Ingredients, dishes and drinks from Japan by Ad Blankestijn

Friday, January 15, 2016



Sugar. さとう、砂糖。

Japanese sugar is made both from sugar cane (sato-kibi, good for 20%), grown in Kagoshima Pref. and in Okinawa, and from sugar beets, grown in Hokkaido (tensai, good for 80%). Pure white sugar is the norm.

Sugar consumption was 16.4 kg p.p. in 2010, down more than 5 kilos compared to 1985. Daily consumption per person is also rather low in comparison with other countries: Japan stands at just 45 gram, against 172 g. for Brazil, 167 for Australia, 127 for Germany and 89 for the U.S. (figures from Japanese Wikipedia).

[Sugar cane]

One reason is that in the traditional Japanese kitchen sugar is only relatively little used - there are after all also other sweeteners, such as mirin. Sugar is mainly used in nimono consisting of vegetables or fish which are simmered in soy sauce and sugar. In contrast, the use of sugar in the Western and Chinese cuisines is much more extensive. In Japan, sugar is of course often found in Western-style prepared foods.