THE WONDERFUL STREET FOOD OF JAPAN
Whether you’re a foodie or not, Japanese food is a highlight for any trip to Japan! Street food stalls or ‘Yatai’ in Japanese, are especially notable for providing mouth-watering dishes during summer festivals or street fairs. Immerse yourself within Japanese street food stalls; gazing at authentic dishes being crafted on open Yatai; while listening and smelling a collective sizzling Japanese aroma that’ll entertain any appetite. Here is my selection of the unique and delicious dishes YOU MUST TRY!
So simple, yet unbelievably delicious! It’s literally a banana on a stick covered in chocolate and sprinkles. Choose from a selection of coloured chocolate toppings like pink, blue or brown, which can represent milk, dark, strawberry or white chocolate to coat your banana! During summer festivals they’re more common to find.
This is a classic dish served in street food stalls. Famously scattered everywhere in Osaka, Takoyaki are fried balls filled with minced pieces of octopus, tempura, ginger and spring onion! They’re golden brown and crispy on the outside and soft and moist on the inside, ensuring a flavourful combination that can’t be beaten. Not only that, but they’re also smothered with a delicious Takoyaki sauce to top it off!
They may be French, but Japanese crêpes have adapted this classic dish into their very own popular street food dish. Presented in a cone-shape, the crêpe is filled with either savoury or sweet fillings, some Japanese ingredients like teriyaki sauce or azuki beans, as well as traditional fillings like fruit, whipped cream or brownie pieces. If you’re unable to attend any summer festivals, Harajuku Tokyo is easily the number 1 destination for crêpe stores! Marion Crêpes is my recommendation!
Similar to ramen noodles; Yakisoba originated from the classic Chinese chow mein. The dish comprises of stir-fried wheat noodles, pork, onions and cabbage, seasoned with a sweet and savoury sauce and sometimes a fried egg on top. The dish can be served on a plate, or even as a Yakisoba-pan, where the noodles are stuffed in a hot dog bun.
A soft and sticky Japanese rice dumpling served with a sweet sugar sauce or savoury soy sauce. They can be served with different colours and coatings! Dango is very popular in the tourist hotspot of Asakusa, famous for its traditional atmosphere. Kibidango Azuma is my recommendation!
Unlike sweet and fluffy traditional pancakes, Okonomiyaki is Japanese savoury pancakes made from a wheat-flour-based batter with shredded cabbage. A variety of toppings like meat, seafood, cheese and other condiments can be added! Okonomiyaki is very popular in Japan, it’s common to see in both eat-in restaurants and street food vendors. It’s very famous in Tsukishima, Tokyo.
Do you like waffles? Extremely adorable fish-shaped pastries? Then Taiyaki is for you! Taiyaki is a Japanese fish-shaped pastry with your choice of filling! Choose either red bean paste, custard, chocolate, cheese and plenty more. IT’S AMAZING! The pastry originated from its round-shaped imagawayaki, however, the only difference is that Taiyaki is cooked in the shape of a tai (Bream).
Just like the good old corn on the cob, Yaki Tomorokoshi is simply grilled corn on the cob seasoned with miso, soy sauce and butter!
Mochi is a sweet rice cake pounded and mashed into little soft and chewy rice balls. During the New Year, the Mochi has its own ceremony called Mochitsuki, eating the mochi during this time is normally accompanied with a wish in attaining good fortune for the new year.
Personally, I’m not the biggest seafood eater… But for those who love squid, Ikayaki is your go-to Japanese street seafood! The squid is grilled whole or as squid tentacles, which can be served on a stick. The squid can be seasoned with soy sauce or teriyaki sauce.
There are so many more dishes that belong on this list. Notable mentions like Yakitori (Japanese skewered chicken), Ichigo ame (Strawberry candy), Kakigori (Shaved ice flavoured with syrup) and Cotton Candy are also popular. Unfortunately in Japan, it is rare to find Yatai (street food) randomly on the streets, most street food stalls are open during festivals like Akita Kanto Matsuri, Furusato Food Festival and Yamagata Hanagasa Matsuri. But streets like Ameyoko Market, Asakusa’s Nakamise Dori, Yanaka Ginza Shotengai and Togoshi Ginza are also abundant with street food. So go venture out and eat, eat, eat!