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Japanese Cuisine: Pantry Essentials for an Authentic Home Cooking Experience

Sep 11 2020 - Blog

Making Japanese cuisine is an art. From preparation and presentation to the quality of ingredients, much thought is put into each recipe to ensure it brings out the unique umami flavour and connects with every diner.

The core of Japanese cuisine lies in the practice of shun (旬) – a Japanese word that refers to the use of seasonal ingredients at their freshest for the best flavour. Traditionally, shun ingredients are only used for kaiseki, a multi-course meal commonly served to the noble classes. Today, its uses have diversified as a cornerstone for all Japanese dishes. The concept of eating seasonally has even grown beyond Japan, extending to various cuisines around the world.

If you’re someone who enjoys savouring Japanese cuisine, chances are you’ve tried your hand at making Japanese dishes or at least bookmarked some classic recipes. So we’ve rounded up some pantry essentials (and recommendations) to get you whipping up Japanese dishes at home in no time!

Japanese Shoyu (a.k.a Soy Sauce)

An indispensable condiment at any dining table (especially for Asians), soy sauce is known as shoyu (醤油) in Japan. While the Chinese-style soy sauce we are familiar with is made of 100% soy, Japanese shoyu is made from fermented soybeans, wheat, salt and koji rice mould. The resulting Japanese-style mixture unlocks a sweeter umami flavour with a clearer and thinner texture than its Chinese counterpart.

Sky Recommends: Tsurubishio Organic Soy Sauce

Tsurubishio is a fine example of naturally brewed premium soy sauce that has been aged between three to five years. Characterised by a rich mellow flavour, you’ll be amazed at how different your dish would taste with the added fragrance from Tsurubishio Organic Soy Sauce.

Perfect to go with sushi, sashimi, meat, tofu, grilled fish, and even over vanilla ice-cream – which, by the way, creates a caramel-like flavour!

Japanese Vegetables

If there were awards for ingredients, Japanese vegetables would take home the best supporting role to every lead dish – starters, mains and even desserts! It’s evident how their presence brings out impressive flavour potentials in different dishes. For a start, here are a few selections you should try!

Sky Recommends: Harvest of the Season – Vegetable Set

Bamboo shoots in spring, bell peppers in summer, shiitake mushrooms in autumns, and daikon in winter ─ our Harvest of the Season vegetable set brims with a healthy assortment of the finest and freshest Japanese produce directly flown in from Tokyo’s Toyosu Market!

A quick way to get your essential ingredient fix and a perfect gift for any veggie lover in your life.

Sky Recommends: Shiitake Mushrooms

A favourite among those who prefer rich-flavoured mushrooms with a meaty texture. Shiitake mushrooms add an earthy umami flavour to many dishes, especially with soups, sauces, gravies, meat and nabe (hot pot) dishes!

Sky Recommends: Yuzu Daikon

Marinated with sweet vinegar and seasoned with yuzu citrus, this sweet and sour pickled dish has the original refreshing taste of yuzu and a crunchy texture you will enjoy. A simple dish that comes in handy as a quick side or a garnish to dishes.

Japanese Rice

The dietary staple in Japanese cuisine and therefore one of the most important things to master when making an authentic Japanese meal. Unlike the long-grain variety (e.g. Jasmine rice) commonly consumed in Asian countries, most Japanese rice types belong to the short-grain variety.

When perfectly prepared, Japanese rice should be light, fluffy and slightly sticky. In fact, this unique stickiness of Japanese rice is a defining character of Japanese cuisine.

Sky Recommends: Hokkaido Yumepirika 50% Polished Rice

The middle-of-the-road alternative for health-conscious fans who favour the taste of Japanese white rice but yearn for nutrient-rich brown rice. 

Yumepirika is one of Hokkaido’s finest grade rice that exemplifies quality and is known for its natural sweet flavour, stickiness and soft texture. This brand of rice has developed a unique taste of its own after years of cultivar improvement efforts.

Sky Recommends: Niigata Koshihikari

This best-selling and popularly consumed Japanese rice is specially grown in the Niigata prefecture. 

In Japan, the Niigata prefecture is renowned for being a rich natural production land with the best soil for superior quality rice and sake cultivation. Niigata rice excels on all fronts and is supported by many Japanese as the nation’s top brand.

Also read: An Introduction to Japanese Rice, Types of Japanese Rice Products


There’s so much more to Japanese cuisine than just sushi and sashimi ─ let’s get started on your Japanese culinary adventure today!

Interested in stocking up some Japanese pantry essentials? Start your free One-Day Membership Trial with us and enjoy more member-exclusive eStore deals for 24 hours!

At Sky Premium, we make it possible for our members to access a variety of premium seafood, seasonal fruits and vegetables directly flown in from Tokyo’s Toyosu Market, on top of a wide array of carefully curated products from handpicked partners, delivered right to your doorstep


Live the Good Life – discover the best of Japan with Sky Premium today.