The Japanese cuisine is possibly one of the most famous food trademarks in the world. The food here is brilliant, for the most part. But in the long-term, I prefer more variation in my diet than what is considered normal in Japan. Sushi is probably the first thing you think about and this is one of the two dishes that shares my top spot. The other is Japanese ramen.
I think the sushi in Japan is among the best things I’ve ever had, in all categories. Each bite is such a well balanced sensation in your mouth that I can’t recall having anything quite like it. Ramen is a sort of noodle soup that originally came from China way back but have been transformed over time into its own kind of dish in Japan. It is usually made up from a broth cooked for a long period. The most common basis ingredient for the broth is miso paste (fermented beans), soy sauce, chicken or pork bone. They can all be amazing and finding a good option depends more on the restaurant than the menu. I have had many bowls of ramen by now and I would say it can definitely reach the same level of satisfaction as sushi, but in another way. In the situation of having been out for a whole day skiing, or waking up with a bad hangover, a ramen meal is the perfect medicine. The warm, spicy and smooth liquid fills you up like nothing else. The taste can be so finely composed that it feels like it tenderly glazes all the receptors in your mouth and covers up your whole body with joy.
I guess it is understandable that sushi is not as good in Sweden as here in Japan, but at least there still exists reasonably good options. Ramen on the other hand is not really a thing, at least in Sweden, and I don’t understand why. The dry packs of noodles you can get in supermarkets doesn’t even come close to represent the completeness of real ramen. I have thereby made it a bit of my mission to replicate this delicacy when I come back.
Another thing I have appreciated in Japan is that they actually have a pretty good collection of beer brands. Due to collaborations with European countries long ago, they adapted the fabrication of breweries and did it pretty well. Food is not that cheap here but eating out is still a lot cheaper than in Sweden.
There are of course more to Japanese food than ramen and sushi, but actually not a lot. Maybe it is my narrow understanding. But it seems to me that the core meals are basically covered by rice or noodles together with meat or fish. Then it comes in different forms and shapes but not in a very large difference. They really like deep fried things (tempura) and they really like curry. These are examples of things I have grown rather tired of.
The school cafeteria that provides the biggest part of my diet has a pretty standard offer of selection. It is a good thing I like rice and noodles. They rarely change the menu too so I have had the same things quite a few times now. Vegetarian options are very limited and all the main courses contain meat. The salad bar is alright but pretty unambitious. Breakfasts here are either like any other meal or just sugar. I have never missed things like rye bread and sour milk this much before.