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Dutch eat dinner
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Cook on Tokaido Road

A cook sells his wares on the Tokaido Road



The most popular foods in Edo were soba noodles (eaten standing at portable road-side stands), sushi and tempura, which were introduced by the Portuguese. Harvest from the sea was bountiful including seaweed, fish, clams, shrimp, octopus, and whale meat. Red meat was not part of the pre-modern Japanese diet, and did not become popular until the Meiji Era.

Rice was a staple and considered a measure of wealth (samurai's stipends were paid in rice). Rice cakes, wrapped in large leaves, were a popular roadside treat. Samurai ate husked rice, while nobles preferred polished rice. Though they grew rice, farmers generally ate millet.

The most popular drink among the samurai was sake, a rice by-product. Drinking was common among the samurai class, and drunkenness was not frowned upon. It was sometimes considered impolite not to get drunk at a drinking party.

IMAGE CREDITS
Top: Dutch at dinner on Dejima Island/Nagasaki City Museum.
Left: Cook/Shunji Jonoshita


FOOD GLOSSARY
Abura-age Fried bean curd
Awabi Abalone
Azuki Red beans
Daikon Giant radish
Daizu Soya
Ebi Shrimp
Genmai Unhusked brown rice
Ginnan Gingko nut
Hasu Lotus root
Kaki Oyster
Katsuobushi Dried bonito
Koi Carp
Kombu Kelp
Kuri Chestnuts
Kyuri Cucumber
Miso Fermented soybean and rice dish
Misoshiro Bean paste soup
Mochi Rice cake
Negi Green onion
Niboshi Dried sardines
Sake Rice wine
Sanhso Red pepper
Sashimi Raw fish
Shiitake Mushroom
Shoga Ginger
Takenoko Bamboo shoot
Tempura Food dipped in batter and deep fried
Thoyhu Sota sauce
Tofu Soybean curd
Tororo Yams
Unagi Eel
Wasabi Horse radish
Zoni Rice cake soup



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