Kenchinjiru vs. Tonjiru: Similar Japanese Soup Dishes

In Japanese cuisine, some soups sometimes look the same, and many people can’t tell the difference.

If I give a representative example of such foods, what comes to my mind right away is Tonjiru (豚汁) and Kenchinjiru (けんちん汁).

Ton-Jiru vs. Kenchin-Jiru

Ton-Jiru and Kenchin-Jiru are both popular soup dishes in Japanese cuisine. But what is the definition of each? Today, I will talk about that.

TonJiru (豚汁)

Tonjiru Japanese Pork Soup

Tonjiru is the name of a dish made up of 2 words, Ton (豚) which refers to pork, and Jiru (汁), meaning soup. As this indicates, the dish’s main ingredient is pork.

We usually prepare pork belly slices for the soup, and other typical ingredients include burdock root, carrot, konnyaku, daikon radish, and chopped green onions.

Nonetheless, the vegetables used in Tonjiru vary depending on the region and each household, but we always season the pork soup with miso (fermented soybean seasoning paste).

KenchinJiru (けんちん汁)

Kenchinjiru Soup

On the other hand, Kenchinjiru has its roots in Shojin Ryori (精進料理), the vegetarian diet eaten at Japanese Buddhist temples. Therefore, the soup doesn’t use meat.

Besides, the dish doesn’t even allow fish dashi stock (Ex. Katsuobushi bonito or Niboshi sardine). Instead, it substitutes ingredients such as Kombu seaweed and Shiitake mushroom.

The cooking process is,

  1. First, stir-fry vegetables with sesame oil.
  2. Then, add soup stock and simmer.
  3. Last, season the soup with soy sauce. 

As vegetables for Kenchin-Jiru, we typically prepare daikon radish, carrot, burdock root, taro, konnyaku, and tofu.

Miso-Based Kenchin-Jiru with Pork

However, in modern times, the ingredients used in Kenchinjiru vary. For instance, some people flavor the soup with miso and may use pork, just like Tonjiru.

And that is why many people wonder how Kenchin-Jiru differs from Ton-Jiru.

(Reference Pages: Wikipedia 豚汁, けんちん汁 )


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. For the purpose of enriching your life, I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

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