Lived in Japan for 2 years and worked in Japanese hospitality and tourism industry, I’m in love with Japanese cuisine and culture. Japanese culinary is not only special for its delicious dishes but also for the decoration and service. In this article, I will introduce 10 Japanese foods that you cannot miss.
Sushi is probably the first dish that people will mention about Japanese foods. It has become a symbol of Japanese cuisine, and you can find sushi restaurants in many places around the world.
Trying sushi in Japan is by far the most delicious place in my perspective. In Japan, you can try sushi from different prices, from Running sushi stores with 100 Yen, to expensive sushi dishes in luxury restaurants. If you have a chance to visit Fish Market in Tokyo, you should try the freshest sushi with the ingredients taken directly from the market.
100 Yen Running Sushi – Each dish is from 100 Yen (0.9$)
Ramen is a familiar dish to the ones who love Japanese culinary. It presents the beauty of Japanese cuisines and culture because it requires the patience in cooking, and also presents the beauty of each region.
Ramen and Gyoza
a) Ramen noodles
Ramen noodles are made of wheat flour, water, salt and salt water (Kansui).
b) Ramen soup
Ramen soup is not only sophisticated but also varied according to the creativity of the region. Salt, water (shio ramen), tunnel boned pork (tonkotsu ramen), Japanese soy sauce (shouyu ramen) and miso (miso ramen) are important ingredients to make a delicious ramen broth.
A ramen bowl will always contain vegetables (green onion, bean sprout), Chashu pork, dried bamboo (Menma) and Japanese Marinated Soft Boiled Egg (Ajitsuke tamago)
c) Ramen in different regions
You can try different Ramen style in each part of Japan: Sapporo Ramen, Hakata Ramen from Fukuoka, Hiroshima Ramen, Kitakata Ramen from Fukushima, and Toyama Ramen.
You can try a different way of ordering Ramen in Fukuoka. There are some machines placed outside the restaurants, and you can choose the dish and pay there. Then you just wait at the table for the waiter to bring a delicious ramen.
There’s a ramen theme park in Japan named Aqua City Odaiba. You can try different ramen in booth stands there.
With the Udon noodles, Japanese cook can make different types of Udon. The most popular Udon is Cold Udon, Udon and Yaki Udon.
a) Cold Udon
With Cold Udon, Udon is put in cold water first and then put into a bowl, served with sauce and chopped scallions. You can choose the topping to make your dish more delicious.
The simplest form of Udon (Kake Udon) is served hot with Udon noodles and broth (Kake Udon), with thinly chopped scallions. You can choose different toppings to eat with, such as Tempura or meat.
It’s normal to order udon with rice as a set
c) Yaki Udon
Yaki Udon, or Fried Udon, is stir fried with vegetables, sauces, and different ingredients according to your choices (meat, eggs, etc.)
Another Japanese food that you should try is Okonomiyaki. It’s a Japanese style of pancake and made of eggs, water, flour, cabbage, and meat. You can choose the topping as your preferences but commonly are dried fish and okonomiyaki sauce.
Yakiniku, which is a combination of 2 words: Yaki (Grilled) and Niku (Meat), is generally used for grilled meat in Japan.
If you visit Japan, you can try Yakiniku buffet, where you pay for the buffet according to the amount of time such as 1 hour, 1.5 hours or 2 hours. Also, you can choose your favorite meats and vegetables based on your favorite choices. Sometimes in Yakiniku buffet, there are sushi, udon, ramen, soba, and free drinks as well. Eating the hot delicious Yakiniku in cold weather is one of the best experience in the winter in Japan.
6. Soba （そば）
Soba noodles can have yellow colors, or gray or green (if it’s made from broccoli). You can eat soba with some toppings or try Yakisoba (Fried soba). Ingredients for Yakisoba are usually Soba noodles, cabbage, meat (chicken, pork or beef), and sauce. Although it’s so easy to make Yakisoba, its taste is amazing.
Takoyaki is Japanese octopus cake. You can make your own Takoyaki with Takoyaki machine, by mixing Takoyaki flour, eggs, water, and octopus. Furthermore, you can add green onion and cheese according to your preferences. Takoyaki is normally served with fried fish, Takoyaki sauce and chopped green onion.
On the other hand, you can just simply buy Takoyaki in Japanese restaurants. In Japan, you can find Takoyaki stands many places in the festival.
My homemade version of Takoyaki
8. Fried food
Karaaage is a Japanese version of fried chicken. There are various types of Karaage with different ways of cooking, but commonly is marinated and then coated in potato starch. Biting a piece of karaage, you can feel the crispiness outside and soft, juicy and yummy chicken inside.
Crispy and juicy chicken
Tempura is a common name for Japanese fried dishes of seafood or vegetables, and you can try it alone or with udon.
9. Japanese rice
With the same base, you can try different Japanese rice dishes such as Curry Rice, Tamago Rice (Rice with Egg), Takikomi Gohan (Japanese mixed rice), etc.
Japanese curry tastes amazing. When I first visited Japan, I loved this dish so much that I ate it every day. Takikomi Gohan is made of Japanese rice dish, dashi (Japanese fish stock), soy sauce. You can try with different vegetables, meat or fish.
You can also order a rice set like this
10. Japanese Bakery
a) Japanese Cheesecake
You can find cheesecake in every supermarket, restaurant or souvenir shop. Japanese cotton cheesecake is so soft that you can feel it melted in your tongue in your first bite.
Mochi is a Japanese rice cake which is not only delicious but also cute. There are various types of Mochi such as strawberry mochi, matcha mochi, mochi ice-cream, but the most popular ones are with red bean.
c) Matcha related products（抹茶）
As a healthy and delicious green tea powder, Matcha is used in various products in Japan, especially in baking industry. There are matcha tea, matcha ice-cream, matcha cake, matcha caramel, matcha mochi, etc.
There are other Japanese dishes such as Gyoza (Japanese dumplings), Tonkatsu (Japanese deep-fried pork cutlet) as well, but I focus on introducing most popular Japanese foods in this article. If you have a chance, let’s try all those yummy Japanese foods!
You can also read more about Japan here!
What are your favorite Japanese foods? Please share with me in the comment 🙂