Unlike the big, bold flavours of Chinese food, Japanese is a cuisine that's best known for its delicacy. But sometimes you just can't resist some more unusual kinds of Japanese food that start with a big crunch. Whether this comes from crispy tempura batter or a coating of seeds or panko breadcrumbs doesn't matter. It's the fact that it's there that's important. It's also a tasty trick used by many other Asian cuisines to create compellingly contrasting textures – as these five dishes demonstrate!
1. Nasu Dengaku - Sushi Waka
Let's start off with this treat from one of the best Japanese takeaways. Aubergine's not a vegetable that pops up very often in the country's cuisine but it does, to stunning effect, in this dish from Sushi Waka. They deep fry it before glazing it with sweet miso sauce. Then, to add the all-important crunch, the whole thing is coated in sesame seeds. Plus, it's so substantial as a starter that it makes the perfect partner to their sublime sushi as well.
2. Fish Ball Skewers - Jalan Malaysia
If you fancy taking a trip to Malaysia to see how they add some crunch to a starter then Jalan Malaysia should be your first port of call. As you start to explore the menu a good place to stop would be with their Fish Ball Skewers. They take balls of minced fish and deep fry them till crisp before serving them with a chilli dipping sauce. They have to be tasted to be believed – and that's why they're a star of the "Little Cravings" section of their menu.
3. K.F.C - Pan Pan
No, it doesn't stand for what you think it does and it's definitely got nothing to do with a restaurant chain we could mention. It means Korean Fried Chicken prepared in a way that only Pan Pan know how. It's one of their most popular starters thanks to the crispy coating of savoury peanuts and you can also add your choice of flavour including sweet and sour, Asian five spice and garlic mayo. So it's a V.G. for K.F.C from us.
4. Soft Shell Crab Tempura - Taberu Sushi
There's a magical meeting of crunchy and tender in this dish from Taberu Sushi. Outside there's the light and delicate tempura batter that features so much in Japanese cuisine while inside soft-shell crab awaits. Often served with more typical dipping sauces like sweet chilli or soy and ginger, this is given a distinctly British twist by their addition of homemade tartar sauce instead.
5. Seafood Tempura - Sapporo Teppanyaki
Tempura pops up again in our final selection of crunchy treats, this time courtesy of Sapporo Teppanyaki. They're a restaurant that pride themselves on adding a Western twist to many of their dishes but this one is definitely all-Japanese. Squid, sea bass and king prawns are deep-fried in batter and served alongside a soy dipping sauce. The result, we hardly need to say, is a true taste sensation.
When it comes to the crunch, you just can't beat these starters. And they're all yours, thanks to Deliveroo.