Japanese foods always leave a deep impression in the mind of diners due to their incredible flavor. Therefore, do not miss any chance to try them if you have a chance to take a trip to Japan. And I am sure you will fall in love with these signatures immediately.
Japanese recipes have not only an incredible taste but also an eye-catching appearance. After finishing this article, you will know a list of amazing Japanese dishes to enjoy and understand more about their tastes or origins.
Traditional Noodle-Based Japanese Foods For Your Meal
There are thousands of attractive noodle types in Japanese cuisine. So you should learn about the unique and beautiful flavors of the well-known noodles in the list below to enjoy the essence of Japanese recipes.
1. Ramen (Japanese Noodle Dish)
Ramen is a recipe that originated in China and was brought to Japan in the Taisho era. It was originally known as “Chinese soba”, and until the 1950s, it was called ramen. The ramen restaurants became popular in Japan in the 1900s. Nowadays, there are numerous ramen variations.
Ramen is a famous noodle recipe that many tourists consume when visiting Japan. Your Japanese dinner recipes should include this tasty food. Wheat flour is the main component that creates chewy and delicious noodles.
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The bowl of ramen looks yummy with pork, seaweed, and eggs. The secret of this recipe is the incredible soup and the perfect ramen noodles. Its taste is terrific, and I have never tasted anything like it. You will not leave any leftover broth when you eat it.
These are all things you need to know about delicious ramen.
2. Udon (Japanese Thick Noodles)
Udon is one of the three most eaten noodles in Japan, so there is no reason not to try it. Udon noodles with brine wine and wheat flour will have the perfect chewiness and texture.
There are many ways to enjoy this delicious food starting with “U” Japanese people often stir-fry noodles with vegetables or put them in a hot pot. However, the most popular version is udon noodle soups. You will be mesmerized by the sweetness of the broth.
Udon was first created in the 13th century when the monk Enni invented the noodle making technique. Originally, udon was known as “Konton, and was a combination of sweet fillings and wheat flour. There are 15 different ways to prepare udon.
Learn the history and the ways to make fantastic Udon noodles.
3. Yakisoba (Fried Noodles)
Yakisoba is a popular dish in Japanese festivals that appears in numerous famous Japanese cookbooks. Noodles will be stir-fried with various vegetables and pork. A little yakisoba sauce will make the noodles richer and attractive. You will be defeated by the deliciousness of the noodles immediately.
In particular, yakisoba is a noodle that is not made from buckwheat. If you have the opportunity to visit Japan during the festivals, you will encounter vendors making noodles outdoors in the bustling atmosphere of the festival.
Besides the famous restaurants around the world with yakisoba, this food beginning with “Y” popularity is also supported by the company Nissin. This is the company that has continuously produced Japanese noodles so that more people can have access to this signature food.
4. Soba (Buckwheat Noodles)
Soba is a must-try noodle dish in Japan. You will be immersed in the characteristic nutty and earthy flavors when eating the chewy and yummy soba noodles. In addition, a little strong flavor of garlic and sesame will explode the taste buds.
You will love a bowl of soup with soba noodles, onions, tempura, and fish cake. Until now, I still cannot forget the unique and excellent taste of this noodle recipe. Soba is also known as “breaking off the old year” since the noodles break easily.
Let’s taste soba noodles to understand more about their flavor.
Delicious Japanese Dishes With Meat And Seafood
Japanese food paradise has many beautiful dishes made from meat and seafood. You should record the fantastic recipes in this section to enjoy as soon as you arrive in Japan.
5. Sashimi (Sliced Raw Fish)
Sashimi is one of the iconic Japanese dishes. You should add this fantastic food to your Japanese lunch recipes during this trip. The slices of fresh fish will make you enjoy the original and most natural seafood taste.
These tender and delicious fish slices will bring out their full flavor when accompanied by soy sauce, wasabi, and pickled ginger. You shouldn’t confuse sashimi with sushi, nigiri, or maki, as they’re all vastly different dishes.
A sashimi chef needs to be trained for 10 years before serving sashimi directly at a restaurant. In particular, sashimi is not only fish but also beef, chicken, and raw squid. About 80% of tuna is used for sashimi.
When it comes to Japanese recipes, most of us will think of sushi immediately. This is considered a symbolic dish of the land of the rising sun. This dish was brought to the Americans in 1868 after the Meiji Restoration.
Sushi is a dish with Japanese rice as the primary ingredient, and you will feel the rice vinegar flavor in this recipe. At Japanese restaurants, you will be served seaweed, vegetables, and various seafood. You will eat it with wasabi or soy sauce.
Let’s learn some fantastic facts about sushi.
7. Yakitori (Skewered Chicken)
Yakitori is a recipe associated with sports matches in Japan. The Japanese love to eat these grilled chicken sticks and the bite-sized pieces of yakitori will awaken your taste buds. Especially, the name “yakitori” means “barbecued chicken”.
