Video: The Most Exotic Ingredients in Japanese Cuisine

Explore the intriguing and often unexpected world of Japanese cooking. Discover the most exotic ingredients found in authentic Japanese cuisine that are unfamiliar to the Western palate.

1. Wasabi Root

Wasabi Root

Most people only know wasabi as a green paste, but it's actually a root vegetable that is grated to produce its unique, spicy flavor.

2. Yuzu


Yuzu is a citrus fruit that is often used in Japanese cuisine to add a refreshing taste to dishes. It's unique due to its combination of tartness, bitterness and underlying sweetness.

3. Shiso


Shiso is a leafy herb with a unique flavor that is often used in salads, sushi, and other Japanese dishes.

4. Konnyaku


Konnyaku is a jelly-like food made from a type of potato. It's virtually flavorless but is prized for its unique texture.

5. Miso


Miso is a fermented soybean paste that is a staple in Japanese cuisine. There are many different types of miso, each with its own flavor and uses.

6. Umeboshi


Umeboshi are pickled plums that are often used in Japanese cuisine. They have a sour, salty taste and are often served with rice.

7. Natto


Natto is a traditional Japanese food made from fermented soybeans. It's known for its strong smell, unique texture, and high nutritional value.

8. Katsuobushi


Katsuobushi is dried, fermented, and smoked skipjack tuna. It's often used to make dashi, a soup stock that's a fundamental component of Japanese cooking.

9. Mirin


Mirin is a type of rice wine that's similar to sake but with a lower alcohol content and higher sugar content. It's often used in marinades to add a sweet flavor.

10. Tofuyo


Tofuyo is a fermented tofu dish from Okinawa. It's often served as a starter with sake and has a strong, unique flavor.