In Japan, the New Year is considered one of the most important holiday celebrations on the calendar, signifying a fresh start and the closure of the year before. While American tradition often finds people toasting the new year with champagne and friends, the Japanese New Year is a time for family – and, of course, delicious food made with love.
Japanese tradition typically finds people tidying their homes, decluttering, and tying up all the loose ends for the year, preparing to begin the New Year on the right foot. With so much to do leading up to the big day, it’s not unusual for New Year’s Eve to be a very quiet night in Japan. Many families can be found ringing in the New Year in the comfort of their homes, enjoying a few popular New Year’s Eve Japanese dishes and the company of loved ones.
If you’d like to add a touch of Japanese tradition to your New Year’s festivities, one of the best ways is to experience the distinctly wonderful dishes that are customarily eaten in honor of the holiday. Highly symbolic and intended to bring fortune and happiness into the new year, Japanese Food can be a unique way to end your year on a high note.
Here are three of the most widely-enjoyed dishes for the Japanese New Year that you might want to try for yourself:
Osechi, also known as osechi ryoria, is a longstanding Japanese tradition that countless families incorporate into the New Year’s celebrations. Packed into large, multi-layered boxes (“ojubako”), osechi contain a diverse assortment of dishes and is an experience intended to be shared with the entire family from New Year’s Eve through January 1st. The multiple layers signify the hope that wealth and happiness will be ample and in constant supply in the new year. Popular osechi dishes include candied chestnuts, pickled lotus root, fishcakes, mochi, and many others.
Customarily served as the last meal of the ending year, toshikoshi soba is a noodle-based dish that holds considerable significance. The soft, chewy soba noodles are long (symbolizing longevity), but easily cut while eating, representing the release of any hardships in the prior year. Translated, “toshikoshi” roughly means “year crossing” making it the perfect dish to cross into a new year and decade. In addition to the soba noodles, the dish also features a warm dashi broth and chopped scallions. Depending on who prepares the toshikoshi soba, other elements may include hard-boiled eggs, fishcakes, or tempura.
Ozoni, or zoni, is a Japanese soup that can come in a few different forms, and is often eaten on the morning of New Year’s Day for good health and luck. Ingredients and preparation can vary depending on the specific region of Japan (and even from household to household), but generally include a combination of warm broth, meat, seasonal vegetables, and mochi (rice cake).
Whether you already considered yourself a dedicated foodie or are hoping to expand your culinary horizons in the new year, enjoying a meal at Matsuhisa is the perfect way to celebrate 2020. Over the years, our restaurants in Aspen, Vail, and Denver have welcomed countless guests to relish in Chef Nobu’s monumental culinary talents, as well as the unparalleled quality of service we are so well known for. We are honored to be considered among the best restaurants in America, a legacy we will proudly continue to uphold into the new decade.
Reserve your table at Matsuhisa today and discover the delicious adventure that awaits.