Japanese Food: What is Yōshoku?

Japanese food cooked with Western influences is referred to as yōshoku

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

Yōshoku is Japanese food that borrows ideas and techniques from Western culture.

Not all Japanese food is derived from authentic Japanese recipes. Though there are many regional specialties of Japanese food that come from traditional recipes, there are also Japanese dishes that have are considered “Japanized” versions of Western dishes.

Yōshoku, which translates to “Western food,” describes Japanese food cooked with Western influences and style. This style of cooking Japanese food developed in the late nineteenth century during the Meiji Restoration when the Meiji emperor declared that Western ideas could be beneficial for Japan’s future.

The yōshoku style of Japanese food is a “Japanized version” of European dishes and often features Western names, while the term washoku refers to traditional Japanese fare.

Yet given its history in Japan, yōshoku is considered an area and staple of Japanese food with dishes including katsu, beefsteak, korokke (croquette), naporitan (spaghetti with a tomato-based sauce), Hayashi beef rice, and curry rice (Japanese curry).

Other examples of yōshoku fare are deep-fried oysters and prawns, omurice (omelet rice), stew like a cream stew, and rice pilaf.

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