Full Japanese Breakfast, slightly scaled down

Recently, a reader asked in the comments about what I have for breakfast. It is definitely not as elaborate as this one.


This is a typical breakfast that is served at a traditional inn (ryokan) in Japan. (You can also get it at Western style hotels in Japan too, if your knees are not up to sitting on the floor to eat.) It is either served in your room, or at a large communal dining table.

The star of the show is a fresh, whole fish (more desirable in Japan than a piece of fish) - an aji or horse mackerel in this case - grilled and served with a little grated daikon radish and soy sauce. There's also a packet of flavored nori seaweed, which is used to wrap little morsels of rice.


There's also an onsen tamago, a soft poached egg where the white is soft set and the yolk is harder set, served in a sauce.


There's also a couple of slices of kamaboko (a fish paste product, sort of like a firm sausage in consistency), a small container of natto, and a hot bowl of miso soup with tofu and wakame seaweed. (Often you will get some pickled vegetables instead of kamaboko.)


Just in case you were wondering, this is a miniature. You can see the scale here compared to my fingers, as I lift up the lid that keeps the rice warm in the bowl.


It's one of the sets in the _Mankitsu Washoku Dokoro_ series from Re-ment (previously). This series celebrates traditional Japanese cooking (washoku) in its many forms, and a breakfast like this is certainly a great part of that.

Do Japanese people eat like this all the time though? Not really. As you can imagine, it takes some time to assemble a spread like this. So people look forward to a breakfast like this when they go to an inn, more often than not at a hot springs (onsen). At home, you might have an abbreviated version of this breakfast, perhaps with the rice, miso soup and one or two other items (a fried egg and some pickled vegetables perhaps). But more often than not a breakfast in Japan is likely to be toast, eggs and fruit or something. (Cereal is also eaten, but is not that popular.)

I guess you could call the breakfast spread a Full Japanese, akin to a Full English (breakfast) with eggs, bacon, sausages, fried bread, baked beans, and so on. I occasionally get a craving for a Full English too! But I really look forward to my next trip back home to Japan to enjoy a Full Japanese at an hot springs inn.

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