Food is one gateway to fully immerse and understand the culture in a foreign country. You may be skeptical about eating street food when you’re overseas but your fears are unfounded here in Japan — on a scale of one to ten, the possibility of you suffering a bout of food poisoning there is ranked a low one. Here are the 10 Japanese street food you must feast on at their yatai (small mobile food stores).
Oknomiyaki is a savoury pancake dish traditionally prepared by using up leftovers in the fridge. Derived from the word okonomi (meaning “what you want”) and yaki (meaning “grilled” or “cooked”), ingredients like cabbage, green onion, meat, octopus are added into the batter before it’s pan-fried on both sides, topped with sauces like okonomiyaki and Japanese mayonnaise and finished off with bonito flakes as garnish.
Originated from Osaka, this popular flour and egg based batter street food is cooked in a round grill pan. Filled with octopus bits in the centre, the slightly crispy outer layer doughy texture is served with sauces and garnished with bonito flakes, just like Okonomiyaki.
Shioyaki, also known as fish on stick, is prepared the traditional salt-grilled way. The mackerel are seasoned with a generous amount of salt before it is skewered and roasted over the fire.
Well-loved by kids and adults alike, Taiyaki, a fish-shaped pancake, is one of the most famous street snacks in Japan. You can choose from a selection of sweet and savoury topping choices like chocolate and cheese, on top of the common azuki sweet red bean paste.
Make sure you get your hands on some of this lip-smacking goodness! Yakisoba, a classic Japanese dish, is a type of fried buckwheat soba noodles that’s boiled before stir-frying with pork slices and topped with sweet sauce. Similar to the red pickled ginger served in sushi restaurants, they act like a palette cleanser.
Kakigori is Japan’s version of Bingsoo. The shaved flavoured ice dessert is great for cooling down especially during the summer heat. Original flavours include strawberry and pineapple.
Basically a sweet, falvourful corn on the cob that is brushed with miso, butter and soya sauce before it is grilled to a golden shade of perfection, this is a must eat especially for corn lovers!
8. Jaga Bata
Despite the simplicity of the dish, Jaga Bata is a comfort food of many! Predominantly a baked potato served with a knob of butter, this is not something that requires tons of seasoning to taste heavenly.
Another skewered item, Yakitori is a bite-sized food seasoned with tare sauce or salt before it’s grilled over charcoal fire. Other than the typical meat or vegetable variation of this street snack, you can expect usual parts of animals like Gyutan (beef tongue) and reba (chicken liver) as well.
Somewhat like mochi, dango is a sweet, sticky dumpling best paired with authentic Japanese green tea. Grilled then coated with a syrup that’s a mixture of soy sauce, sugar and mirin, you can eat this sack all year round, although it comes in a few variations during certain seasons.
When in the land of the rising sun, these are the ten street food you should feast on!
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