Japan is known for many things, and on the top of the list is usually the food. Japan has so many delicious, sometimes healthy sometimes not, dishes that can satisfy any appetite. Since there are so many, and they all have their own good points, this list will not be in any kind of order. If you visit the country, you should try all of the foods on this list and even more that isn’t here. It is supposed to be an adventure and that should include the food.
Most likely everyone has had sushi in their home country before setting foot in Japan. There is something to be said about having it in the country that is famous for the original dish. Sushi comes in different types, sizes, and preparations. The typical sushi restaurant can have sushi priced from 300 to 800 yen, and sometimes even higher than that for specialty pieces. The common places that many people go to are kaiten zushi restaurants. Kaiten zushi, or conveyor belt sushi, are some of the most popular sushi places to eat at. Pre-made sushi rides around on conveyor belts near the booths, and when you see something you like you can just take it and eat it. Make sure to hold on to the plate, as that is how they will charge you for your meal at the end. Different color plates will have different prices on them so pay attention to the posters at the restaurant. These places have cheap and delicious sushi that you can eat and they have other dishes like ramen or beef bowls.
Even though ramen is not an invention of the Japanese, it is a food that has been a staple of the culture for years. They have taken the concept of ramen and have made it a cultural food as well as a worldwide treat. There are ramen shops in every city and town in Japan. You will never be too far from either a local shop or a chain restaurant. There are so many kinds of ramen that you can be surprised every time you go out to a restaurant. Your typical choices will be tonkotsu (pork bone), shio (salt), and miso-based soups with some kind of vegetables and meat. There has even been a small push for vegan versions of ramen as most have some sort of meat or meat stock in them. You would do yourself a disservice by not eating some authentic ramen from the country that has embraced it some much.
Gyoza is another food that is readily available in many restaurants in Japan. They are originally from China and are paired with many dishes. Having some gyoza with ramen or a beer at an izakaya is a must! These dumplings are usually cooked on a stove with some grease or oil in a pan, but they can also be deep-fried. They can be filled with different kinds of vegetables and meats to make some tasty combinations. If you find yourself in one of Japan’s many izakayas you should try with a nice cold beverage.
Tempura is a kind of batter that is used to deep fry different kinds of foods. You will typically find vegetables and seafood battered and deep-fried using tempura. Tempura is another food that was brought to Japan from another country, Portugal. It became so popular that it has become a staple in the country, and you can find it at restaurants and almost every grocery store’s bakery.
Unagi is eel and has been a part of Japanese cooking for centuries. You can find this dish served at many typical Japanese restaurants and supermarkets. These are commonly sold during festivals, and during certain times of the year, they are seen popular dishes. You will find that this dish is typically made a certain way but there are a few variations. Make sure to try it, especially during the summertime.
6. Shabu Shabu
Shabu shabu is another dish that is very popular in Japan. There are a lot of restaurants that specialize in shabu shabu as it can be a messy and troublesome dish to cook at home. It is usually best enjoyed with friends and can be fun to sit around and cook meat in soup. The soup will have a mixture of vegetables and seasonings and will be heated on a hot plate usually in the middle of the table. You take your slices of meat and dip them in the soup until they are fully cooked, or to your liking at least. You can then enjoy a hot and tasty meal that you cook for yourself.
Yakiniku is literally grilled beef. You have cuts of different kinds of meats that you then put on a small grill. These restaurants are very popular, especially with families, as there are usually grills built into tables at restaurants that allow for easy cooking. You order the slices of meat or vegetables you would like to eat, and the staff prepares it for you to cook on your table’s grill. It can be a fun way to introduce yourself to some traditional and newer Japanese foods. These places are also great for having beers with friends or coworkers.
Soba is long buckwheat noodles that are a more healthy eating choice when compare to eating ramen. You can choose between different percentages of buckwheat noodles, and you typically eat them with some soup or a sauce. They usually com separate, and you simply dip your noodles in the soup when you are ready to eat them. There are cold and hot variations, and they are usually eaten during festivals and holiday times.
Yakitori is similar to yakiniku, the difference being tori means bird. So this type of food is usually chicken that has been grilled on skewers. These are sold in every convenience store, at most small shops, at food trucks, and every festival in Japan. They are a quick and easy treat that can be eaten with friends at the bar or in a traditional Japanese style restaurant.
These aren’t the only things to try in Japan, but they are some of the most available and delicious options. You can’t really go wrong when choosing any of these foods, and the best thing to do at the restaurant is asking for recommendations. Makes sure to save room for traditional Japanese desserts as well!