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Editor’s Notes

Hello, this is Pocket Concierge editing team.
When you eat grilled meat at a steak or teppanyaki in Japan, the restaurant will also serve you their special steak sauce. There’s all kinds of flavors depending on the restaurant.
It is a known fact that the taste of the soup of udon or soba (buckwheat noodles) is different in Eastern and Western Japan. In the East, the color is darker and has a stronger and sweeter taste, made using bonito flakes. In the West, the color is golden and the taste is lighter, made using kelp for the broth.
Let’s take a look how the steak sauces differ in East and Western Japan.


1. The Basic Japanese Steak Sauce

2. Steak Sauces in Japan; East vs. West

3. Steak Sauces in Japan; a Variety of Flavors

1. The Basic Japanese Steak Sauce

Before we take a look at the differences between the steak sauces of East and West Japan, let’s learn more about the basic facts about steak sauces.

・Basic Ingredients: Vegetables, fruits, vinegar, spices
Steak sauces are made using these ingredients. It’s a condiment that was created in the West for eating meat. The “A1 Sauce,” a classic steak sauce popular in the US is a good example.
There are many fans of A1 Sauce in Japan. If you go to a steak house, in Okinawa, you’ll most likely find one. Although many people think A1 Sauce is from the US, it’s actually made by a British company called Brand.

・Flavor: Tart and spiced
The tart flavor that comes from the vinegar and stimulates your appetite. It’s considered to be similar to Worcestershire sauce. The sweetness that comes from fruits and the spiced flavors brings out the delicious flavors of the meat.

2. Steak Sauces in Japan; East vs. West

So what kind of characteristics do Eastern and Western Japanese steak sauces have?
In East and Wet Japan, the type of the sauce families have are different. East Japan has a thick, slightly sweet sauce called “chuno sauce.” The West has a more watery, slightly spicy “Worcestershire sauce.” The different tastes the region prefers has to do with this, in addition to the fact that the manufacturers are different depending on the area.

【East Japan】Steak sauce with a great balance of tartness and sweetness

East Japan generally tends to favor strong flavors. This is why it has lots of steak sauces like “chuno sauce” that is sweet and tart . East Japan tends to eat more pork than beef, so people eat a lot of sautéed pork other than steak.

【West Japan】Spice-flavored, steak sauce

West Japan produces a lot of famous, brand beef. The area consumes a lot of beef, which might be the reason it uses a steak sauces that are closer to the standard steak sauce used in the West.

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3. Steak Sauces in Japan; a Variety of Flavors

There are all kinds of steak sauces in Japan. Here are some of them.

‘Wafu’ sauce

The wafu sauce, which means Japanese style sauce, is increasingly becoming the standard steak sauce at many restaurants. It uses soy sauce as a base, and pairs great with any part of the meat. Some are slightly sweet and other are tart, suing citrus like ponzu. A lot of restaurant s will serve it with grated daikon radish. Sprinkle some shiso leaves as an accent and the flavors to draw out the flavors of the meat.

Onion sauce

The sauce is made using garlic and soy sauce including onions that might be grated or finely chopped. Onions are packed with good-for-you nutritious so it’s a great choice for health-conscious people. It goes well with lean meat and fatty meat.

Red wine sauce

A Western type sauce made with red wine, butter, and soy sauce as an accent. It has a mature flavor like French cuisine. It pairs great with slightly fatty meat.

BBQ sauce

You might think that BBQ sauces are unthinkable for steak. However, the sweet sauce that might taste similar to ketchup really goes well with meat. We recommend pairing it with lean meat.

Garlic butter

Butter type sauce are used more to add flavor than as a sauce. Sparkle salt and pepper on your steak, and melt the butter with garlic included. The richness of the butter and the fragrance of the garlic will stimulate your appetite. It goes well with fillet or lean meat.

【There’s more!】 Fruit sauce

You can also enjoy your steak with apple or berry jam or fruit sauces. This is a great choice with meat that has a unique flavor like duck or lamb rather than beef.

Concluding Notes

There’s all kinds of ways of pairing sauces with different kinds of meat depending on the region or cooking method. Try these different ways of enjoying steak by choosing different parks of the meat, season, and timing of eating the steak. Find your very own combination of sauces and steak meat and enjoy the steak culture of Japan.

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The fruits of Nagasaki, where the owner spent his college years, are put on full display in the middle of Ginza; behold in wonder the ‘Char-Grilled ‘Oki’ Beef Steak’, fired up on a metal spit to keep the mouthwatering juices condensed within, an absolute can’t miss specialty.

【Written By: Hana Ito】


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