Good Japanese food is more than just food in the mouth, it’s an experience. In general, it tends to look and feel like a cleaner, less fattening type of food. But like every well-developed global cuisine, there’s going to be more than a few sinful delights. Here’s what you should order to dodge the fat:
Sashimi over Sushi
When in doubt, always choose sashimi over sushi with the same fish. We get that sushi may seem like a more complete meal, but sushi is always so bite-sized that it’s always going to be a little too easy to eat. Couple that with the commonly used short grain sushi rice, and you’ve got the potential to end up in a carb glut situation. You don’t get that with sashimi, because all you savour is fish.
Lean fish first!
It’s tempting to go for the Otoro sashimi because of that tantalising texture and melt-in-your-mouth sensation. But, if you’re on a diet, then you probably want to focus on putting in some serious protein to propel your workouts as well. Here’s where the leaner fish come into play. Instead of fattier cut of tuna, go for the leaner maguro cut. Also, skip the salmon belly and substitute that with one or two pieces of blowtorched salmon sushi if you like them. You’ll still keep that flavour without taking in extra fat.
Ramen is fine…
… in reasonable quantities of course! Nobody can resist a good bowl of ramen noodles, especially when it comes with a finely balanced pork bone broth and consistently firm noodles. Ramen, in general, can be a challenge for people on a diet because of the heavier salt and simple sugar content. In these situations, it’s important to do a few things: Limit your Cha Siu intake, avoid the pork belly add-on options, skip the onsen egg, and never under any circumstances go for a Kaedama. That last one, means they give you extra noodles to finish off whatever left over soup stock you might have in your bowl.
Tonkatsu – Hire over Rosu!
The deep-fried Tonkatsu is always an indulgence. There will be days you end up being drawn into a sumptuous dinner over a beautifully breaded piece of pork. Do not panic, because you always have a choice. Choose the leaner fillet (Hire) cut over the more premium but fattier loin (Rosu) cut. Some people might balk at the idea of eating fillet cut because they think it is drier, but a good Tonkatsu restaurant will dish out fillet cut Tonkatsu that’s pink and juicy on the inside. Of course, always opt for multigrain rice or a half portion of rice, and avoid refilling your rice bowl. Most Tonkatsu restaurants offer free refills of the vegetables, so aim for extra fibre by replenishing your lettuce!
The key takeaway? Balance
It’s all about balance, at the end of the day. You don’t always have to avoid certain foods altogether just because you’re on a diet – it’s all about portion control. If you’re craving for a bite of the fatty tuna or a good slice of fatty pork loin, please go ahead. Just remember to moderate yourself and not indulge excessively on them!