Of course, you’ll want to try Japanese cuisine when in Japan. There are many different sorts of cuisines and regional delicacies to select from, but here are ten traditional dishes. Take advantage of Arigato Japan’s online tours if you want to learn more about Japanese food. The tours feature explanations from chefs as well as suggestions for how to enjoy each meal. Let’s immediately refer to 10 popular dishes in Japan to know and experience when coming to this beautiful country!
10 popular dishes in Japan
Sushi is one of the most well-known Japanese dishes worldwide. It is served in a variety of ways and at various prices, ranging from the entertaining kaiten-zushi (conveyor belt sushi), where visitors can enjoy sushi for around 100 yen per plate, to the high-end, long-established, traditional Edomae sushi (Edo-style sushi), where you will sit at a quiet counter and eat as the sushi is prepared right before your eyes.
Sushi is a dish of pressed vinegared rice with a piece of raw fish or shellfish on top, known as a neta. Sushi is typically served with soy sauce and wasabi, although people who dislike wasabi can request “sabi-nuki” (meaning “without wasabi”).
One of the 10 popular dishes in Japan that you should also try is sashimi. Sashimi is raw fish sliced into easy-to-eat pieces, similar to sushi but without the rice. The superb quality of the fish gathered throughout Japan makes it an excellent choice whether you are visiting Tokyo, Kyoto, or elsewhere.
Sashimi, like sushi, comes in a wide variety of flavours. Maguro and other tuna variations, salmon, mackerel, and sea bream are some of the more prevalent and popular varieties. Clams, uni (sea urchin), and salmon roe are other options. Order a range of fish and seafood to see what you enjoy best.
Sashimi is usually served with soy sauce to add taste. A dot of wasabi on top of the sashimi can be added for extra heat, but it is not essential. Horse mackerel, for example, will be served with ginger instead of wasabi.
Unagi, or eel, is a fish that is mostly found in rivers. It is a delicacy served in high-end Japanese restaurants in Japan. Unagi dishes are also served in a number of informal restaurants. You can order kabayaki at unagi restaurants, which involves skewering unagi and grilling it with a special sauce made of soy sauce, mirin, sugar, and sake. These restaurants also serve unadon, a kabayaki dish served over white rice.
Another must-try traditional meal is hitsumabushi, a Nagoya speciality. Its look may be surprising––cut-up kabayaki on top of white rice––but it can be eaten in a variety of ways, including with green onion and wasabi as a sauce, or as ochazuke by pouring warm green tea or broth over it. Because of its protein and digestive benefits, unagi is also popular as a health food to prevent summer heat exhaustion.
Tempura is a Japanese meal in which seafood, pork, and vegetables are battered and deep-fried in oil. Typically, the batter contains flour and an egg. Before eating, tempura is usually dipped in a special sauce called tentsuyu. Tentsuyu is a cooking sauce created from kombu or dried bonito broth, mirin, and soy sauce in a 4:1:1 ratio. For a more refreshing flavour, add ginger or shredded radish to your liking.
Soba and Udon
Soba is a noodle dish made from buckwheat flour thinly spread and sliced into noodles with widths ranging from 1cm to 2cm. The noodles are eaten dipped in cold soup or by pouring hot soup over them after they have been boiled in hot water. The soba broth (tsuyu) is created from kombu or dried bonito broth, seasoned with soy sauce and mirin, and is essential for a satisfying soba meal.
Soba can be eaten hot or cold, making it a year-round food.
Udon is a famous and traditional Japanese cuisine that is distinguished by its thick noodles. The dough is formed with flour and salt water, kneaded well, and cut into noodles. After boiling in hot water, udon noodles are served in a seafood broth soup or with soup and tempura on top. Udon, like soba, can be eaten hot or cold. Udon can be eaten in a variety of ways.
You’ve probably heard of onigiri, or rice balls. Onigiri, also known as omusubi, may appear to be plain rice, but they are commonly filled with savoury ingredients and wrapped in a salty sheet of nori seaweed. Families pack them in bento meals and sell them at convenience stores and supermarkets. This is a typical snack or light supper option.
Kelp, pickled plum (umeboshi), salmon, and bonito flakes are all common onigiri flavours. There are many additional tastes available; visit a convenience store or supermarket to discover what’s available.
Although you can make onigiri at home or buy it cheaply, there are places that serve onigiri cooked by hand by chefs using high-quality ingredients for a sit-down dinner. A Michelin star has been awarded to Onigiri Asakusa Yadoroku in Tokyo for its superb rice balls.
Yakitori is a traditional Japanese dish in which chicken is chopped into little pieces and grilled on bamboo skewers. It’s common on izakaya and casual restaurant menus, making it a nice choice for a night out with friends in Japan. It’s very tasty when combined with alcohol. Additionally, if you attend a Japanese festival, there is a considerable probability that food carts may sell this traditional meal.
At restaurants, yakitori is ordered by the chicken component. Other types of meat and veggies can also be seen on skewers. When it arrives, it is normally lightly seasoned with salt, so eat the first mouthful without adding any further condiments. Eat straight from the skewer.
Sukiyaki is a Japanese dish prepared in a shallow iron skillet that is commonly served in the fall and winter. Around the turn of the century, it gained popular in Japan. It’s a dish you’ll want to try when you’re craving something meaty, and it’s made both at home and on restaurant menus.
Sukiyaki is created with a variety of ingredients, including thin beef pieces, green onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, and tofu. The dish is prepared by grilling the ingredients in a pan after adding a few drops of sukiyaki sauce. To consume sukiyaki the traditional method, dip the meat or vegetable into a dish of beaten egg after they have been properly cooked.
The end product is a wonderful and filling dish that pairs well with rice and warms you up from the inside out on chilly days.
Oden is a broth-based dish with a variety of ingredients. The ingredients should have a savoury, salty flavour and bring out the flavour of the dashi (which is usually made out of a mixture of fish and kelp). Oden has been consumed in Japan for a long time and is supposed to have originated during the Muromachi era (1336-1573).
Oden commonly contains mild-tasting veggies, tofu, and fish. Daikon radish, a thick root vegetable, is available at most oden shops. Ganmodoki, a substantial blend of tofu and veggies formed into a circular shape, is another popular option.
Oden is sold in restaurants, food stalls, and even convenience stores during the fall and winter months. There are also vending machines in Akihabara, Tokyo, where you can buy oden in cans. When you visit Japan, make sure to eat this classic meal!
Another popular Japanese dish is miso soup, which is known for its delicious flavour and health advantages. This soup is traditionally served with other side and main meals. Miso soup is commonly consumed everyday in a typical Japanese diet.
Miso soup is produced easily by combining the fermented miso base, which has a rich flavour, with Japanese dashi (conventionally mixture of bonito and kelp). Miso soup comes in hundreds of regional variations, ranging from simple seaweed and tofu to crab and a variety of veggies.
Miso paste comes in a variety of colours and flavours, ranging from white to a darker, saltier red. When visiting Japan, make sure to try authentic miso soup. Miso soup is provided in most Japanese restaurants at all price levels, from teishoku set dinners to high-end kaiseki cuisine, and everything in between.
Above are 10 popular dishes in Japan that you should not miss when visiting. Save now to experience and feel the culinary culture of Japan!