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My father once told me a story about some Japanese guests coming over to Europe. On their stay here they were once served a sweet rice dish. The guests were so shocked that rice would be served this way that they outright refused to eat it. In an effort to save the meal they even poured some soy sauce over it which of course completely ruined it.

Now I'm asking myself, is this the common opinion in Japan? I remember a scene from the anime "One Piece" - which is one of the most popular ones - where some guy is giving a girl trouble for making a sweet rice dish, thus I think it must be a rather widespread habit.

Since rice is so very important in Japanese cuisine I would have guessed that they would use all kinds of flavouring available. Is there a special reason behind this? And does this only occur in Japan or other asian countries too?

  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is not about the preparation of food. See cooking.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic for a description of our scope. – rumtscho Jan 7 at 13:33
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    @rumtscho, can you clarify? A search for "cuisine" results in several questions that are not about food preparation per se (some are, but not all). For example, this one: cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/1161/…. ...or this one: cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/36869/… – moscafj Jan 7 at 15:32
  • @moscafj we are about cooking food, not about anything food related. This rule was created on Meta: cooking.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/275/…, and is now also codified in our scope list ("what about other food related questions", sixth bullet point). If you can find examples for questions which haven't been closed, they have "slipped through the cracks". Note that one of your examples is from 2010, so maybe before the rule was created. – rumtscho Jan 7 at 15:36
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    @rumtscho just out of curiosity, can you point me to where I can read about how rules are created? In the link you share, the votes are 5 to 5, with equally good points on both sides of the argument. How does that translate to a new or clarified rule? – moscafj Jan 7 at 15:43
  • @rumtscho, see also (dated after the link you provided) cooking.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/1112/…. Maybe you would be comfortable with an edited question? "Are sweet rice dishes common in Asian cuisine?" ...just trying to understand your reason for placing this on hold. – moscafj Jan 8 at 12:10
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Mochi is a sticky rice cake that can be served both sweet and savory. Sweetened rice pudding is not an uncommon dessert in Japanese cuisine. I think your original premise, that sweetened rice is unacceptable in Japanese cuisine is flawed. Rice is a staple in Japanese cuisine, and is used in numerous ways. Sweet preparations are certainly common. Perhaps your father's story, and your anime example, illustrate better what might happen when people expect one thing, and are presented with another. However, I think your generalized conclusion is incorrect.

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Japan is rather a sugar-loving nation.

Mostly, rice is in itself unflavoured, but will take its flavouring from the food it is served with - sweet or savoury pieces wrapped in rice then seaweed - onigiri - to take a very common example. Think of it like a sandwich - you can put anything in it.

As moscafj has already mentioned, there are also traditional Mochi which come in many sweet flavours.

Where the predilection for sugar comes in is in 'invisible sugar' - that added to foods you would ordinarily consider savoury.
Crisps [US, chips] & snacks, bread, - even pizzas & burgers, etc are all far more sweet than you would expect to find in EU or US.

One additional issue with the handed-down story is that the Japanese are really quite particular in which type of 'soy sauce' goes with which dish, so the idea that they would reach for some random bottle of presumably Chinese dark soy most westerners would have in the cupboard just doesn't sound in-character at all.

  • I think it was a dark Kikkoman sauce as this is the only type I've ever seen here. – And Jan 7 at 13:34
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    The regular Kikkoman you get in UE/US is a Koikuchi shoyu, one of the most common types [& one of my favourites], so that returns a little validity to the tale - which I see has now been closed as off-topic. I hope some of the info was useful to you anyway :) – Tetsujin Jan 7 at 13:41

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