Japanese food is in a league of its own. Besides being the birth place of Pokemon, the creators of anime and manga, and a new style of porn, Japan is known for its AMAZING food scene. When planning my visit to Japan, food was at the top of my cherry blossom season bucket list. The restaurant industry in Japan is overflowing with options to eat. For a couple that relies heavily on the “I don’t know you decide” response when figuring out where to eat, Japan was a challenge. Every restaurant menu looked delicious. All the food stalls smelled tantalizing to the nose and had our taste buds sweating for nibble.
I’m a big believer that you don’t know until you try. I don’t believe in “the best ever” because food is subjective and what is good to one person isn’t good to another. Hence, I am not the pompous ass hole that gives restaurant recommendations trying to site that my opinion on food is better than anyone else’s. Instead, I will give you a starting point on what to order so you can try Japan’s food treasures for yourself.
The 20 MUST-EAT Japanese food to try
There are actually 22 must-eat Japanese food in the video, and yes the last one is sushi, but you still got two more suggestions than you originally bargained for. The fiance and I were very focussed on eating as many small, local street foods as possible. When we did sit at an actual restaurant we aimed to eat what Japanese residents were queuing for.
On one occasion we let our nose decide where we ate. On the day we went to Chidorigafuch park to see the cherry blossoms, we walked by a basement staircase that smelled like soup heaven. After walking through the park, we made our way back to that staircase and had a bowl of noodles that is unlike any type of Japanese noodles I had ever tried before. If anyone knows what it’s called, the noodles and pork were kept in a separate bowl and the soup was a creamy intense dried shrimp flavor.
Japanese food that you must try while traveling in Japan
- Steak from Ikinari Steak
- Cotton Candy in Harajuku
- Flame grilled whole scallops at Tsukiji fish market
- Flame grilled crab at Tsukiji fish market
- Whole raw oysters at Tsukiji fish market
- Sea urchin (uni) at Tsukiji fish market
- Japanese pickle on a stick
- Karaage chicken
- Pork Katsu
- Tonkotsu ramen from Ichiran
- Grilled squid
- Bento boxes
- Custard & red bean fish pancakes
- Soft serve ice cream
- Sushi sandwiches
Not on the list, but totally changed my world is omelette rice! I ordered omelette rice and a last minute quick bite to eat while on the Shinkansen to Tokyo. Thinking nothing of it, I didn’t bother to take a photo because I don’t really care for omelettes or for fried rice. The tomato sauce drizzled on top was like the icing on the cake.
A word of advice for eating your way through Japan: Don’t fill up on rice.