Beef vs Pork – Comparison of 3 Typical Japanese Dishes

Apr 15, 2017

Which Dishes Do You Like?

This is out of the blue but where do you live in Japan? If you have lived in 2 or more cities, did you live both east and west part of the country? You might already know that food culture of Japan is quite different from east and west part. The best-known difference could be shoyu, udon/soba soup, etc. However, when you eat some meat dishes, you might be surprised at the difference; beef or pork. Because meat-eating culture varies in these parts, beef is more common on Kansai, and pork is more common in Kanto. These are some examples of comparison, and you may try cooking your meals.

Comparison 1   Curry and Rice

Curry and rice are one of well-known Japanese dish and popular among non-Japanese people as well. Main ingredients are meat, carrot, potato, and onion. When people use meat, Kansai people usually choose beef, and Kanto people tend to choose pork. Because beef was easier to get in Kansai area, and that is why beef is more popular there. Retort curry manufactured by several companies are usually made by beef, and it might be it is common in Kansai and Kanto people think it is quite luxury. Here is some retort curry ad in the 1970s, and it says “with beef and vegetable”. The manufacturer is based on Kansai area, and it might appeal it is made by beef to give the more high-quality feel.

Comparison 2   Nikujaga

Nikujaga (simmered meat and potatoes) is one of the most popular Japanese dishes as good old home cooking. It is also made by beef in Kansai, and pork by Kanto (below). The writer is from the west part and used to work in Tokyo, and tried Tokyo style nikujaga once, however, it is felt thinner taste than “beef” nikujaga. Co-workers said that nikujaga must have been made by pork because they never knew it has different ingredients from the east and west part. But you may try different meat as you like wherever you live. Therefore, you can also make tasty one if you choose chicken.


Comparison 3   Niku-man

Nikuman (steamed buns with meat filling) is originally from China but has become popular in Japan. The word “niku” (meat) occasionally means beef in Kansai, and pork in Kanto (that is why it is also called “buta-man” in Kansai). In Kansai, the filling is made with simple ingredients; minced pork, onion, and salt (below). On the other hand, it is also added ginger, green onion, shiitake, bamboo sprout, sesame oil, doubanjiang (Chinese hot bean paste), etc. in Kanto. You can get both in CVS, and there are some famous dim sum shops in both Tokyo and Osaka area which mail order is available, and it might be good to get them to taste the difference, too.