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How to Build a Kitchen for Cooking Japanese Food – A Beginner’s Guide

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    Starting to build your kitchen for Japanese cooking? Here is my recommendation of the kitchen essentials.

    Kitchen equipped for cooking Japanese food.

    Are you living in a small apartment with limited kitchen space or about to start cooking for the first time? I’m here to provide some tips on how to build a kitchen equipped to cook Japanese food at your own home.

    I will cover the essentials in each area of the kitchen. Items in italics are not an absolute “necessity”, but I wanted to include them because I use them often and I think they are worth to be included. Whether you prefer a minimalist kitchen or a complete kitchen, this framework will be a great guide for you.

    Kitchen equipped for cooking Japanese food.

    How to Build a Kitchen for Japanese Cooking with these Basic Essentials

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    Colander in the sink



    Various pots and pans on the stove.



    Knife and cutting boards.



    Mixing bowls and whisk.



    measuring spoons and cups.



    baking sheet and wire rack.



    Japanese rice cooker on the counter.



    Japanese kitchen items.

    – The kitchen tools below will be useful if you have additional space and will be making specific recipes regularly.



    Japanese Tableware and Setting

    • A rice bowl
    • A miso soup bowl
    • A medium plate
    • A small plate
    • A small bowl
    • A mini plate
    • A set of chopsticks and a chopstick rest

    Curious about Japanese tableware? In The Ultimate Guide to Japanese Tableware post, you’ll learn about the important components (what bowls and plates to use, their sizes & functions), and table arrangement on how to set up a Japanese meal.

    Selection of Japanese tableware including plates and bowls on a table.

    The Ultimate Guide to Japanese Tableware




    • A large, medium, small plates
    • A large, medium, small bowls
    • Utensils

    Kitchen equipped for cooking Japanese food.

    Additional Tips (For the Minimalist Kitchen)

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    1. Build your kitchen based on your lifestyle and cooking habits.

    When you have a small space to work with, the most important to do is to have an understanding of your preferred living and cooking habits. Ask yourself questions like:

    • What kind of recipes will I be making often?
    • Do I need this tool? Will I be using it very often?
    • Is this going to be just one-time use? etc.

    By asking these questions, it will help you to decide what to get and what not to get.

    2. Declutter and access your organizing system.

    You may have already heard about the famous Mari Kondo method. It is true that there’s magic in tidying up. Although I have a huge collection of cookware for the work that I do, I believe in the power of decluttering and organizing for efficiency.

    If you have some clutters in the kitchen, spend some time to get rid of anything that is way too old or no longer in use. This will free up some space for other more important equipment or breathing room. Once you get rid of certain things, start organizing by categories.

    2. Think smart storage.

    Creativity comes in when you have to maximize the square footage you have. Have a good inspection around your kitchen and look for any potential storage spaces. Is there any space above your fridge? Can you go vertical by hanging things on the wall? You’ll be surprised how much you can utilize the workable room in your tiny kitchen.

    I hope the above guide make your cooking a little easier.

    Now it’s your turn! Do you have any kitchen items you can’t live without? Do you have any tips you’d like to share with anyone who lives in a small space? Tell us about it in the comment below.

    If you want to check out easy recipes, read 5 Easy Japanese Recipes to Cook At Home.

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