Southeast Asian, Gourmet Guide

Ethnic cuisine in Japan in general refers to the cuisine of Asian countries other than China and Japan, South American, and African cuisine. Chinese food is its own genre, and therefore almost never included in Asian ethnic cuisine.

Korean, Indian, Thai, and Vietnamese food are only some of the Asian ethnic cuisines that you can find in many restaurants throughout Japan. While few, there are some restaurants that even offer Sri Lankan, Singaporean, or Moroccan cuisine. If you compare the restaurants listed on "Gurunavi," there are 50 Indian, 20 Thai, and 6 Vietnamese restaurants per 100 Korean restaurants. Many of them hire native chefs. Korean food establishments range from slightly expensive restaurants that serve almost royal food to restaurants with home-cooked meals and restaurants that specialize in Samgyeopsal (Korean thick cut pork) and Samgyetang (chicken and ginseng soup), Jjigae (stew), or Korean barbecue. During the Korean boom that began in 2004 and lasted for a few years, Korean cuisine had penetrated quite deeply into Japan. But today, the boom has settled. In the Shinjuku Ward of the Tokyo metropolis, Kawasaki City of Kanagawa Prefecture, Ikuno Ward of Osaka City, and many other areas all across Japan, there are so-called Korean towns where you can find a lot of Korean restaurants. There has also been an increase in Indian restaurants. The number of Indians coming to Japan to work in IT-related jobs is increasing, and with them the number of Indian restaurants. Curry is very popular in Japan, but Indian curry is very different from the curry Japanese people eat at home. Grilled Tandoori chicken, the naan bread you have with curry, or yogurt-based drinks such as lassis are just some of the dishes that have found their way onto Japanese menus. In Japan, it is common to eat Indian food with fork and knife. A typical Thai dish in Japan is Tom Yum Goong, a sour and spicy soup. You can say that whether you like Thai food or not depends on whether or not you like coriander, because it is used in many dishes. There also are many Japanese dishes that are referred to as "Thai-style" because they use coconut milk, Thai fish sauce, or Indica rice. Although less common before, in recent years, Vietnamese dishes have also become popular. Vietnamese food doesn't have any pecularities and only has a mild spiciness to it. There are many types of noodle dishes which Japanese people like a lot, and it seems like people also love the feeling of eating healthy by enjoying dishes such as Vietnamese salad rolls. There is also Mexican cuisine, best known for tacos, African cuisine, which is popular for couscous, and Brazilian cuisine, most popularly the Churrasco. Besides the limited number of ethnic restaurants, there are also many food establishments referred to as "Asian fusion cuisine" or "ethnic cuisine" that serve food arranged in a Vietnamese or Thai style.

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