What do the Japanese eat for breakfast

Japanese breakfast - healthy variety in artistic bowls

Japanese breakfast can be many things these days: a packaged onigiri from the Conbini or a sandwich. But what does a traditional Japanese breakfast actually look like? And how healthy is the so-called Asagohan (jap. 朝 ご 飯)? If you are looking for answers to these questions, you will find it in our article.

A balanced breakfast in the morning guarantees an energetic and healthy start to the day - people in Germany know that as well as in the land of the rising sun. But while people in this country eat bread, butter, jam and the like for breakfast, in Japan there is often fish, soup and rice on the breakfast table.

This is what the traditional Asagohan consists of

A traditional Japanese breakfast is known as asa gohanwhich means "rice in the morning" in German. Rice plays just as central a role in Japanese breakfasts as it does in all other meals in the country. Just as important as rice is the miso soup, which is based on Dashi is prepared.

Dashi is a light broth made from dried seaweed and bonito fish flakes. The flavorful broth is just as much a part of the classic Japanese breakfast as the fried or grilled fish. Its taste is so intense because the liquid contains a lot of natural glutamate.

In addition to fish, soup and rice, various side dishes are eaten at Asagohan in Japan - for example pickled vegetables, nori seaweed and eggs. These are either raw for rice (nama tamago), poached (onsen tamago), fried (medama-yaki) or as an omelette (tamago yaki) served.

Fermented soybeans are also a popular part of the Japanese breakfast. However, these can be a culinary challenge for one or the other foreigner. Due to the fermentation of the beans, the so-called developsNatto namely not only a very intense smell, but also a stringy slime that is not for everyone. So it is hardly surprising that the sticky soybeans are one of the 10 most getting used to in Japanese cuisine.

Is Japanese Breakfast Healthy?

It may be strange to the western palate to eat fish and rice in the early morning hours - but it is always healthy. The Japanese breakfast, Asagohan, is one of the healthiest in the world and has provided the Japanese with the energy they need for a busy day for centuries. While soybeans contain unsaturated fatty acids and provide the skin with moisture, rice dehydrates the body and stimulates the metabolism with vitamins and fiber. It is not without reason that the Japanese are said to be responsible for their balanced traditional diet, which is partly responsible for their high life expectancy.

As healthy as it is, traditional breakfasts are becoming increasingly rare in Japanese households. Nowadays, almost half of the Japanese prefer bread on the breakfast table, if only for reasons of time. The so-called is popular Shokupan Toast, a simple, very soft white bread that is usually eaten with jam. Eggs, ham, yogurt, corn flakes and fruits are also widely used for “western style” breakfast.

Breakfast in Japanese hotels

Travelers can choose between different types of breakfast in Japan. As a rule, every Japanese hotel offers both a “western” and a traditional breakfast. Often these are also offered mixed in large and rich breakfast buffets.

However, if you want to enjoy an authentic Japanese breakfast, a visit to a traditional Japanese inn, the Ryokan, recommended. Here you will find the most exuberant and richest Asagohan. For the first meal of the day, lots of ornate bowls with Japanese delicacies are usually served here. These are strongly influenced by the seasons and change depending on the season.

In times when fruit and vegetables in particular are available at any time through imports and greenhouse cultivation, the inns, which are often still family-run, rely on the use of regional and natural ingredients.

Japanese takeaway breakfast

In today's Japanese society, which is characterized by pressure to perform and long working hours, it is simply impossible for many people to prepare breakfast in the morning. Japanese people of working age in particular often forego the morning meal and prefer to buy their breakfast in the convenience store around the corner.

In the so-called Conbini there is not only everything you need for life, but also small onigiri rice balls that are filled with salmon flakes, tuna or pickled plums. The so-called sando sandwiches, which can be bought with a filling made of tuna, egg salad, potatoes or schnitzel, are also popular.

Those who prefer classic bread instead of Asagohan will find a large number of bakeries and confectioneries in Japan. In addition to classic French baguettes, there is, for example, the sweetened one Melon pan-Loaf, Anpan, a pastry filled with red beans, and numerous other baked goods.

According to a Japanese survey on eating habits, the Japanese eat breakfast on average about 13.5 minutes a day. More than half of the almost 70 percent who have breakfast every day do so alone. This is partly due to the growing number of single households. Current data shows that in times of the corona pandemic, more adults eat breakfast regularly than younger people. 40 percent said they had a balanced diet at their meals.