Here are some of the food you have to try or must at least try if you’re in Japan. I was only in Tokyo during my trip so naturally i will often mention places in Tokyo but these foods can be found everywhere in Japan. So whet your appetite and check these out!
Taiyaki is a pancake-like snack normally filled with red bean paste. But don’t get turned off by the shape just yet. There is no fish involved in the making although they are fish-shaped.
If you are not a fan of red beans, don’t worry, they are also available in all sorts of fillings: chocolate sauce, custard, cheese to name a few. I found a small store at the asakusa street area and bought like 4 pieces of them, yummy! The classic taiyaki with red bean paste costs 308 Y.
onigiri or japanese rice ball is made of steamed white rice and normally triangular in shape. It is often wrapped in nori (seaweed). You can either get it plain or with filling. The filling can be anything from pickled plum, salmon etc. Onigiri is great quick snack for in betweeen meals. If you are always on the go, you can pack alot of these since they are not that pricey. You can get it for like 100-110Y, and is available in any Combini.
The one with pickled plum is not my favourite but i did enjoy the one with the salmon filling. If you can’t read japanese, you would have to risk it. Normally the packaging is colour-coded so you can tell which has which filling the next time you buy it. And there is a special way to open the packaging. It is either indicated on the packaging with pictures or with numbers. What i did was to watch a quick Youtube tutorial on how to open these, cause i didnt wan’t to fumble it about like an idiot 😛
3) Train sushi
Sushi? So typical i know. Surely you can get sushi anywhere these days. But eating sushi at “Uobei Sushi” will make your sushi experiece even better.
Of course it’s less about the food but more about the experience there. Nevertheless, the food wasn’t bad at all! Everyone will have their own tablet on which you can order your food from. Just swith the language to english and order anything you’d like. You can order drinks, sushi and also other extra dishes as well!
And the best thing is..your food comes on an automated moving tray, hence “sushi train”. Your drinks however, will be brought to you by a waiter/waitress.
You can order several times and as many times as you like. Just follow the instructions on the tablet as it’S quite self-explanatory. You will have to pay at the cashier before leaving, so don’t expect someone to come to your table.
This one is my absolute favourite, hands down! Gyoza are dumplings filled with ground meat and vegetables. If i remember correctly the one i had at “Osaka Ohsho” had meat, cabbage, garlic and ginger in them. Of course you can find them in all sorts of variations. You can either eat them just as that or dip them in a sauce you can prepare yourself. Just pour a bit of soysauce, vinegar and chilli oil in a small saucer and you’re good to go! I couldn’t remember how much i paid for the gyoza, but i think it was around 800 Y for 12 pieces of gyoza.
I do recommend to try them at Osaka Ohso. You might want to watch out for cheap gyozas since they might not be in good quality. I had gyozas at some sort of “canteen”-like place and they were horrible. The filling was cold, and the taste wasn’t as good.
There isn’t much to say about ramen though, i think everybody knows ramen and tried it at least once in their lifetime. Perhaps also as that instant noodles in a packet at the time of need. Otherwise, why not give it a try? Ramen is noodle dish served in broth which could be meat or fish-based. Usually served with green onions, pork, vegetables and the list goes on and on. You can get different kinds everywhere. I’m not a fan of pork so i got vegetable ramen for about 800 Y, i think. Personally it’s not my favourite of all, but i needed to at least eat an original japanese ramen in Japan. I just had to 😀
6) Melon pan
Care for some delicious bread? Then you have to try melon pan. Melon pan is a sweet bun with crisp thick outer layer of cookie dough and smooth, fluffy bread dough inside. There is no melon in it though! So don’t get upset if you expect some gooey sweet watermelon sauce as filling. It is called melon pan (bun) due to it’s appearance. They are very inexpensive, cost 100-110Y per piece and you can get them at every combini there is. I loved melon pan so much, i had them for breakfast every day! I also bought some to pack for snack time or on-the-go.
The sweetness isn’t overpowering though, usually it has just subtle amount of sweetness. But you’ll come to love it. I know i did!
Takoyaki is a ball-shaped snack made with flour-based batter and usually filled with minced octopus. It is mostly served with takoyaki sauce, mayo and shaved bonito flakes. If you are not a fan of seafood, you might not like it at first try. It does have that “fishy” taste to it. I am not a fan of octopus and the thought of little diced octopus tentacles in there kinda threw me off at first. But i’ve come to love it! So much so, that i got them again at the airport before leaving Japan.
The outside is crispy while the inside is soft and moist. And with the sauce and mayo to top that of, you are going to have a taste explosion in your mouth. You don’t usually find these everywhere in Tokyo though, and they are hard to come by. I found a stall in the Akihabara area and it was like 550 Y for 8 Takoyaki balls.
8) Wagyu beef
If you’re willing to spend some good YYY for dinner, why not try wagyu beef? They are popular for their quality meat. The meat has more fat cells which you can see in the “marbling” pattern in the meat. This fat marbling also gives it a unique and rich flavour. And the meat is oh, so tender. Sadly i didn’t get a chance to try them in a restaurant but you can find a lot of restaurants in tokyo area and you can also grill them yourself too!
I got the chance to try wagyu at the airport before leaving Japan and it was another experience alltogether. It is however, is on a pricey side.
Mochi is a rice cake which comes in several variations. There are ones with ice cream filling, red bean paste filling, strawberry and so much more. I had one with red bean paste and sadly to say, was not my favourite at all. But please tell me if you liked them and which one should i try next time! The one with ice cream filling sounds very exciting, but i couldn’t find them though. I would love to try them fresh. To take a piece of the freshly pounded mochi paste and try it. I wonder if the taste would be better.
10) Kit Kat
Have you ever tried wasabi kit kat? Sounds tempting isn’t it? Kit Kats in Japan are so popular for their tremendous variations of flavours. You can get normal flavoured kit kats like cherry and strawberry, to totally crazy flavours like wasabi, soy sauce and chilli! So if you’re ever in Japan, make sure to check them out and try them if you can, since some of the flavours tend to be seasonal or limited.
Kit Kats are also loved in Japan since they sound almost like the japanase “Kitto Katsu” which means “you will surely win”. So they are often given as gifts or as lucky charms. I bought the xxx and it wasn’t just the prettiest kit kat i’Ve ever seen, it was also very tasty. I still had some in my fridge at home (from my trip) and i refuse to eat them since they are so pretty >.<