While Japanese cuisine is revered around the world for its healthy, unique, and delicious qualities, street food has become an increasingly popular way for people to learn about new and unfamiliar cultures. Japan is no exception as eastern-influenced street foods are making their way onto plates around the world.
Here are a few dishes you’ll want to try when you embark on you journey to Japan with

1. Yakisoba
No Japanese festival would be complete without the familiar sizzling of yakisoba. Wheat noodles, pork, cabbage and onions are fried on a griddle, then topped with benishoga, katsuobushi, aonori, a squeeze of Worcestershire sauce, Japanese mayonnaise, and occasionally, a fried egg. The deeply savory flavors of this dish give it wide appeal.


2. Onigiri
O-nigiri,also known as o-musubi, nigirimeshi or rice ball, is a Japanese food made from white rice formed into triangular or cylindrical shapes and often wrapped in nori (seaweed). Traditionally, an onigiri is filled with pickled ume (umeboshi), salted salmon, katsuobushi, kombu, tarako, or any other salty or sour ingredient as a natural preservative. Because of the popularity of onigiri in Japan, most convenience stores stock their onigiri with various fillings and flavors. There are even specialized shops which only sell onigiri to take out.


3. Takoyaki
Takoyaki are golden balls of fried batter filled with little pieces of octopus, tenkasu (tempura scraps), benishoga (pickled ginger) and spring onion. Originally from Osaka, the dough balls are fried in special cast-iron pans, and you can watch on as takoyaki vendors skillfully flip the balls at a rapid pace using chopsticks. The cooked takoyaki are eaten piping hot, slightly crisp on the outside, gooey on the inside, and slathered in Japanese mayonnaise, a savory brown sauce similar to Worcestershire, aonori (dried seaweed) and katsuobushi (dried bonito fish flakes). Takoyaki are incredibly tasty and addictive – just be careful not burn your tongue!


4. Ramen
Ramen is a Japanese dish. It consists of Chinese-style wheat noodles served in a meat- or (occasionally) fish-based broth, often flavored with soy sauce or miso, and uses toppings such as sliced pork, dried seaweed, menma , and green onions. Nearly every region in Japan has its own variation of ramen, from the tonkotsu (pork bone broth) ramen of Kyushu to the miso ramen of Hokkaido.
Beginning in the 1980s, ramen became a Japanese cultural icon and was studied around the world from many perspectives. At the same time, local varieties of ramen were hitting the national market and could even be ordered by their regional names.


5. Yakitori
A classic finger food, yakitori are chicken skewers grilled over charcoal. Yakitori is ubiquitous across Japan, and features all parts of the chicken, such as chicken tail meat, neck and liver, each with their own unique flavor. Seasonings include wasabi, umeboshi (sour pickled plum paste), karashi (mustard), tare (soy grilling sauce) and salt. There are also variations such as negima yakitori – pieces of juicy chicken thigh and green onion, and tsukune, chicken mince mixed with other flavorings. Although chicken is the most common variety of skewered meat, pork and beef may also be available.


6. Crepe
Originally a French dessert, crepes have been wholeheartedly adopted by Japanese cuisine, and adapted to Japanese tastes. Crepes have also become a popular street food snack in Japan, made famous by Tokyo’s buzzy Harajuku neighborhood. Crepes are made from a batter that is cooked on a griddle then filled with sweet ingredients like whipped cream, chocolate and fruit, folded into a cone shape and wrapped in a paper case for ease of eating on the go.


7. Onsen Tamago
Long before sous vide and immersion circulators, before instant-read digital thermometers, before temperature-stable combi ovens, before any of the modern gear and techniques that we use to cook something as simple as an egg at consistent sub-boiling temperatures, there was Japanese onsen tamago. Onsen, in Japan, refers to the hot geothermal springs throughout the country, as well as to the spas where visitors can bathe in them; tamago, meanwhile, is the word for “egg.” It so happens that those temperature-stable spa waters have just about the perfect level of heat for making soft-cooked eggs. After dropping shell-on eggs into those spring waters, Japanese people could leave them unattended for a few hours and come back to find the silkiest, most custardy eggs imaginable.


8. Dorayaki
Dorayaki is a type of Japanese confection, а red-bean pancake which consists of two small pancake-like patties made from castella wrapped around a filling of sweet Azuki red bean paste. Dorayaki are similar to Imagawayaki, but the latter are cooked with the batter completely surrounding the bean paste filling and are often served hot.
The original Dorayaki consisted of only one layer. Its current shape was invented in 1914 by Usagiya in the Ueno district of Tokyo.
In Japanese, dora means “gong”, and because of the similarity of the shapes, this is probably the origin of the name of the sweet. Legend has it that the first Dorayaki were made when a samurai named Benkei forgot his gong (dora) upon leaving a farmer’s home where he was hiding and the farmer subsequently used the gong to fry the pancakes, thus the name Dorayaki.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s