What’s so important about texture?
In Japan, texture is a very important part of the eating experience.
Taste and texture are considered distinct. In fact, sometimes ingredients without flavor are added to the dish just for the sake of their texture!
Many more food textures are accepted in Japan than in the U.S. Textures that would be unpopular in the US, such as sticky or slimy foods, are celebrated in Japan. This is why foods like natto (fermented soybeans) and some kinds of slimy seaweed are quite popular!
Japanese foods often have a desired “goal” texture. This texture is often described using an onomatopoeia. So, for example, if you try wasabi and it is especially flavorful, you would say it is “piripiri” (the sound of something stinging the tongue).
A soft and jiggly textured food, like mochi, is described as “furufuru.”
A jelly-like food is described as “wakuwaku”– trembling with excitement!
Lots of research has been done on food textures across cultures. Scientists have learned that eating many different textures is healthy because it forces us to slow down and engage our brains as we eat. That means less overeating and mindless munching!
July Japan Crate Japanese Texture Guide!
Furufuru–Trembling with excitement AND Purupuru— Wiggly and jiggly
Shikoshiko–Chewy, with elastic firmness
In Japan, there is a saying to describe something delicious that goes “shita-tuzumi wo utsu” which means “smack one’s lips,” or literally “beat the tongue-drum” (click one’s tongue). Sometimes older people will click their tongue to show appreciation for a delicious food.
Which texture was your favorite?