Dish of the Day: Niku

Dish of the Day: Niku

Niku or meat in japan is the staple food for the Japanese.  Mostly the Japanese use niku as ingredients for many main dishes. If you go to Japan, there are a lot of niku or meat that have been served in a different kind of dish. Niku is a meat of the edible animals like pig, duck, chicken, cow and lamb.

Whether it is fried, boiled, grilled, or broiled, niku is best eaten in every way. The meat is cut into thin slices so people could savour the taste of meat in every single bite.   

History of Niku

Up util the 6th century, Japan was claimed as one of the meat-eater countries. Meat or niku-like pork and deer is mainly known as the most consumed meat by the diner. However, with the influence of the religions, the Japanese started to change their diet slowly. They only consumed plant-based dishes afterwards. 

The first meat-ban is in 675 AD, which is meant for the people to keep off animal like monkey, chicken, cow and dog off the pots. During that time, keeping livestock was cruel. Too many animals were killed for their flesh and bone to satisfy people hunger and desire.

Keeping and growing livestock are considered bad for the environment. More livestock means more forests need to be burned down to prepare special food for the animal. During that time, the agriculture industry was e far more important than growing livestock which people brush off the keeping livestock activity.

The act of killing an animal for their flesh is considered selfish as livestock population has worsened due to the hunting. Animals like deer and boar were almost entirely off the sight due to animal hunting. The meat ban was considered as one of the best ways to conserve both forest and livestock in Japan.

With that, the Japanese people stopped eating meat and consume only plant-based dishes for centuries. Eating meat was considered as taboo in their belief. The monks of the ancient days symbolise eating meat as destroying the soul of the diner. The Japanese entirely avoided meat-eating for more than twelve centuries.

However, not eating meat affects the Japanese in many ways. One of them is the physical of the Japanese. Over the years, more Japanese had weak physiques. They were short and skinny and considered as low in the social hierarchy, and it was believed due to lack of meat and dairy product consumption.

In the 16th century, meat-eating was promoted by the Portuguese. The huge physiques of the Portuguese gave the Japanese a good impression of meat consumption. The Portuguese cuisine which is packed with tempura, beef and dairy product was introduced to Japanese.

In the year 1872, a Japanese poet publicly ate meat and broke the taboo. Eating meat at that time was considered as a symbol of breaking out of the social hierarchy. With the public meat-eating, the Japanese took that as tacit permission to eat meat and slowly changed their diet.

In only five years, the vegetarian country has changed into an omnivorous nation. Meat or niku was enjoyed in every meal. People enjoy eating squid, beef, pork, seafood and chicken to their heart content.

Types of Niku Dishes

  • Yakiniku

Yakiniku is a Japanese term for grilled meat. It is influenced by western barbeque meat.  The meat is cut into bite-size and served with vegetables. Usually, the meat will be grilled with the built-in barbecue place on the table in a restaurant.  There is special dipping sauce that works best with the niku.

  • Nikujaga

Nikujaga is beef stew that is cooked thinly sliced beef with potatoes over low heat. The reason behind of meat that cut into thin slice is to make the simmering time shorter. It is comfort food for most of Japanese and one of daily meal in every house in Japan.  

For nikujaga, meat is used to give flavour to the stew and a fair amount of meat is put into the stew, but some people prefer to make nikujaga with sliced pork.

  • Niku-dofu

Nikudofu is a healthy food that benefits to health. It is usually used as dietary food because it contains a lot of nutrition. This dish cook using tofu and beef as main ingredients and few vegetables on your choice that makes this dish look healthy. 

Niku-dofu is a quick dish that has a mouth-watering taste. The tender beef with flavourful tofu absorbs the flavours of all the ingredients. 

  • Niku-miso

Niku-miso is a side dish that usually serves with steamed rice. This simple dish could make you ask for another round of rice. Niku-miso is a dish that uses grounded meat and seasoned with fermented soy sauce.

The mix of ginger, garlic and onion giving a pleasant aroma. Sugar plays an essential role in this dish since it helps to balance out the taste of fermented soy sauce. 

Where to Find Niku in Malaysia

You can find Niku in Osaka Bento. This restaurant serves delicious and tasty of different niku dishes for you. If you are keen to eat comfortably in your house, scroll through foodpanda for the delicious meals!

Article Written By Anna

Anna is an absolute foodie, and lives by the motto that food is happiness. She is a writer by day and a gamer by night. She believes that good food comes from all over and is constantly amazed by the passion and dedication it takes to make food that warms the soul.

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