What Japanese food can teach us about sensory feasts

This rich cuisine offers dishes that satisfy in more ways than one

Why do we eat?

This seems like a no-nonsense question, but if you think about it, there are many reasons (apart from hunger) why humans eat. Some view eating as a social activity, especially those who like dining with family and friends. Others eat because they are bored or lonely, while others eat in response to  sensory stimulation. 

The last reason is pretty interesting, and among the times we’ve personally experienced it is when we get served Japanese food. Japanese food has a special ability to pull you in through your senses, and we looked at some of our favorite dishes to prove it.


Let’s start with the most obvious: the sense of taste. Japanese scientist Dr. Kikunae Ikeda introduced “umami” as a flavor in 1908, and it was eventually recognized as the “fifth taste” together with sweet, sour, bitter, and salty. 

Umami has three distinct characteristics: It has a taste that spreads across the tongue, it lasts longer than other basic tastes and it provides a mouthwatering sensation. A lot of everyday Japanese dishes have this pleasant savory taste, including crowd favorites like ramen and sukiyaki. Savor the umami flavor with delicious bowls of ramen from Ramen Nagi, which are now available on the SM Malls Online app.


One of our favorite aspects of Japanese food is its appeal to the eye. In fact, they even have a term for the art of presenting food: moritsuke. Traditional practices point out the choice of food, dinnerware and overall placement and presentation as the three most important elements of an aesthetically pleasing meal. 

According to culinary culture writer Christine Dzujna, this attention to detail and immense care for food presentation “allows one to pause and consider the meal about to be consumed and to feel gratitude towards those who made it possible.”

For simpler, everyday meals, we get to see the Japanese art of plating through bento boxes. It emphasizes a clean and balanced look in terms of colors and portions, which makes every meal extra appetizing. Get delicious bento box meals from Tokyo Tokyo for takeout at SM malls or for online pickup and delivery through the restaurant’s official website.


If you love the smell of grilled food, then you’d probably be satisfied by the dining experience in teppanyaki restaurants. Traditionally, chefs at these Japanese food places cook your meals directly in front of you—and we can attest to how the smoky smell of grilled food helps build your appetite as you wait for the food to be served straight from the grill to your table.

If you want to experience eating at a teppanyaki restaurant, we suggest visiting Ogetsu Hime at SM Aura. It is currently open for outdoor dining, and you can place reservations via Facebook Messenger or calling SM Aura at 8519-9840 or 0917-8096585.


Sound also plays a great role in the Japanese dining experience. Here’s a fun fact to prove it: Shabu shabu, or the Japanese’s famous version of hot pot, actually got its name from the swishing sound that the meat in the dish makes while being boiled in the pan. Hear it for yourself when you dine at Suki-Ya in SM City Fairview, where you can enjoy unlimited shabu-shabu at an affordable price.

Plus, we’re pretty sure you’ve heard how the Japanese view loud slurping as a sign that you enjoyed your meal.


Name a texture, and there’s probably a Japanese dish that has it. Soft and squishy? Mochi. Crunchy? Nori or tempura. Sticky and borderline slimy? Natto. Even sushi itself features a variety of food textures—there’s softness from rice and crisp from seaweed and sesame. Order a platter of sushi from Sushi Nori by contacting the restaurant’s direct delivery hotline at 0917-8886674 and experience the dish’s different textures yourself.

Check out the SM Malls Online app and SM Viber Take out & Delivery for more Japanese food selections at an affordable price.

Get these products without leaving home. Download the SM Malls Online app on Google Play or App Store to enjoy hassle-free shopping.

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