One of the reasons why I love traveling Japan is the vast varieties of mouth watering foods it has to offer. From ramen to rice, from steamboat to grill, from fresh seafood to marble textured beef, there are surely some Japanese dishes that can satisfy your taste buds, eventhough Japanese cuisine is not unusual to have noodles or rice bundled, and you are not residing in Asian countries.
The other reason why I’m flying back to Japan this November the second time in a year is that travelers visiting Japan can hardly find bad foods in Japan. Any foods you get in Japan, be it from road side stalls or specialty restaurants, are equally great in taste. Eventhough there are many Japanese restaurants all over the world, but nothing like tasting them in an authentic way in Japan itself. And bringing them home as souvenirs are also highly presentable.
Here are some of the local foods that I was able to taste them in their origin country, Japan:
1) The best among all is surely the Wagyu beef (和牛) from Kobe, or simply known as Kobe beef. Kobe beef is arguably among the best beef available in the world and is strictly sold within Japan only except Macao (and Hong Kong recently). Check out how I managed to sample Kobe beef in Kobe itself here.
2) Donburi – A Japanese delicacy, donburi (丼) means rice meal served in bowl with various types of meat topping, either pork, seafood, vegetables, beef or etc. There are too many restaurants serving donburi and the price varies depends on the type of meat on top. I had quite a few of them on my travel to Japan since it is quite filling and the price is reasonable especially the pork donburi as shown above which cost below ¥500.
3) Dorayaki – (銅鑼焼き) Japanese pancake with various filling such as red beans, corns and so on. I had so much of them in my country and it’s definitely fantastic to have tastes the authentic in Japan. The stall as shown above with a beautiful lady vendor was found along my way to Todaiji Temple in Nara.
4) Grilled squid – Japanese loves squids. You can spot these roadside stalls in many places especially around tourists destinations in Japan. They love to grill them either in whole or cuts. I tried this stall in Hakone, just at the exit of Pirate Ship dock of Lake Ashi.
5) Udon – Another popular dish among locals, udon or Japanese thick noodles can be served either fried or in soup. I love udon more than ramen as they are more chewy. I love the above udon soup when I was in Japan because it was the cheapest meal I had thus far, costing me ¥200 only!
6) Kohi – Coffee in Japanese. Japanese loves coffee. There are countless local coffee shops as well as international coffee chains across the nation. Moreover, Kohi in cans can be obtained easily from vending machine along the road sides, virtually every other corner.
7) Mochi – Mochi is a Japanese rice cake made of glutinous rice which can be stuffed with various pastes such as red beans, peanuts and so on. Look around and you will find this type of traditional shop selling freshly made mochi. I found this one above along an alley in Kyoto.
8) Okonomiyaki – A Japanese styled pizza, Okonomiyaki (お好み焼き) is a savoury pancake containing a variety of ingredients.The batter is made of flour, grated nagaimo (a type of yam), water or dashi, eggs and shredded cabbage, and usually contains other ingredients such as green onion, meat (generally pork or bacon), octopus, squid, shrimp, vegetables, kimchi, mochior cheese.
9) Ramen – A fine noodle made by hands and cooked in soups. You can find shops selling Ramen throughout the country. Some may request you to order and pay at a vending machine in front of the shop before you can get a receipt and pass it to the chef inside. I tried it in one of the popular Ramen self-service restaurant in Dotonburi area of Osaka Namba.
10) Another version of donburi, this is Seafood Don. Seafood don is the most expensive variant among all donburi dishes. It contains various seafood such as crabs, prawns, roe, fish and etc. I had a fresh top seafood don meal in Hakodate fresh market which contains fresh Hokkaido crab meat, fresh sea urchin eggs (Uni) and salmon roe (Ikura), as shown above.
11) Senbei - (煎餅) Japanese rice crackers which is one of my favourite snacks from Japan, and it is also the most popular snacks for local people and for visitors who bought as souvenirs and gifts. This is one of the famous kiosks selling freshly fried senbei.
12) No visit to Japan would complete without tasting some of their fresh seasood sushi (寿司), or Sashimi. Sashimi (刺身) is thinly sliced, raw seafood. When coupled with vinegared rice, it becomes one of the best Japanese delicacies all visitors to Japan must try. You can try them in either a traditional sushi restaurant or a Kaiten zushi (sushi are served on conveyor belt rotating around the counter) outlets.
13) Takenoko – Takenoko (筍) or Grilled bamboo shoots is considered as one type of snacks among locals. We tried it in Nara Park and cost us ¥200 per stick.
14) Takoyaki – Takoyaki (蛸焼) is a ball-shaped Japanese snack made of a wheat flour-based batter with minced octopus filling and cooked in a special takoyaki pan. They are so popular that we could always find some in wherever city we go in Japan. Dotonbori of downtown Osaka is where we found many of Takoyaki stalls like the one shown above.
15) Another version of donburi, Tempura Don. Tempura don is basically topping a bowl of rice with few pieces of seafood and vegetable tempura. If you like tempura and wish them to fill your stomach up nicely, tempura don could be your choice. Price ranging from ¥400 - ¥600 per set.
16) Last but not least, Kuro-tamago (黒卵), the black coloured volcanic egg that boiled in hot spring! You can find them on sale in hot spring destination of Japan. We tried ours in Hakone and it costs roughly ¥120 per piece.
That’s it. These are 16 types of Japanese foods that I have tried and wish to recommend to whoever planning a holiday to Japan. If you look for good souvenirs to buy home, check out my Top Japanese souvenirs to buy in Japan. Japan is truly a food paradise to me. Similarly to Ipoh, Malaysia, where rivers, mountains and sea are surrounding it to provide a perfect environment for farmers and fishers hence provide the perfect ingredients for great foods! - Travel Feeder, your ultimate travel photo blog