When you think food and Japan, you will probably think about sushi or some kind of raw seafood. What happens if you don’t like sushi or raw fish though? Don’t worry, there are plenty of other incredible food options for you to try that do not involve either fast food or American restaurants (no one should travel to Japan to eat at a Denny’s). Here are some things to try in Japan that will satisfy that hunger and make you a fan of the Japanese cuisine.
- Yakitori – Yakitori is either meat and/or vegetables that are skewered onto a stick and then grilled, usually over a charcoal fire. You can usually find yakitori in izakayas, small drinking spots, where the skewers are cooked up on the spot, and usually only for a few hundred Yen per stick. They are magical and are all over Japan. Just follow that BBQ smell and you will not be disappointed. They are a simple dish, but trust me, you will love them.
- Ramen – Ramen is a no brainer. While there are some broths that are fish based, most ramen broths are pork based with a slice of pork served with it (can also find miso and some chicken based broths). Ramen is an amazing food because there are so many varieties that can fit anyone’s taste. And there are all sorts of Ramen shops (from fine dining to fast food style), making finding a bowl of this wonderful delight easy to do in Japan.
- Karaage – Karaage is simply Japanese fried chicken, however, it is so much different than any western style I have ever had (beats the US so easily). The chicken is usually dark meat and about the normal size of a chicken nugget, but again so much better than normal chicken nuggets found in the US. The batter is also usually a lot lighter than what you will find in the United States, making it easier to eat and even more delicious. It is a go-to while having a few beverages while out on the town.
- Tofu – Probably not expecting to see tofu on my list after a bunch of fried foods, but the way it is prepared in Japan is out of this world. Whether its in a soup or deep fried, there are a lot of ways to prepare this jello-like food and no way is wrong while in Japan. I never thought fried tofu in Osaka would be a must try, but it is. Even if you don’t like it, give it a try in Japan.
- Origini – Origini is a small ball of sticky rice (usually has seaweed wrapped around it) that is stuffed with a wide range of food from seafood, to egg, to even fried chicken. Originis are great snack foods that are cheap, easy to eat, and are everywhere. Just walk into a convenience store and you will find hundreds of options that are all equally cheap and delicious as well.
- Tsukune – (Bonus) – Tsukune is a simple chicken meatball that is mixed with onions and other spices, rolled into a ball, and cooked up on a flat top, making for a delicious chicken treat with flavors. It is a great snack food when you are drinking and enjoying yourself in Japan.