Not everyone is a foodie like us. Not everyone goes to a country and wants to enjoy the food that the city or country has to offer. Take my mum for example, her visit to Japan a couple of years ago was not quite what me or my brother had expected. After only one week of eating Japanese food, she had enough and actively sought out a McDonalds, just to have some resemblance of home. Queue the gasps, the shock, the faints.
For many of us (me included), without the taste of crispy chicken, dumplings drizzled with chilli sauce or even roadside pancakes, its hard for us to enjoy the city. My mouth is watering already at the thought of all the amazing food that I’ve got to show you. And can you blame me?! Japanese food is one of the most amazing, freshest food that we can find (and by far one of my favourite).
One of the first thing I noticed was the abundance of rice based food items. Mochis (let me drool a little), noodles, curry and rice.. But again this isn’t surprising. Japan’s cuisine has developed over thousands of years of multicultural input. Rice was in fact brought over by the Chinese, and has since been one of the core items of Japanese cuisine.
At one point the Japanese had a vegetarian only diet (for 1200 years, meat was forbidden- I don’t think I would have survived), so being creative with rice meant that so many new delicious recipes were created.
1.Mochi Mochi Mochi 🍡 🍡
OK, so these sweet red bean dessert may have taken me by surprise. In the UK, in most restaurants, the mochi desserts we have are ice cream filled and wrapped in rice dough, not quite the same as the true Japanese desserts found on the street side sold by the friendly Japanese vendors.
The ones found here are beautiful red bean packages sometimes with fruit on top, with as many flavors as the mind can think of. Lucky for us, we came in Sakura season, so we were able to try the Sakura flavored ones to our hearts content.
Mouth watering yet? No? Let me try again
2. Ramen 🍜
Those of you that watch anime, or any type of Japanese TV show, know that this is a common pass time. Picture a cold afternoon, you’ve finished work and just then there appears a small hole in the wall that serves the most mouthwatering flavored soup with noodles, vegetables, chicken, fish, beef that will warm you to your bones. How can you refuse?
Interestingly Ramen actually originates from a Chinese cook who created this recipe in Japan. Until the 1950s it was called Shina noodles, a tribute to its Chinese origins. However, due to China and Japan not being on good terms, and in an attempt to change it, a newly packaged noodle soup came out namely Chickin (Style of Chinese- but more accepted) Ramen. It eventually advanced to the Ramen we know today.
3. Katsu chicken 🍗 🍗 🍗 🍗
Ok so I will give it to you, look closely enough and you can see that this was from Universal studios Japan. But Japan is Japan right? And no one does Katsu like the Japanese.
The breaded chicken made from Panko crumbs can be made from different meats, although pork, chicken and beef have been the most popular. Originally created in the Meji era in an attempt for the Japanese to have more western influence. However, traditionally served on rice, it is delicious, and a must try if you are visiting Japan.
4. Takoyaki 🐙
Takoyaki, or Deep friend octopus in batter is a little different to what most people are used to. If you don’t know much about Japanese food, this one may be new to you. Vinny is willing to try most things, however the thought of octopus wasn’t especially enticing me! But never one to back down, this was so surprising! I’m glad I tried it, because I really loved it! You can’t see it very well on this picture but it is often served with green onions and tempura scraps, which just added to its yumminess. All of this just melts in your mouth, so what’s not to like?
So us Indians may be known for our curries and a kick when it comes to it, but seriously don’t miss out on these Japanese beauties. I can’t even give these curries a name, as every store has a slightly different version and their own recipes, and I have yet to come across a bad one.
6. Eggs 🍳
Ok heres the big question: Eggs on rice or on a stick? Tamgoyaki (rolled omelette) is a well known recipe, usually homemade. We were lucky to find one on the street side. But eggs on rice? I mean can anything on rice ever go wrong?? (also not bad for you vegetarians out there!)
7. Sushi 🍣 🍣 🍣
Yes please! I mean sea food in Japan is always good! I have been to some seriously good sushi places in the UK and around the world, but nothing compares to traditional Japanese made sushi.
So did I succeed in making you drool? Just a little??
This list is by no means extensive, and in all honesty every area of Japan has its own culinary secrets that need to be explored. This doesn’t even scratch the surface, but is a little bit of my experience. Just try it and you will easily fall in love. As for me, I’m off to get some Japanese takeaway.