Japan has one of the most advanced, and delicious cuisines that the world has ever seen and there is no question that no matter where you visit in Japan, you’re guaranteed to find a food that you never knew existed, and flavors you’ve never tried before. But remember this is street food and not a restaurant so take some cash with you as not everywhere will accept your Paysafecard.
Street food also varies by region and it’s well worth exploring Japan to gain a full understanding and experience of its food culture (pro tip: seeing Japan by train is probably the best way to experience this incredible country).
Without further ado, let’s take a look at 5 of the best street foods you need to try when you visit Japan.
Ok, so you may have heard of this one before and if you’re not a fan of seafood, then why are you in Japan? Takoyaki is a small, doughy ball of savory deliciousness that you can find in many restaurants and side-street stalls. Although you can get plain Takoyaki, as standard Takoyaki are balls filled with tiny pieces of octopus, tempura, and onions along with some pickled ginger.
Although this might not sound amazing, you can rest assured that once fried to an amazing gold color, you will be amazed by what you’ve just eaten. Commonly cooked on what looks like a cupcake mold, the wheat-based balls are formed, rolled, and flipped around to have all-around cooking ready for your mouth to devour.
Takoyaki is quite cheap, all things considered, as they are very easy to find and make, and you can get a few pieces for less than a few dollars.
Yakitori is one of the best street foods you’ll find in Japan. This might be a little biased, but Yakitori is delicious, easy to eat, and fast to prepare. Yakitori is essentially a chicken (pork or beef work too) that has been grilled on a stick. Although this sounds simple, the charcoal gets into the chicken and makes the flavor so much better.
Yakitori is also usually served with sticky sauce on the stick, and this can really bring the flavor out. In most cases, this is a slightly BBQ flavored sauce, but regardless – make sure to get a nice amount of condiment on it to get the most out of this stick-filled with goodness.
And don’t forget to follow up your yakitori with some of Japan’s great beers - these are two things best done together, believe me.
Another really classic Japanese “quick meal” or side-street food is a bowl (or box) of Yakisoba. Yakisoba is a combination of wok-fried noodles that are stir-fried with vegetables and meat (usually pork), seasoned with a special sauce, and topped with fish flakes, ginger, and a bit of mayonnaise.
A small box of Yakisoba is also quite cheap, as it's inexpensive to make and can be taken away whilst you walk around a park for example. In some places, you may also be given the luxury of having an egg on the top. We strongly urge you to try a box of Yakisoba, as we’re sure you’ll love it and wish you had more!
Are you wanting something a bit sweeter? Well, a Dango is another street food that we feel you’d love. A Dango is a sweet dumpling made from a traditional Japanese “mochiko”, which is a type of glutinous rice flour. Although a Dango is a singular ball, many vendors provide these on the street on sticks of three to five.
Dango’s have specific types too, for each season. For example, there are cherry-blossom types of Dango, which focus on a pink, white, and green style of Dango which tastes really good! This is to represent the flowers and trees during the blossom season.
We’ve already had an Octopus-infused dough ball but have we mentioned Ikayaki? Squid when cooked has a chewy-like texture, and Ikayaki is no different. Ikayaki is essentially grilled Squid on a stick, not much to it.
Ikayaki is served without the tentacles but is soaked in soy sauce and grilled. This gives the squid a sticky, tasteful, and colorful look. Once you see Ikayaki cooked, the smell will make you want to eat more.
You will often find this on small bars rather than on the street, as it's often served on a plate to allow for some extra sauce drip, which doesn’t work well when you’re on the street. Squid is fairly standard in Japan, but you may be looking at a few dollars for a few pieces of Ikayaki, but it is well worth it all!
To Sum Up
In conclusion, Japan is well-known for its amazing cuisine and its street food is unique. Though often dainty and consumed in one bite, don’t be fooled - Japan’s grows some of the best rugby players in the world on its home cooking and these street food portions. These foods on this list are some of the best foods in the world and for a couple of dollars, you can enjoy the wonderful taste of Japan.