15 Most Popular Foods You Have to Eat in Japan

Japan is one of the most fascinating countries in the world, boasting a culture steeped in tradition yet highly modernized. Exploring its diverse cuisine is one of the best ways to experience Japanese culture. To help narrow your choice, here are 15 of the most popular and delicious Japanese foods you must try.

Sushi

Sushi is arguably one of Japan’s most beloved culinary delights. This delicious dish features fresh, raw fish, vibrant vegetables, and perfectly seasoned rice, all wrapped in a delicate seaweed sheet. It is a true culinary masterpiece with the tang of pickled ginger, the savory allure of soy sauce, and a hint of fiery wasabi.

Ramen

Ramen is a delectable Japanese noodle soup crafted using wheat-based noodles immersed in a flavorful broth infused with pork, soy sauce, miso paste, and various seasonings. In bustling ramen shops, steaming bowls of this culinary delight are served, adorned with various toppings like eggs, vegetables, and succulent meats.

Tempura

Tempura consists of vegetables or seafood deep-fried to perfection in a light batter and served with a tempura dipping sauce made from mirin (sweet rice wine), soy sauce, and ginger.

Takoyaki

Takoyaki, a popular Japanese street food, is made by cooking small round balls with diced octopus and vegetable fillings on a hot plate. This dish is garnished with fish flakes, creamy mayonnaise, and a drizzle of Worcestershire sauce, blending flavors and textures.

Yakitori

Yakitori, a delicious Japanese dish, features succulent skewered chicken. Tender bite-sized chicken pieces are marinated in a sweet and savory sauce, then grilled over charcoal or wood fire. The result is tender and juicy bits of chicken that are flavorful.

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Udon

A hearty wheat-based noodle, Udon is served in a steaming broth alongside tempura, crisp vegetables, or savory meat garnishes. This culinary delight is on the menus of charming udon-ya noodle shops.

Okonomiyaki

Okonomiyaki is a savory pancake made with cabbage, batter, and other ingredients. Depending on the region, it comes in different forms, but its typical accompaniment is a sweet and savory sauce, mayonnaise, and fish flakes.

Tonkatsu

Tonkatsu features succulent pork cutlets delicately coated in a crisp wheat flour or breadcrumbs layer. A luscious tonkatsu sauce, a thick and sweet blend of Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, and other seasonings, accompanies the cutlets.

Sashimi

Sashimi is a Japanese cuisine consisting of thinly sliced raw seafood with soy sauce, wasabi, and pickled ginger on the side. Sashimi is one of the healthiest dishes you can eat.

Gyoza

Gyoza is a Japanese dumpling prepared by mixing minced pork, vegetables, and seasonings. The savory morsels are pan-fried or gently steamed to a golden brown. The dish comes with a side of soy sauce and vinegar.

Unagi

Unagi is the Japanese term for freshwater eel, a delicacy known for its smoky flavor and flaky texture. Before grilling over an open flame, the unagi is first marinated in sake or soy sauce.

Onigiri

Onigiri is a rice ball with salmon, tuna, or vegetable fillings. They are wrapped in seaweed and served as snacks or light meals. You can find Onigiri in convenience stores all over Japan.

Donburi

Donburi, a rice bowl dish, showcases a combination of meat, fish, or vegetables atop a bed of Japanese short-grain rice. It is garnished with egg, tangy pickled ginger, and savory seaweed to elevate its flavors.

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Miso Soup

Miso soup is made with miso paste, bonito flakes, and seaweed, served hot, and tofu, vegetables, or fish often accompany it. It’s a nutritious and comforting meal.

Mochi

Mochi is a Japanese rice cake made from glutinous rice. The rice is pounded into a paste and then formed into various shapes. Mochi can be enjoyed plain or filled with sweet bean paste, ice cream, or other fillings.

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