Japanese Cuisine Gains More Popularity in the United States

July 18, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. cuisine / kwɪˈzin / (n.) – a style of cooking
Example: The restaurant is known for its authentic French cuisine.

2. inspire / ɪnˈspaɪər / (v.) – to motivate someone to do something
Example: His love for sweets inspired him to start his own candy shop.

3. prestigious / prɛˈstɪdʒ əs / (adj.) – having an excellent reputation or status
Example: Our new chef graduated from a prestigious university.

4. filling / ˈfɪl ɪŋ / (n.) – a mixture of food stuffed into something
Example: The cupcake has strawberry filling.

5. texture / ˈtɛks tʃər / (n.) – how something feels like when being touched
Example: This expensive bread has a very soft texture.


Read the text below.
Japanese cuisine is becoming more and more popular in the United States.

Over the recent years, many Americans have become more interested in Japanese cuisine. Many Japanese restaurants have, in fact, gained popularity in the country. One of which is the restaurant called Qui [kee]. Inspired by the three-Michelin [MI-shel-in]-star sushi restaurant, Sukiyabashi Jiro, Paul Qui established this restaurant in Austin, Texas in 2013. With its popularity, Qui received the James Beard Award, the most prestigious prize for restaurants in the United States.

A food shop in San Francisco, named Onigilly, also became famous because of its Japanese-style rice balls called onigiri. The famous rice balls, which cost $3 each, contain spicy shrimp and bacon fillings. Koji Kanematsu, owner of the food shop, shared that the Americans have accepted the rice balls because they are convenient to eat.

In Brooklyn, New York, a weekend food market called Smorgasburg [SMAWR-guh s- burg] serves ramen burgers. This now-famous ramen burger, sold by Keizo Shimamoto, is made of hamburger patties sandwiched by buns made from ramen noodles.

With its popularity across the globe, Japanese cuisine has already been included in UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage in 2013. According to Philippe Pons of The Guardian, light and healthy Japanese cuisine is famous because of the importance it puts on texture, flavor, and presentation. This can thus be attributed to why some of the renowned and most talented chefs are Japanese, Pons added.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Aside from the reasons in the article, why do you think Japanese cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the United States?
·         Do you think it is okay to modify Japanese dishes to suit the taste of foreigners? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         How can the popularity of a country’s cuisine promote its culture?
·         What is the importance of promoting one’s culture?

July 18, 2015