Japanese Food: What Are Tsukemono?

Pickled Japanese food is called tsukemono

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

Japanese food can be prepared in a variety of ways, from grilled dishes to pickled dishes.

There are many different kinds of Japanese food. Some Japanese food comes from traditional Japanese recipes, while other types of Japanese food borrow styles and techniques from European influences. Ultimately, Japanese food is a very varied cuisine that is reflective of the different regions of Japan.

Tsukemono is a Japanese term that means “pickled things.” Tsukemono are Japanese preserved vegetables that are commonly pickled in salt, brine, or a bed of rice bran, and they are also commonly served as a side dish or a snack. Tsukemono is often served as a side dish with rice and as a snack with drinks.

Additionally, tsukemono can be served as a garnish on foods or as a dish in kaiseki, which is a traditional multicourse meal.

One example of tsukemono are matsumaezuke, which is a pickled dish from Hokkaido that is made from dried squid, herring roe, carrot, and ginger with a mixture of sake, soy sauce, and mirin. Another example of tsukemono is beni shoga, or a red ginger pickled in a umeboshi brine, that is used on a garnish on Japanese foods including okonomiyaki.

The tsukemono that is typically served as a side dish with rice are turnip, Chinese cabbage, or cucumber, among many examples. 

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