Tsukemono are Japanese pickles. Together, they form part of a traditional Japanese meal, as they seek to restore balance through colours and flavours. They also serve as a palate cleanser. Noticeably, there are different types, made from different ingredients and pickled in different ways.
You’ll find this type of pickle in okonomiyaki or tonkotsu ramen. It is julienned ginger that has been brined with the leftover from making Umeboshi. Because of this, it gains a striking red colour.
This is the most widely known type, but perhaps also unknown as not many know its true name. Commonly served alongside sushi, it is thinly sliced young ginger, with a pink hue. Mature ginger can also be used, but the colour is more tan in such a circumstance.
Made from Japanese cucumbers, these are brined for a few weeks until they have shrunk and become crunchy. Green in colour, this type of pickle you will likely find has a flavour hint of soy sauce due to the brining process employed.
Shibazuke is a mixture of chopped cucumbers and eggplants, salted and brined with red shiso. It is a speciality in Kyoto. The bright purple stalks are crunchy and have a strong flavour thanks to the shiso.
The bright yellow pickle is called Takuan. Made from daikon that has been dried and salted, this pickle is quite crunchy.