They’re two of the most common Asian cuisines, but are Japanese food and Chinese food interchangeable? What’s the difference between them?
The Short Answer:
No, Japanese food and Chinese food are vastly different from one another.
The Long Answer:
The birth of Asian fusion restaurants has caused a ton of confusion among American diners when it comes to the major differences between Japanese food and Chinese food. And make no mistake about it, dear reader, there are a ton of differences between these two cuisines. In fact, Japanese and Chinese food are as different from one another as Japan and China are themselves.
One major difference between the two is that Chinese food is generally more diverse than Japanese food because China is a massive nation with many diverse regions, all of which have their own cooking style.
Japanese food is, for the most part, extremely light. You’ll find less oil used than in Chinese food, and it is generally low in carbohydrates. Rice and noodles are involved in Japanese meals, but not to the extent that you’ll find them used in China.
A lot of Japanese food is fried at high temperature in flat pans called teppans. Food prepared on a teppan generally remains raw and juicy on the inside while crisping on the outside. Being an island, a lot of Japan’s more famous meals are seafood based. It should also be noted that uncooked food is traditionally very popular in Japan. Sushi would be the most famous example, and it’s usually served in a platter.
Chinese cuisine relies on a lot of carbohydrates, most famously rice and noodles. The Chinese don’t share Japan’s aversion to heavy oil in their cooking, as most Chinese dishes use quite a lot of it. That makes Chinese food less healthy than Japanese food, by and large. Most Chinese food is cooked in a dome-shaped pan called a wok which allows food to be cooked evenly inside and out thanks to constant tossing and turning.
Another huge difference between the Japanese and Chinese choice in cuisine is their beverages. Tea is huge in both nations, but the kind of tea they prefer varies wildly. In China, they like to drink black tea after a meal. Meanwhile, in Japan, they love green tea, including matcha.
So, while both Chinese and Japanese foods are greatly appreciated in the U.S. and beyond, there are major differences between the two that should not be mixed up.
Do you prefer Japanese food or Chinese food? What is your favorite? Are you a sushi lover? Sound off in the comment section below and let us know