Most people associate Japanese food with sushi or ramen. However, the truth is that Japan has an amazing, unique, and diverse cuisine that goes beyond fish and rice. So we’ve compiled a list of the 15 must-eat foods in Tokyo, Japan.
1. Matcha Ice Cream
When you think of matcha, you probably think of Japan. Yes, you must try Matcha Ice Cream in Japan, and not just any shop. It has to be from Suzukien Matcha because they serve matcha ice cream in seven different levels of intensity. They are also known for selling the world’s most expensive matcha ice cream.
2. Pablo Cheese Cake
The Japanese are famous for their delicious cheese cakes, but in recent years, the one that many people prefer is Pablo’s. Pablo cheesecakes have a melting centre that flows out beautifully when you cut them open. It originated in Osaka and is now available in Tokyo and Bangkok.
Taiyaki is available in the basement of departmental stalls. Taiyaki in Japan has very generous Azuki red bean fillings, and some shops also sell the sweet potato version, which is equally delicious.
4. Takoyaki & Oknomiyaki
Do you know that takoyaki from Tokyo and Osaka are not the same? Gindaco is the easiest place in Tokyo to get a good takoyaki. The version from Osaka differs in that it lacks a crisp exterior and the entire ball is mushy.
Tonkatsu may appear to be a simple dish, but in Japan, it is considered a prestigious dish due to the high price tag that comes with it. Despite the high price, you’ll be happy to know that you’ll be eating some of the best pork you’ve ever had.
Gyoza can be found at many Japanese restaurants, but this restaurant specialises in gyoza. You can choose between grilled and steamed options. The grilled option provides a distinctive texture.
Soba is simply buckwheat noodles served hot or cold. We recommend cold soba for a different and unique experience because you can easily find hot and warm noodles anywhere in the world. The noodles are usually dipped in the provided light soy sauce.
In Japan, tempura is a must-try dish. They usually consist of lightly battered and fried prawns or vegetables. When served, good tempura is not oily. People typically order tendon, which is tempura served on top of rice, for a complete and filling meal.
Ramen is probably the most affordable meal available in Japan. The soup stock is boiled for several hours and makes a filling meal. It is popular among single diners because it can be finished in minutes. Check out Menya Kaijin in Shinjuku if you’re looking for muslim-friendly ramen.
10. Chicken / Karaage
Fried chicken may not be as popular in Japan as it is in Korea, but the Japanese love their chicken, usually in the form of karaage or yakitori. When you see a shop specialising in karaage in Japan, you know you’ve found a good one.
Shabu-shabu is a Japanese style of steamboat/hotpot. Thinly sliced meat (beef or pork), vegetables, and noodles are usually served with it. Before eating, you dip it in the provided dipping sauce. Unlike shabu-shabu buffet restaurants, proper shabu-shabu is a slow dining experience. In Japan, you must have the authentic shabu-shabu dining experience.
12. Crab Feast at Kani Doraku
Japan is unquestionably the best place to try fresh seafood. Kani Doraku originated in Osaka but has since spread throughout Japan, including Kyoto and Tokyo. The restaurant’s signboard, which features a large crab, is impossible to miss.
Sushi needs no introduction, and if you’re visiting Tokyo for the first time, head to Tsukiji Fish Market for the freshest raw seafood in town. You have the option of joining long lines at popular restaurant Sushi Daiwa or one that is less popular but still offers good and quality sushi, such as Iwasa Sushi. If you’re still hungry, head over to Tsukiji Outer Market for even more street food.
Yakiniku is grilled or barbecued meat in Japan. Because Japan is famous for its Kobe and Wagyu beef, the meat is usually beef. Of course, there are some restaurants that cater to those who do not eat beef, offering pork and chicken alternatives.
Yakitori is grilled skewered chicken in Japan. Grilling is possible with almost every part of the chicken. Of course, those who are less daring will opt for popular items like chicken skin, thighs, and winglets. Yakitori goes best with beer and good company.