Sushi and udon are popular Japanese dishes, but have you ever eaten Napolitan spaghetti (spaghetti rinsed in cold water and stir-fried with vegetables in ketchup) or menchi katsu (deep-fried breaded hamburger) at a Japanese restaurant? The New York Times profiles yoshoku cuisine, the Japanese take on Western food that originated in the mid-1850s and has since become an integral part of Japanese cuisine. Besides ketchup-ed spaghetti and deep-fried hamburger, yoshoku cuisine includes curry (thick and stew-like), omu rice (an omelet stuffed with ketchup-flavored rice), and tonkatsu (deep-fried pork cutlet).
Although these dishes may not be as well-known as traditional Japanese foods, I hope yoshoku cuisine can someday be as popular outside of Japan as sushi. Katsu in all its forms (although preferably pork-based and accompanied by a big pool of curry) has been one of my favorite dishes ever since I was little, and omu rice is another favorite of mine. My Hawaiian friend Kathy Chan told me that yoshoku is just basic food found in Hawaii, which tells me that I definitely grew up in the wrong state.
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