It was on our trip to Japan for the second time, and trying to help Paula enjoy the best of Japanese restaurant, when I asked myself this question. What typical Japanese dishes should she eat in Japan these days? What were those essential Japanese cuisine traditions?
After giving it a lot of thought, evaluating the multiple options and based on our experience, we tell you the typical food of Japanese gastronomy that should not be missing on your trip and the restaurants in which we did it (in case it serves as inspiration for you to plan your trip). route).
- The most famous Japanese dishes, sushi and sashimi in a kaiten sushi
We couldn’t start this list of Japanese dishes with anything other than sushi or sashimi. Those who are considering visiting Japan for the first time will find this type of cuisine almost on every street corner in the country of the rising sun.
Whether you go to the Decks Tokyo Beach in Odaiba , its spectacular traditional Japanese-style onsen , the Ameyoko neighborhood in Ueno or dozens of other examples, you will find this delicious version of Japanese fast food
Although the proposal reaches its perfection in the so-called kaiten sushi or kaitenzushi, a kind of tavern where plates of sushi (and sometimes sashimi) are placed on a conveyor bar that travel around the restaurant allowing you to grab what you find most appetizing (generally two pieces in each dish).
On our first trip to Japan we had already found some of very good quality in Okanomachi , but it was at Sushi Daidokoya in Shibuya where we became “strong” for many days. The best? Each dish only costs around 1-1.50 euros, the tea is free and for 10-12 euros for two people, you get a lot.
- Chicken, octopus and even beef skewers, Japanese cuisine to satisfy hunger
Something that we really liked on those days when we had tighter itineraries was finding those small taverns preparing some appetizing skewers with which to satisfy our hunger and continue the tour.
Whether on our route through the Japanese alps or in a kind of tavern called Hideyoshi in Kamakura declared the best place in the world to eat yakitori, these types of Japanese dishes do not disappoint.
Yakitoris ? _ They are chicken skewers, but the variety goes much further, such as the takoyakis with battered octopus balls or the excellent kushiyaki , delicious beef skewers.
- Okonomiyaki, the essential typical Japanese dish
However, if someone asked us which Japanese dish we would choose, it would undoubtedly be okonomiyaki , sometimes called “Japanese pizza” (although it has nothing to do with it). Shall we go to the table?
Although it is one of the typical foods of the Kansai area, and we tried it for the first time in the futuristic Dotombori neighborhood in Osaka , it is thought to be originally from Hiroshima. However, it is also possible to find it in other areas and we tried it again in a very nice traditional tavern called Okonomiyaki Yai Yai after the large Omotesando avenue.
Not only is it exquisite, but its ritual is quite an experience, since on a griddle the “chef” begins by preparing any type of ingredient that you ask for (onion, meat, squid, vegetables, cheese…) to later add a dough prepared with a base of flour, water, egg and some other accessories .
- Kobe beef in Kobe… or Tokyo, the tastiest meat
While the previous recipes were more affordable for the pocket (Japan is not that expensive in terms of gastronomy), we now propose one of the tastiest and most recognized foods in the world… Kobe beef!!
Of course, the first option to try this type of meat should be the city of Kobe itself (and so we did), where there are many restaurants to choose from. If your route does not include a stop there, we say goodbye to our “Honey Sun” on the 51st floor of the Shijuku Sumitomo Builiding, in the so-called Misono Restaurant.
Why is she so famous? In Galicia we have excellent meat that could compete with any in the world, but I have to admit that the Kobe beef specimens are extraordinary in flavor, tenderness and texture and it is surprising how with your own fork you are able to cut the meat as if you were out butter.
It is said that the long tradition of Wagyü beef leads breeders to perform massages on the animals’ backs, as well as rigorous feeding diets. Of course, it is not the cheapest Japanese dish!!
- Oyakodon, showcase Japanese cuisine
One of the most surprising curiosities when one disembarks in the Japanese country is seeing restaurant and bar windows full of plastic replicas of the dishes that we can find on the menu.
For those who want to play it safe, this type of proposal is a guarantee that you know what you are going to have on your plate, since realism borders on perfection. We found it in many towns such as Kamakura or Nara and although we don’t have the best photos, a good choice was Oyakodon, a dish mixed with chicken meat and egg with onion.
- Fugu, the poisonous puffer fish, the most complicated of Japanese recipes
Returning to the high-priced Japanese dishes, one cannot miss the event that requires permission from the master chefs who dare to prepare it. We are talking about the fugu or puffer fish , whose small dose of poison could kill the most robust man.
It is important to know that you cannot eat this exquisite Japanese delicacy at all times of the year, but it is during its breeding season in spring when it is caught and kept in fish farms. Also, the fact that it has a deadly toxin means that only specialized and licensed personnel can cook and serve it, such as where we tried it at the Torafugutei Shibuyaten in Tokyo , just about 10 minutes from the Shibuya intersection.
The recipes are unlimited, since it can be eaten in a kind of barbecue, in sashimi, with egg and rice, … and we taste almost all of them. You have to try it!
- Ramen, one of the Japanese dishes to sip without fear
And we close this list with one of the essentials for all budgets and that you have surely seen dozens of times in Japanese cartoons, ramen.
This type of food from Japanese cuisine can be found in practically every restaurant, tavern or bar. We made it several times, such as in Kamakura or on Nara day , and it consists of a thick soup based on bean sprouts and other types of ingredients (there are many varieties) with noodles . The most curious thing is the habit of sipping them, which in Japan is not rude at all but rather becomes a competition to see who can make it the loudest.