Fun Food to Eat on Japan Vacation

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Travel to Japan and Japanese Cuisine to Try

If you are going to Japan, there will be a lot of new experiences an. Here is a list of Japanese food that locals love to eat and visitors should try

You may have had sushi or tempura at your local sushi restaurant, but here are some foods that really should be experienced in Japan.

Travelling to a new country means seeing and experiencing new things. Food is a big part of that, and here are some unique dishes to Japan that are worth a try.

Try Eating Takoyaki

Takoyaki can be roughly translated as octopus balls. They are dumplings with chopped up octopus. They usually come in a tray of six to eight and have a Japanese savoury sauce, fish flakes and shredded seaweed on top. It’s a popular snack that is often sold by vendors during festivals.

Have a Savoury Pancake called Okonomiyaki

Okonomiyaki is basically an omelette –pancake hybrid. It is usually made with flour, eggs, cabbage and sometimes meat or fish are added too. A lot of toppings are also involved with this omelette-pancake. They can include mayonnaise, shredded seaweed, fish flakes, Japanese-style Worchester sauce and pickled ginger. It is considered a traditional fast food snack but can be eaten as a meal. Many places let customers each individually pick out what they want in their okonomiyaki and then cook it up, others let customers cook up the food on their own on a hot plate.

Natto for Breakfast

When you first see natto, your impression will likely be of a bowl of stinky rotten beans. To be exact, they are fermented soybeans. The smell is intense and as they are picked up with chopsticks, there will likely be gooey strings of slime clinging along for the ride. Natto is traditionally eaten for breakfast with rice, and it’s said to be very good for one’s health, being high in protein. Natto is considered an acquired taste, and whether a visitor likes it or not, tasting it is a memorable experience.

Shabu Shabu is Great to Eat with Friends

Shabu Shabu is a fun and delicious meal to share with a group. A gas or electric hot plate is used to heat a pot of hot broth right at the table and a variety of raw vegetables and meats are brought out so each person can cook up what he or she likes. Just pick up a veggie with chopsticks and move it around in the broth until it is cooked, then choose one of the tasty dipping sauces that comes with this meat and start eating!

Have Eel for a Meal in Japan

Unagi translates to eel in English. It’s a popular food said to give one strength and vitality. It is generally grilled with a sweet sake sauce and in taste and texture it is very similar to fish. It can be eaten on its own or on a bed of rice as a main meal.

There are many original and interesting foods to try in Japan. Some of them include takoyaki, okonomiyaki, natto, shabu shabu and unagi.

Department Store Food in Japan

Restaurant Floors and Japanese Food Courts

Excellent restaurants and food courts are always found in the plethora of department stores in Japan.

With the sheer number of restaurants and their odd placement in Japan, finding a cheap and cheerful place to grab a bite to eat may seem a challenge. But eating out in Japan doesn’t have to give you a headache. In fact, the best place may be right in front of your face.

Japanese “Food Courts”

Department stores abound in Japan, particularly in the big cities and you can always find at least one or two (and sometimes a labyrinthine cluster) around the major train stations. All department stores have what an American might call a “food court;” but in Japan they have so much more to offer. In fact, you might call them “food halls” or “food cities” and for the tourist or newcomer to Japan, they might be the ticket to food heaven.

How to Find One

Finding a food hall in a department store is usually quite easy. There’s usually a sign with various pictures of the types of food and restaurants on offer. If in doubt, head either to the basement or the upper floors and prepare yourself to be spoiled for choice.

Restaurant Floors

When we think of a restaurant in a department store/mall, ideas of a stellar culinary experience usually dpon’t spring to mind. However, in Japan, the restaurant options in department stores are usually top notch. While some may be average noodle stands or run-of-the mill Italian pasta chains, there really are some delights to be found right in the midst of a shopping multiplex.

There are usually may Japanese options- from sushi to okonomiyaki (Japanese omelettes) to ramen- and sometimes an entire floor may be devoted to Japanese delights. However, you can usually find some Western or Asian options as well. For some excellent examples try the shoppers’ paradises of Roppongi Hills, Tokyo Midtown or the Shin Maranouchi complex.

Food Courts

In addition to the floors of restaurants, you can always find a floor of food stands selling every tasty morsel you could imagine, Japanese style. From bakeries selling fresh bread, pastries, sandwiches, ice cream shops to sushi stands to pasta and salad nooks, there’s something for everyone who wants a quick bite to go. And, an added bonus is that there are usually some samples to be had in case you want to try before you buy.

So, the next time you’re in Japan and find yourself overwhelmed and/ or just hungry, be smart and head into a department store. Besides shopping you can also find some genuinely delectable dining options. Whether you want something fast and cheap or fancy a sit down dinner in a posh bistro, department stores are usually just the ticket. Unlike the American counterparts offering McDonalds, Taco Bell, or greasy fast food Chinese, in Japan you’ll find yourself in a whole new ballpark.