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Japanese Cooking Utensils That Every Authentic Asian Restaurant Must Have

Japanese cuisine has a long and rich history. In Japan, food is often seen as an art form, and the presentation and preparation of dishes are highly valued. Modern cooking utensils and many tools used to prepare traditional dishes have evolved from traditional ones.

One of the key characteristics of Japanese cuisine is the emphasis on fresh, seasonal ingredients. From seafood and vegetables to rice and noodles, each ingredient is carefully chosen and prepared to bring out its natural flavours and textures. 

Cooking with traditional techniques requires a wide range of specialized tools and equipment, including knives, graters, mortars, and pestles.

Are you planning to start a Japanese restaurant? Well, it’s your lucky day (or as they say in Japanese: Sore wa anata no kōun’na hidesu) because, in this article, we have prepared a detailed list of all the Japanese kitchenware you will need to serve the most delicious Japanese food. 

Must-Have Japanese Cooking Utensils For Your Restaurant 

1. Knives 

There are many different types of knives used in Japanese cuisine, each with a specific purpose. Some of the most common types include:

  • Santoku knife: This versatile knife is great for slicing, dicing, and mincing. It is often used to prepare ingredients for dishes like stir-fries, soups, and salads.
  • Nakiri knife: This type of knife is typically used for cutting vegetables. It is ideal for slicing and dicing ingredients for dishes like tempura, sushi, and salads.
  • Deba knife: This is a heavy, sturdy knife used for filleting and butchering fish. It is typically used to prepare ingredients for dishes like sashimi and sushi.
What are some Japanese tools?
Different Japanese knives have a different purposes and should be used correctly for the best outcome

2. Graters and Zesters 

Graters and zesters are essential tools for any Japanese kitchen. They are used to shred or zest ingredients like ginger, wasabi, and citrus fruits, which are commonly used in Japanese dishes. Graters and zesters are often used to prepare ingredients for dishes like sushi, tempura, and sauces.

Click here to learn the tools every professional chef recommends in a restaurant kitchen

3. Mortar and Pestle

A mortar and pestle is a traditional Japanese kitchenware used for grinding and crushing ingredients. It is often used to make sauces, pastes, and other condiments and is an essential tool for preparing dishes like tonkatsu, tempura, and teriyaki.

The mortar and pestle help in providing a fresh and tangy flavour to Japanese cuisines for which it is popular. The stone allows all the juices to be properly mashed, and the pestle ensures that the herbs get a grainy consistency.

So, if you were planning on making your wasabi paste in a grinder, we would strictly advise against it. 

What are the different tools and equipment used in Oriental cooking?
The mortar and pestle allow you to maintain the freshness of the ingredients

4. Long Cooking Chopsticks

Chopsticks are an essential part of Japanese cuisine and are used for cooking a wide range of dishes, including rice, noodles, and sushi. 

Here is a fun fact to know before you open your own restaurant: in Japanese culture, the cooking chopsticks are known as Ishibashi and are usually 30 cm long. 

Providing much more dexterity than a pair of tongs, they make it simple to retrieve a piece of food from the pan’s bottom. 

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They won’t conduct heat as quickly as those tongs do either because they aren’t made of metal. Additionally, they are the ideal tool for measuring oil temperature.

There are many different types of chopsticks available, including bamboo, wood, and plastic.

Japanese kitchen equipment list
The long chopsticks are practical because they do not conduct heat like tongs

5. Sushi Mat

Ooo Sushi! Probably the first dish any Japanese cuisine lover would have ever tried. Naturally, it is essential to Japanese kitchenware, and a kitchen (not to mention your Japanese menu) is incomplete without it. 

A sushi mat, also known as a makisu, is a flat, rectangular mat made of bamboo or plastic. It is used to roll sushi and other types of maki rolls.

The top and bottom of a sushi mat are in addition to the front and back. When using, ensure sure the flat surface is facing up and that the edge with the strings attached is on top (the side with the bamboo skin).

Japanese kitchenware brands
The sushi mats are available in bamboo as well as silicone materials

6. Tamagoyaki Pan

A tamagoyaki pan is a rectangular frying pan with sloping sides that is specifically designed for making tamagoyaki, a type of rolled omelette. It is typically used to prepare dishes like tamagoyaki, chicken-sandwich, and omelette rice.

Want to know how to make your kitchen equipment last longer? Click here for a detailed guide!

7. Wok

A wok is a versatile pan with high, sloping sides that is commonly used in Japanese cuisine for stir-frying.

A wok requires a high-heat burner that can easily and quickly stir fry the ingredients. Wok frying is relatively new to Japanese cooking; hence, most recipes do not require a wok.

However, as a Japanese restaurant, it is important to have a wok as a part of your Japanese cooking utensils to ensure you can fulfil all customer demands. 

best Japanese cookware
The wok needs a high-intensity heat burner to evenly distribute heat and stir fry vegetables properly

8. Cookers

There are several types of Japanese cookers in the arsenal of cooking utensils that are commonly used for preparing traditional dishes:

  • Rice cooker: Rice is a staple of Japanese cuisine, and a rice cooker is an essential tool for preparing perfectly cooked rice. Japanese rice tends to be stickier than other cuisines and should not be prepared without it.
  • Donabe: A donabe is a traditional Japanese clay pot used for cooking various dishes, including soups, stews, and rice. Donabes are made of porous clay, which allows them to retain heat and moisture, resulting in perfectly cooked dishes. They are commonly used to prepare dishes like shabu-shabu, sukiyaki, and nabemono.
  • Takoyaki pan: A takoyaki pan is a specialized pan used for making takoyaki, a type of octopus ball snack. It is typically made of cast iron or aluminium and has several small, circular indentations for cooking the takoyaki balls.
  • Shichirin: A shichirin is a small, portable charcoal grill that is commonly used in Japan for grilling a variety of dishes, including meats, vegetables, and seafood.

Yes, pronouncing Japanese cooking utensils is more difficult than cooking Japanese food, but that’s the fun part! You not only learned about the important cooking utensils in Japanese cuisine, but you also learned a new language. And for that, Dōitashimashite (read: you are welcome)

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Anukriti Singh
Anukriti Singh
A strategist by the day and writer by night, I find solace between books and coffee cups. A firm believer that words are the most powerful tool of the humankind


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