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How to Make That Awesome Salad Dressing You Have at Every Japanese Restaurant: Wafu Japanese Salad Dressing

Posted June 26, 2019 by Stephanie

If you’ve ever had a salad in a Japanese restaurant or had a Japanese bento, you’ve probably wondered, “how the heck do they make salad taste so good?” The answer is wafu. Wafu means Japanese style, so wafu dressing is Japanese style salad dressing made from rice vinegar, soy, and oil.

There are a bunch of different wafu dressings out there but this is one of my all time favorites. I like to make a big batch and pop it into a speed bottle in the fridge and just drizzle it over everything. It’s savory and tart and sweet and so good. It tastes especially amazing with lettuces and cabbage, tomatoes, and cucumbers.

Lately I’ve been eating cabbage. Like A LOT OF CABBAGE. I don’t know how or why I decided on it, but cabbage is now my favorite vegetable. It tastes amazing and I eat it wherever/whenever I want carbs. Instead of noodles, I’ve been reaching for cabbage. Instead of rice, it’s cabbage time. Instead of bread, I’ve been going for, you got it, cabbage.

We buy a head of cabbage and then I spend a good 15 minutes using the mandoline to shred it into the perfect most fluffiest salad ever. It’s perfect for topping things with and it is my favorite way to eat cabbage because it reminds me of the fluffy shredded cabbage that comes with Japanese tonkatsu. The dressing just takes it over the top because it’s just like the dressing they give you at tonkatsu, in that little bottle that you use to dress the cabbage yourself.

Cabbages forever!

Wafu Japanese salad dressing: a quick and easy Japanese vinaigrette style salad dressing just like the one they use at your favorite Japanese restaurant. #salad #saladdressing #recipe #wafujapanesedressing #japanesefood #vinaigrette

Wafu Salad Dressing Vinaigrette
makes about 1/2 cup

  • 2 tablespoons Japanese rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 2 tablespoon neutral oil
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

Whisk everything together in a bowl. Taste and adjust if needed. Enjoy on everything!


  1. Eleana says:

    I can’t wait to make cabbage salad this weekend with the dressing … perfect for July 4th BBQ!

  2. Joanne says:

    This looks awesome! Do you use regular green cabbage?

    1. Stephanie says:

      yep, just regular green cabbage!

  3. Sue L says:

    5 stars
    This brought tears to my eyes as the flavor transported me back to my favorite Japanese restaurant that I haven’t been able to get to for years!!! Thank you so much for this recipe. Even my grandchildren who don’t use dressing on their salads put this on theirs.

  4. Miranda says:

    Delicious. To scale up, do I just double the quantities accordingly?

    1. Stephanie says:


  5. Clare says:

    By “toasted oil” do you mean just heated in a pan? And what type of neutral oil do you recommend?

    1. Stephanie says:

      hi clare,
      toasted sesame oil is sold in the grocery store already toasted, look in the Asian aisle. As for neutral oil, grapeseed or canola both work!

  6. Heather says:

    Hello, I made it with hemp seed oil, absolutely delicious, thank you for sharing the recipe

  7. Jane says:

    Can you tell me what the contents of the salad itself are please. This cuisine is new to me and I’m really excited to try it. Love the look of your site!

    1. Stephanie says:

      this particular salad has: shredded cabbage, romaine, cucumbers, thinly sliced almonds, craisins, and lime wedges :)

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