I'll be honest. I was hard pressed to come up with one answer. In New York, you would have to try NY style pizza. Whereas in Chicago, it's the deep dish, baby. In Memphis or Kansas City or a variety of other places, there is barbecue. And the list goes on. I couldn't name the one quintessentially American food.
Well, I have a similar problem with Japan. There are so many amazing and authentically Japanese foods. So, the only thing to do is to try a bunch of them, right?
I've mentioned sushi in a previous post, my Public Sushi Announcement. Of course, we all associate that with Japan. And it is delicious too. There are so many varieties, cooked, raw, with fish, with shrimp, with other meats, with no meat, wrapped or unwrapped, and so on. You can have sushi day after day and probably not have the same roll twice.
We enjoyed noodle soup, which also comes in many varieties. The broth is either vegetable or chicken, but you can have different elements added. You may have a meat of some sort, you will get plenty of vegetables. Some are similar to vegetables we have in the States, onions or mushrooms. But some of the greens are the kind that we don't grow in the U.S. Still tastes great. And of course, noodles! Need I say more? (Though for we chopsticks novices, the noodles can be a bit hard to keep hold of.)
A beef bowl is probably what you think it is, but not if you think the bowl itself is made of beef. But it is a bowl of rice with toppings. Of course, one of these toppings is beef. But you might have a sauce like a curry or more sweet and sour. And you will get vegetables. And maybe even a mostly raw egg, cause, baby, that's how they roll around here!
But every once in a while, you want something deep fat fried, right? Well, have no fear, because Japan has tempura. They take shrimp and fish and other things and give them a flavored batter and drop them in the fryer. We had shrimp, cod, sand borer (which is another kind of fish), a vegetable that I am not sure I know what it is, and pumpkin! The pumpkin was cut into a big letter C shape and it was very sweet and delicious.
The good news is that more and more you can get pretty much any food in America. So you don't all have to rush to Japan to enjoy it. Maybe the answer to Alrica's question about what one food is the must have American food is this: Japanese food.