Traditionally Japanese people eat rice and miso soup for breakfast. Miso soup consists of a stock mixed into miso paste. The paste can vary in flavor depending on personal preference. Vegetables and meat can also be added in this soup. The common ingredients used for flavor are mushrooms and fish. Other ingredients like potatoes, carrots, and shrimp can also be added.
The Japanese are particular about the preparation of this soup. The vegetables and meat are first cooked in the stock. The stock is made from either dried sardines, tuna or shitake mushrooms. In some versions, chicken stock or vegetable stock and tofu is also used. Once all the ingredients are cooked, this is taken off the heat and then the miso paste is dissolved in it, and served. These days, instant miso soup is also available in the market and can be reconstituting in hot water or green tea before consumption.
Other items consumed at breakfast time by Japanese people include egg, fish, salad, bread and sausages. Sometimes pickled vegetables and tea is also a part of breakfast. Due to the influence of western eating habits, some Japanese families enjoy toast, egg, and cereal for breakfast. Although sushi is a popularly known Japanese food item, it is not eaten at breakfast time.
Rice is part of the staple diet in Japanese culture. Besides rice, fish and other seafood is very common. Other ingredients and seasonings for all Japanese meals include noodles, beans, ginger, mushrooms, soya sauce, rice wine vinegar horseradish, Saki and wasabi.
The Japanese are known for their particular customs during meals. It is traditional to sit on tatami mats while eating. Use of chopsticks is customary. It is considered polite to offer pouring a drink to your companion before filing your glass and considered rude if you waste the food in your plate. It is also considered rude to eat while walking on the streets and should be avoided.
Japanese people have healthy eating habits. They stress on eating a diet that is low in fat, high in protein with lots of vegetables. Though they enjoy eating meats like pork, beef and chicken, their portion sizes are small. Traditionally Japanese avoid fast canned and frozen foods, though the younger generation enjoys westernized dishes like spaghetti, hamburgers and pizzas as well. Their secret to a long life is exercise along with healthy foods and green tea, which is a part of nearly every meal.