Ichi Ju San Sai: the Principle of a Perfect Japanese Meal

  • People say Japanese food brings long life span to all of us. If you like or are used to some hot and strong-tasting foods, our national food may taste a bit weak to you, but let’s take a look at what kind of meal Japanese usually eat.

    This is what Japanese typical dining looks like.
    The keyword is: one soup, three side dishes. Ichiju sansai in Japanese.

    This is a Japanese dining ritual, which has passed down for generations. A bowl of rice, soup and 3 kinds of side dishes are considered perfect for our health. So let’s see what kind of soup and side dishes are popular when we prepare our meal.

    1. Miso soup

    Most of us have been grown up eating this traditional food. Miso is made of soybeans and taste a bit sweet. It contains vitamin Bs and warms us up in the morning.

    Tofu, green onions or mushrooms… we can add whatever we like in it, and they all match miso. These days people try tomato, celery, and meat balls… some kind of unique miso soup. But it sounds good!

    2. Osuimono

    This is very similar to miso soup, but is different in its color and taste.
    While miso soup has some miso in it, osuimono includes only soup stock and soy sauce or salt, which can add a slight flavour to it. Due to its weak flavor, we consume less salt and it helps us to freshen our taste buds. Next, let’s mode on to the side dish section.

    3. Nimono

    Nimono is also familiar, and it directly translates into simmered food in English. Vegetables, seafood, meat, beans… there are tons of food that ise good for this side dish. It warms us up especially in the cold seasons, but we eat it at any time of the year.

    4. Aemono

    This is a very simple one, we just dress vegetables in some seasoning. We can say marinated food in English. The one in this picture is one of the most popular aemono in Japan: spinach marinated in a sesame sauce. Aemono can taste weaker than other Japanese cuisine, that is, so we can enjoy the real flavor of the vegetables.

    As you may have realizes, each dish is very simple and nutritionally perfect. Try the ichiju sansai meal if you have a chance to visit Japan!