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Wednesday, 9th December 2015
In General Japan News,

Japan chooses its dish of the year

Onigirazu has been chosen as the Japanese dish of the year, after the innovative take on a traditional onigri rice ball swept the nation.

The sandwich like dish has proven popular throughout 2015, some 20 years since the concept was floated in a manga series.

What is particularly important about onigirazu being recognised as the official dish of 2015 is that it contains rice.

Many people in Japan have been shunning the traditional ingredient in recent years, opting for more Westernised alternatives instead.

The Gurunavi Research Institute said onigirazu that the dish’s potential for innovation and creativity makes it the perfect choice for dish of the year.

Manga author Tochi Ueyama coined the term onigirazu in 1991 in his Cooking Papa series and has seen it take off over the past 12 months.

He said: “I saw my wife throwing the dish together in a rush when our kid was small, and I drew them in manga and named them onigirazu.”

The sandwich version of the rice dish is much quicker and easier to make than its rice ball counterpart.

Seaweed is used as the base, with layers of rice and fillings spread across it, before the sheet is folded into a square and portioned up with a knife.

Regular onigiri are made in an entirely different way, with fillings stuffed into handfuls of rice that are then shaped into balls and wrapped with seaweed.

It is thanks to the internet that onigirazu have suddenly become popular, with users digging around cooking recipe sites for ideas and then sharing their creations.

The colourful fillings contrasting with the white rice and dark seaweed in layers make the sandwich-style dish very aesthetically appealing.

When travelling in Japan it is easy to taste this newest trend, as many restaurants have added onigirazu to their menus.

A number of recipe books features various versions on the dish have also been published, allowing visitors to make them at home.