Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Sukiyaki, one of the most famous dish and song in Japan

Sukiyaki is a popular one-pot meal which is usually cooked at the table as you eat. This is one of the famous dish for foreigner together with Sushi & Tempura. It is cooked with thin sliced beef, tofu, noodles and vegetables.

There are two or more meaning of its name.  It’s said that the name of sukiyaki is from the word “suki”which means SPADE in Japanese and “yaki” means GRILL in Japanese. During Edo period, farmers were too busy to prepare dainty food, so they just used suki to cook things like fish and tofu to eat. Another theory of the name “sukiyaki” is from the word “sukimi” which means “thinly cut meat” in Japanese. However, sukiyaki became a traditional Japanese dish during Meiji era.


A song “Sukiyaki” is a Japanese hit that became widely popular in America despite Japanese lyrics that hardly anyone in US could understand. Mr. Kyu Sakamoto was a star in Japan as both an actor and singer, and this song, known in Japan as “Ue O Muite Aruko” was a #1 hit in Japan in 1961. Sometimes in 1962, a British music executive Louis Benjamin heard this song when he was traveling in japan and he had his group Kenny Ball & his Jazzmen record an instrumental version that made it to #10 on the UK charts. Benjamin renamed the song “sukiyaki” after Japanese food he enjoyed. And later the song made it to America and it went to #1 on the Hot 100 for 3 weeks! Enjoy the meal and song together!