20 Japanese Foods You Have to Try While in Japan
1. Conveyor Belt Sushi
It may be cliche to start of our list with Sushi…but it really is a must if you’re going to Japan! Although the traditional sushi restaurants are amazing to experience, the experience of your food coming to you on a conveyor is like nothing else…you HAVE to try if you’re in Japan. These restaurants also tend to be extremely cheap so they’re great if you’re traveling on a budget! For 100yen sushi, check out: Sushiro (スシロー), Hamasushi (はま寿司) or Genki Sushi!
2. Soba dipping noodles
Although soba can look fairly boring to non-Japanese people, I can assure you it’s actually extremely tasty! The noodles often come with side dishes such as Tempura which also ads to the dishes taste! Soba is also a great dish for those traveling on a budget as a set can be bought for as cheap as 300 yen!! The dish is also extremely filling which can sometimes not be the case with other Japanese food. If you’re in Japan i’d highly recommend you grab some soba at some point!
3. Ramen （ラーメン）
Ramen is often known as Japanese fast food…and although it’s extremely fast this also means it’s a bit on the unhealthy side. Ramen can also be found for extremely cheap all over Japan and there are ramen shops all over! Common way to order Ramen in Japan is from a vending machine! You choose the dish you would like, pay, and the machine gives you a ticket. You then give the ticket to the staff who will then quickly make your ramen for you! This is such a unique experience and a very efficient system!
4. Japanese Curry
Japanese Curry can be found all over Japan at different restaurants and at multiple Japanese curry chains. The price can vary from fairly cheap to quite expensive so make sure you check before hand! Japanese curry is quite different to curry as we know it. The curry itself is runnier and is served with sticky rice. Popular toppings include fried chicken, vegetables, croquettes and sausages! If you’re looking for cheap curry check out COCOICHIBANYA CURRY!
5. NATTO (納豆）
Although most will hate it, you have to try Natto whilst in Japan! Natto is a traditional Japanese dish that is made by fermenting soybeans so that they become sticky and stringy. It’s an extremely acquired taste and i’m yet to meet a non-Japanese person who says they like it, but who knows maybe you will! Natto is served in many different ways, one popular way is in a sushi roll which might be a good way to try it!
6. Katsu Don (カツ丼)
Katsu Don is a bowl of rice with a fried piece of meat on top of it, it sometimes also comes with an omelette on top as well. The name comes from the word ‘Tonkatsu’ meaning pork cutlet and ‘Donburi’ meaning rice bowl dish. Katsu don is extremely tasty and is guaranteed to be enjoyed by everyone. Much like curry, prices can vary quite a bit, so make sure you check the menu before you enter any restaurant.
7. Harajuku Crepes
As you know crepes are French food, so I’m sure you’re wondering why crepes are on this list of JAPANESE food? WELL… Harajuku crepes are actually on another level to any other crepes i’ve seen before. These crepes are stuffed with brownies, chocolate, ice cream and MUCH MORE! They also have savory crepes stuffed with cheese, salad and more! You have to try these crepes as a snack if you’re going to Harajuku!
8. Japanese Sweets (和菓子）
Japanese traditional sweets are something you have to try if you’re visiting Japan. Sweets such as Mochi, Dango, Daifuku are all delicious and have a light sweetness to them. If it’s your first time trying them, they can be slightly strange to get used to as many of them have sweet red bean paste inside (小豆餡). But once you get used to the flavor, they’re extremely tasty!
9. Shabu Shabu
Shabu Shabu is also known as hotpot (お鍋). At these restaurant you get a pot of boiling water infant of you on a stove and you order various meats, vegetables, tofu etc to put inside it. You also get sauces to dip the vegetables and meat in after they have boiled. The dish itself is extremely tasty but on top of that the experience of making it yourself and choosing what you want to add is very unique and exciting! It really is something you have ti experience if you’re coming to Japan!
10. Yaki Niku (焼肉）
Yaki Niku translates to ‘Grilled meat’ but it’s basically Japanese BBQ! At these restaurant you get a BBQ in front of you and order a variety of meats and vegetables to put on it. These restaurants are considered very high class in Japan and so they can get very pricy! Make sure you check the menu and prices before entering one of these restaurants!
11. Karaage (唐揚げ)
Karaage is basically just Japanese style fried chicken! In Japan, Karaage is seen as a bar food to be eaten with beer! If you go into Tokyo at night and go to one of the small bars, you will find karate on the menu a lot! Karaage is a simple dish but is guaranteed to be enjoyed by everyone!
12. Gyudon (牛丼)
In Japanese ‘Gyu’ means beef and ‘don’ means rice bowl, ad that’s exactly what this is! Rice with gingery beef on top and sometimes an egg too! Gyudon is sold at most ‘fast food’ places in Japan and is usually extremely cheap! Again, great for if you’re on a budget!
13. Onigiri (おにぎり)
Onigiri are rice balls usually filled with some kind of fish and wrapped in seaweed. They can be bought from the conbini meaning they’re very convenient to eat! They fill you up quite a bit as well, making them the perfect snack for on the go!
14. Okonomiyaki (お好み焼き)
Okonomiyaki is made by mixing seafood, meat, vegetables etc with wheat and flower and then cooked on a hot plate. This is often referred to as a ‘Japanese pancake’ however it is quite different from wha you imagine to be a pancake! It’s extremely tasty and the toppings of okonomiyaki sauce and mayo make it even better! Okonomiyaki restaurants are also really fun as you can usually make it yourself!
15. Gyoza (餃子)
Often referred to as dumplings in english. These are small pockets of minced meat that have been fried, deep fried or steamed! These are honestly so delicious and should be on the top of your list of things to try in Japan!
16. TakoYaki (たこ焼き)
TakoYaki are balls made out of octopus which are fried. These are extremely popular, particularly as street food or festival food! Be careful though, if you’re not one for seafood they may not be for you as the taste of octopus is quite strong!
17. TamagoYaki (卵焼き)
Tamago Yaki is basically Japanese omelette that is rolled up during cooking to give it its shape! Tamago yaki is often found on sushi or is eaten as a street/ festival food!
18. Japanese Pickles (漬物)
For anyone who’s tried Japanese pickles, you’ll known that they’re extremely tasty! Although they’re not a dish themselves, they’re often put on the side of many dishes and different pickles are known to go with different foods! For example, there are pickles made for Japanese curry!
19. Tempura （天ぷら)
Tempura is deep fried vegetables or seafood that have been coated in a light and fluffy batter! Simple but delicious! Tempura is often places on the side of many dishes and is also usually paired with soba!
20. Udon (うどん)
Udon are similar to Soba, however the noodles are significantly thicker! They’re extremely tasty and fit you up for a long time! This is a very common dish in Japan and can be found very cheap!
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