Donburi, a rice bowl dish that provides everything that your body and tastebuds need. Along with rice, donburi consists of meat and vegetables that come in countless variations that will leave you satisfied and ready to take on the rest of the day.
Donburi is tremendously popular with Japanese workers on their lunch breaks as the dish is inexpensive and the combination of rice and meat makes the dish very filling.
One of the more simple varieties of donburi is called Oyakodo which consists of simply rice, chicken, egg and green onion to provide you with a tasty meal that’s both high in protein and high in value. Another tasty donburi is called Gyudon which is rice with sliced beef and onion that has been simmered in a soup base.
Known also as the Japanese Pancake, okonomiyaki is a savory delight which consists of a batter that’s mixed together with sliced cabbage and other ingredients of your choosing.
Okonomiyaki found fame in Osaka but has since become wildly popular all over Japan. Some okonomiyaki restaurants take this edible experience further by having a hot grill at your table for you and your friends to cook your own okonomiyaki!
No okonomiyaki is complete without okonomiyaki sauce, a delightful sweet and savory sauce that will take your pancake to the next level!
Yakisoba is a stirfry dish that combines the meat of your choice with delicious soba noodles, veg, and sauce. For those new to Japanese cuisine, yakisoba may be the perfect place to start.
The wonderful texture of the noodles combined with Japanese flavours truly make for a spectacular dish. Yakisoba is often accompanied by pickled ginger that will take your taste buds up a notch or two.
Wagyu beef is renowned all over the world for its unmistakable tenderness and flavour. True wagyu beef comes from cows that have been raised with the utmost care and are genetically pre-dispositioned to having a higher percentage of both omega 3 and 6 fatty acids than other types of beef.
The marbling that runs through wagyu beef releases flavour into the beef when it’s cooked, making the steak incredibly juicy and tender. Wagyu beef, however, is notoriously expensive and is not likely to be your next goto meal.
Tempura is Japans answer to fried food and is used for meat, fish and even vegetables. The meat or veg is first dipped into a special tempura batter before it is then deep fried to provide a light yet crunchy texture.
Tempura can be eaten by itself or it can be served on top of rice bowl dishes such as donburi or ramen. Prawn is one of the more popular types of tempura and vegetable options such as pumpkin and sweet potato are also on the rise. Japan is proving to the world that everything tastes much better when its battered and they are not wrong!
Yakitori is the ultimate go-to dish in Japan. Yakitori is essentially ‘barbequed meat on a stick’ which is widely available in endless varieties across Japan. Convenience stores such as Lawson, Family Mart & 7-11 all have a hot counter by the till where you can pick up Yakitori on the go.
The yakitori is often brushed with a sauce or a combination of mirin wine, soy sauce, sake, and sugar to give the meat a wonder and yet subtle flavour as it is cooked over a grill.
Yakitori can be seen as an inexpensive healthy snack or it can be enjoyed as a culinary experience in dedicated yakitori restaurants whose owners take incredible pride preparing the dish. Whether enjoyed as a starter or as part of a main course, yakitori will not let you down!
Onigiri is essentially a triangular ball of rice and is perhaps the most go to snack in Japan. Onigiri is available plain with just rice or with a filing ranging from everything such as chicken or seaweed.
The onigiri is usually wrapped in nori seaweed to help you hold it and to give your last few bites a wonderful crunch. Convenience stores such as 7/11, Lawson and Family Mart all sell onigiri typically for 100-150 yen which is great for this perfect portable snack.
Gyoza are savory dumplings filled available in both meat and vegetarian combinations that will leave you and your friends fighting over who will have the last one! A good gyoza is typically fried on the bottom side to give it some crisp, while the top is steamed to keep the outer edge and contents inside juicy.
Gyoza is often accompanied by a delicious sauce for you to dip your gyoza’s into which makes this dish even more irresistible. When ordering gyoza, just make sure you have enough to go around!
When people think of Japanese food, sushi is more often than not the first food that comes to mind. While sushi is very popular in Japan, it is not the daily dish that it may appear to be.
Sushi like most of the Japanese food that we have discussed in this list, is available in endless varieties that offer different textures and tastes.
Makizushi is a type of sushi where the sushi rice and fillings are rolled up in nori seaweed, whereas nigiri sushi is characterised by its small balls of rice with single slices of raw meat layed over it.
Sushi is now enjoyed all over the world however it is best enjoyed in Japan where sushi chefs have trained their whole lives to perfect their technique for us to appreciate and enjoy.
Takoyaki has become a very popular street food option across Japan. Takoyaki, also known as ‘octopus balls’ is octopus cooked in batter and brushed with a delicious sweet and savory sauce.
What makes takoyaki an exciting street food besides the taste is the cooking technique that the chef uses to ensure each side of the takoyaki is perfectly cooked. Every minute the chef will turn the takoyaki incredibly fast uses nothing more than his chopsticks which must be seen to be appreciated.
Ramen is one of Japan’s most widely available foods which can be found on pretty much any street corner across Japan. Each prefecture will have its own signature ramen, each prided on the quality of their soy sauce, salt, miso and pork broth bases that provide the ramen with its depth of flavour.
Topped over the ramen broth will often be wheat noodles (ramen noodles), the meat of your choice, spring onions and bamboo shoots. For those of us that do not eat pork, some chicken stock base ramens are available however these are more difficult to come by.
Miso soup is perhaps the most consumed dish in Japan. Miso soup can be served as a main, as a side dish and even served with a Japanese breakfast.
Fermented soy beans are used in combination with a dashi broth to make miso soup, along with several other toppings such as green onion, tofu and wakame seaweed to enhance the soup’s flavours.