Four Lesser-Known Japanese Foods

Onigiri pic

As the managing partner at Markmel Company LLC in Urbandale, Iowa, Mark Allen Hanrahan identifies and closes transactions involving venture capital and real estate. When not dedicating his time to his business, Mark Allen Hanrahan enjoys traveling and sampling different cuisines, and he has a love for Japanese dishes. While sushi and tempura are mainstays on Western-influenced Japanese menus, some less-familiar Japanese foods include:

1. Onigiri. Simply called “rice balls” by many, these seasoned treats are filled with a variety of different ingredients, from salmon to roasted pork belly. Originally, they were made as easy snacks for those in wartime Japan in the 17th century.

2. Omurice. The name of this dish is a mixture of the English words “omelet” and “rice,” and the dish combines eggs and rice. The rice is also often mixed with meat and vegetables of the maker’s choice, and ketchup finishes an omurice plate.

3. Ankimo. Comparable to foie gras, ankimo is gently salted fish liver, often served with a delicate ponzu sauce.

4. Natto. An acquired taste for many, this pungent dish is regarded as a Japanese comfort food. Extremely healthy, natto is made of fermented soybeans that are both gooey and crunchy.