flavor, a quality synonymous with Indian food. 

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How Indian restaurateurs are opening up India’s perspective on Japanese cuisine

The only factor that had people distancing from the cuisine was the inclusion of raw fish and other protein. Sushi, and sashimi – two of the most common Japanese dishes – are incomplete without them. But Indian restaurateurs championing Japanese cuisine have worked their way around this issue. Katsu, for example, is the Japanese version of the Indian cutlet. Many restaurants have designed their menus to drive attention to other varieties in Japanese cuisine – it’s not all just sushi and raw meat. Some have also brought added Indian twists to traditional Japanese food. 

Today, a few hundred Japanese cuisine restaurants run in India. It exists as a new player in India’s street food scene, and also as part of fine dining in India. Japanese cuisine in India has graduated from its niche status, and is set to welcome more Indians to experiment with it, now that negative attitudes around it have ceased to exist.

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