While most people recall just Sushi, Japan’s cuisine is vast and entails a wide variety of food. Finding “English” friendly restaurants can be another challenge and I won’t even start on the time I have spent trying to make sense of menus. But if you are looking forward to enjoying the beautiful landscape of food that Japan has to offer, this list will most definitely serve as a guide to what not to miss!! Make sure to search for the restaurants specializing in these amazing dishes and I bet you’ll thank me later! – The Ultimate Guide to Japanese Food
We all know it. It’s cliché but it’s a must on the list. What you may not know is that Sushi comes in various price ranges. “Kaiten” sushi restaurants, where plates of sushi revolve around on a conveyer belt are very popular because of their convenience and affordability. They serve a variety and you can pick and choose as you like and costs 100 yen -300 yen per plate. Some local small shops serve fresh and rare varieties of fish and those can be way pricey but totally worth the experience.
Onigiri is what I call food for any time. You may have it for breakfast, lunch, snacks, or dinner. You’ll find a range of varieties with different fillings and tastes. Can easily be found in any convenience stores across Japan. Don’t forget to grab a few while you are traveling for times when you need that extra energy while trying to explore the beautiful corners of Japan.
Crispy on the outside but healthy on the inside. If you haven’t tried tempura, have you even tried Japanese food? Its crispness comes from the batter being lightly fried while the healthiness is because the food itself retains much of its nutrients since it’s only lightly fried. Commonly found tempura mostly use vegetables and seafood of the likes of prawns, eggplant, sweet potato
Soba noodles, made of buckwheat flour are served either chilled with a dipping sauce or hot in a noodle soup. You will find many restaurants specialized in making organic versions. They have a unique taste and I would suggest not to miss the experience.
Ah! my all-time favorite. The variety of ramen you could find is beyond imagination. You may find that most prefectures have some specialty. My favorite is Tonkotsu ramen and Hokkaido ramen. The best time to have it is on a chilly day but honestly, any time is a good time to have one. I live for those days and in my opinion, it is definitely food for the soul.
The gyoza had to be listed right after ramen. The combination of ramen and gyoza is unbeatable. But of course, it has enough personality to be eaten as it is. It is the perfect snack for when you want to eat something but do not feel like having a meal. It’s delicious and goes so well with the soy sauce. Definitely, one of my “go-to” meals when I feel like having something light.
This one is a delicacy of sorts. It’s seasonal and is more popular during the summer months. It’s prepared to have a slightly sweet taste and goes so well with the entire Japanese meal complete with rice, soup, and side dishes. It can be a little on the expensive side but definitely worth it.
8. Japanese hotpot – Shabu Shabu
This is a perfect dish to have with friends. You can bond with people over it. You can literally add anything to it. From vegetables, fish cakes to meat. Either one can have it in the restaurant or you can find pre-packed shabu shabu packs in the supermarket that goes well with the hot pot. Make sure to add some red chilly paste into it if you like things to be more spicy!
Literally translates to grilled or barbecue meat. You can find ample restaurants that serve a wide variety of meat that can either be grilled yourself or can be served to you. Yakitori is one chain you can find absolutely anywhere and specializes in grilled chicken. A perfect place that is affordable, wholesome, and filling.
This also comes in various forms. My favorite is the one with loads of cheese. Some restaurants bring you all the ingredients of your choosing and you can make it yourself right in front of you. Some can be made by the chef themselves and all you need to do is indulge. There is a wide range so make sure to search for some popular restaurants in the area.
11. Kare raisu (Curry rice)
You may be surprised at the insane number of shops you will find serving this Japanese version of curry rice. While the curry may taste nearly the same but the toppings are what takes it to the next level. Coco ichi is a famous chain, but you can easily find many restaurants serving curry rice and fermented pickles that perfectly go with it.
12. Kobe beef
This one is a special mention. Kobe beef has quite the name. And what makes it special is the special rearing method that makes the meat juicy and melts in your mouth right away. Beware that it can create a hole in your pocket. But if you are the one to prioritize experience over money, this one can definitely not be missed!
The Ultimate Guide to Japanese Food – Hope this guide helps make your trip to Japan a little convenient. Happy eating!