Open Road Review Cuisine The authenticity of American-Japanese Food

The authenticity of American-Japanese Food

Japanese cuisine

At the end of the last century, the popularity of Japanese cuisine has reached its climax. To large extent, it is connected with the fact that seafood is a main component of food of the Japanese, and, according to the opinion of most experts, belongs to “proper nutrition“. In addition, Japan is the country, where the rate of life expectancy is the highest one. This boom is can be also explained by the increased interest of the West to the exotic East.

In the U.S. the number of Japanese restaurants has increased up to 9000. According to experts, the number of the restaurants of Japanese cuisine doubled by 2009, reaching almost 50 thousand. The question that interests all restaurant goers and amateurs of the Japanese cuisine in America is its authenticity. Everybody wants to be sure he/she eats authentic Japanese food, prepared according to the old Japanese traditions.

Authenticity of cuisine

Prior to discussing the authenticity of American-Japanese food, it is necessary to explain what the authenticity of cuisine is. Briefly, the authenticity of cuisine is its preparation, according to the traditions of the country, from where it is originated. Speaking about the American-Japanese cuisine, it can be regarded authentic, when it is prepared from the ingredients of Japan origin and strictly according to Japanese receipts. One more important element of authentic Japanese food is that the Japanese cook, who knows how to prepare original dishes from the original Japanese products, should prepare it.

The fashion for Japanese food leads to erosion of the national Japanese cuisine. In most American-Japanese restaurants, the biggest part of the cooks are  Chinese or Korean, who have no idea about the authentic Japanese food and, what is more important, have no experience in cooking Japanese traditional food (Ohnuki-Tierney, 2006). They are trying to adapt Japanese food to the American taste.

The Japanese themselves say that the seafood in American-Japanese restaurants is not fresh.  It contradicts to the very essence of Japanese cuisine.

In Japan “seafood” is served in the most expensive restaurants and cheap eateries straight from the fish markets. The sharp decline in the quality of Japanese restaurants abroad has prompted the Japanese authorities to take urgent measures to stop this trend. First, the Japanese government would like to see their restaurants abroad to run by the Japanese themselves. Secondly, that fishing companies should be interested in increasing the export of fish products to the USA. Only a few expensive Japanese restaurants in the U.S. and Europe import “fresh fish” by airplanes directly from Japanese fish markets (Lewis, 2015).

Unfortunately, despite huge popularity of Japanese food it cannot be called authentic in America, as original Japanese traditions are not observed in the course of its preparation. Cooking of Japanese food has become a trend, aimed at increasing profits of the restaurants, but not at introducing people with the original Japanese cuisine. For the Japanese, it is very important not only dishes, but also the manner of their eating; therefore, they show a remarkable aestheticism in the process of food preparation.


Unfortunately, American-Japanese food cannot be called authentic, because it has been adapted to the tastes of Americans. It is not prepared from the original and authentic Japanese products, and is rarely cooked by the Japanese cooks, who have been storing Japanese culinary traditions for centuries. Unfortunately, it ruins the image of Japanese identity in America.

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