The Best Side Dishes to Serve with Japanese Rice
Do you love Japanese rice? If so, you probably know it’s delicious enough to be eaten on its own, but have you tried it with traditional Japanese side dishes? This blog post will explore some of the best sides to serve with your favorite rice. From traditional dishes like marinated fish and tai meshi to modern favorites like aged soy sauce, there is something for everyone! So get ready to enjoy some of Japan's best flavors!
【CHIBASANCHOKU】 Canned Stewed Mackerel with Miso
This flavorful Japanese staple is made from carefully selected mackerel that melts right in your mouth. Each 180g can include several huge chunks of fatty mackerel flavored to perfection with a unique combination of miso, ginger, sake, and soy sauce. Don't be fooled by its size—this small can pack a punch of flavor, and you can even use the remaining marinade to pour over your rice if you wish. This is the perfect companion to the more subtle flavors of your favorite Japanese rice.
【QUEEN MADE】Tai Meshi (Red Snapper & Rice) Meal Kit
Another delicious way to enjoy Japanese rice is by adding it to a flavorful meal kit. This Queen Made’s brand kit comes with dehydrated, boneless red snapper chunks, fried soybean curd, kombu, and carrot. Additionally, you get a pack of rice seasoning to cook your rice. This is a perfect go-to option for anyone who wants a quick yet tasty meal with Japanese rice. Seasonings include ginger, soy sauce, and mirin, a sweet Japanese condiment similar to sake.
【YAMAROKU】Tsuru Bishio (Aged Soy Sauce)
Sometimes all you need to take your rice to the next level is a high-quality soy sauce! Did you know that, like wine, soy sauce can be aged for years to develop its flavor? Aged for four years in 100-year-old wooden barrels, Tsuru Bisho has much more depth and complexity than your average grocery store brand.
This soy sauce is made using traditional Japanese brewing methods and all-natural ingredients. As a result, it has less salt than conventional brands and quickly elevates your rice dish. Use it to dip your sashimi, add to your stirfry, or drizzle it over a fresh rice bowl for additional flavor. But once you try it, you won't return to regular soy sauce again!
【MORIKA】 Japanese Millet, Rice & Bean Blend
If you've been looking for a way to add nutritional value to your rice dishes, you should definitely try zakkokumai, also known as "mixed grain rice." You can find many different packaged blends that include grains, seeds, and beans to add protein to your next rice dish. Aside from the nutrients, this also enhances the flavor and texture of your Japanese rice. You can even prepare it as a porridge for breakfast—it's a complete meal! Our favorite is the Morika 15-grain blend with brown rice, soybeans, barley, black rice, red rice, green rice, cowpeas, and 4 different types of millet.
【KOKORONOSU】 Naturally Fermented Rice Vinegar
Made from organic Koshihikari rice and water from Mt. Fuji, this is a premium rice vinegar that simply doesn't compare with conventional grocery store brands. With the help of koji mold, yeast, and acetic acid bacteria, this vinegar is fermented in large jars over eight months to achieve a mellow award-winning flavor. By using more than double the standard weight of rice per liter, Kokoronosu rice vinegar produces a robust flavor, perfect for adding to fried rice or as a dipping sauce. This additive and preservative-free vinegar is a must-have for Japanese rice aficionados everywhere!
【HIRASHO】Aged Flaked Salmon
Aged salmon flakes are another classic side dish commonly found on Japanese dinner tables. This tasty accompaniment is prepared by shredding seasoned and cooked salmon. It's the perfect add-on to sprinkle on top of your rice or toast, just as you would with furikake. You can also mix it with dashi to make a savory bowl of ochazuke, a simple meal to enjoy.
Unfortunately, most store-bought brands have many chemical agents and additives, so it's always best to make your own or buy a trusted Japanese brand that uses all-natural ingredients. Our favorite brand uses salt, oil, sake, and sugar to preserve this delicious salmon-based rice companion. We highly recommend trying it with your next freshly cooked bowl of rice!
Explore New Ways to Eat Japanese Rice
Whether you're a seasoned Japanese cuisine enthusiast or just starting your journey into the world of Japanese rice, there are plenty of side dishes to elevate your meals. From aged soy sauce to naturally fermented rice vinegar and beyond, these accompaniments will create an unforgettable experience. And remember to experiment with different grains and blends for added nutrition and flavor. We hope you feel inspired to explore a world of possibilities with your Japanese rice dishes!