This Japanese chicken delicacy is common on most menus of Japanese restaurants. It is usually served pre-cooked, frozen, or canned. Hotei Foods Corporation was the first company to produce canned yakitori in 1970. It is also sold at street stalls in Japan.
The sauce on the outside of the chicken pieces will make you fall in love with this food. Nowadays, you can find yakitori sticks with beef, pork, fish, or vegetables. Dipping yakitori in the traditional teriyaki sauce and enjoying it with wine is an incredible experience.
Get these instructions to cut chicken for yakitori.
8. Tempura (Deep-Fried Seafood And Vegetables)
It would be remiss not to mention tempura in this list. If you love crunchy foods, you cannot go wrong with them. Meat, seafood, and vegetables are deep-fried with a layer of tempura batter on the outside.
The eye-catching yellow color of this recipe will captivate you at first sight. You will feel a rustling sound in your mouth when chewing tempura. In Japan, people often eat this food with rice or noodle soups.
Tempura first appeared in Japan in the 1600s when Portuguese missionaries arrived. It was born when they were forbidden to eat meat and it became an indispensable recipe during Lent.
It is time for you to try the crispy tempura in a Japanese restaurant.
9. Mentaiko (Salted Alaska Pollock Roe)
Mentaiko was introduced to Japan from Korea in 1949 by a Japanese named Kawahara Toshio, who lived in Busan. He went through the tasting process of Korean cod roe before introducing it in Japan. You’ll often see it in comparison between Japanese and Korean food.
Mentaiko is a unique gift I would like to dedicate to seafood fans. Pollen eggs will be marinated in salty water to eat with white rice. The version of Karachi mentaiko seasoned with chili peppers is for spicy food lovers.
When eating ramen, you will also have the opportunity to enjoy mentaiko when it is used as a topping of this noodle dish. In addition, it is combined with butter or cream to make a mentaiko sauce to eat with pasta.
10. Tonkatsu (Fried Pork Cutlets)
Tonkatsu is a dish made from pork cutlets introduced to Japan by Europeans. The pork pieces are fried in oil with a layer of breadcrumbs covering the outside to give it a perfect crunch and an eye-catching golden brown color.
When ordering tonkatsu at Japanese restaurants, you will be provided with a cup of dipping sauce made with vegetables and delectable Japanese fruits. Moreover, cabbage and salad will make you not bored when consuming these excellent pieces of pork.
Take a trip to Japan to eat mouthwatering tonkatsu.
11. Chawanmushi (Egg Custard)
Recharge with a delicious and rich teacup of chawanmushi that will make you feel more comfortable and relaxed after a day of exploring Japan. Eggs will be steamed in a small cup with meats and vegetables after seasoned. People also turn it into a delicious Japanese shrimp dish.
When you eat chawanmushi, you will easily associate it with pudding because of its texture. The name chawanmushi comes from the way it is prepared. “Chawan” means a cup of tea, and “Mushi” means steamed. It was born 300 years ago during the Edo period.
Check out the methods to make soft and fantastic chawanmushi.
12. Kaki Fry (Deep-Fried Breaded Oyster)
If you love dishes made with oysters, you will love this delicious and beautiful deep-fried oyster. It appeared in Japan in the late Meiji era. Fresh oysters will be coated with flour, beaten eggs, and bread crumbs before becoming crispy in hot oil.
This food is pretty popular in Japan in autumn and winter because these are the two seasons when oysters are most abundant and yummy. Restaurants often serve this fantastic dish with vegetables and various sauces.
Yummy Japanese Street Foods You Must Try
If you like the comfort of eating, Japanese street cuisine should be a top choice on your wait list. It is time to satisfy your cravings with these mouthwatering treats right away.
13. Dango (Japanese Dumplings)
Japanese dessert recipes are varied, but you will need sweet Dango dumplings if you want something to refresh your mouth after enjoying street food. Round cakes of various colors are made from mochiko.
These irresistible desserts from Asia are usually skewered on sticks with (about 3 to 5 dangos) and sold in every corner of Japan. The Japanese will make seasonal dango. In the cherry blossom season, they will make hanami dango with pink colors like these flowers.
The first version of dango was first made in the Jomon period from 1400 to 300 BC. The Japanese of this time collected nuts to grind into flour like today’s flour.
14. Shioyaki (Grilled And Salted Fish)
Do not look at the simple appearance of shioyaki and judge its quality. It is not just fish sticks, but it is the result of fish marinated with salt overnight and grilled with charcoal fire. This is a unique Japanese technique.
The fish has an incredible taste, and the meat is pretty tough, so you should prepare some Japanese beverages to drink while eating it. Nothing is better than enjoying a beer and this excellent grilled fish in the bustling streets.
15. Mochi (Japanese Rice Cake)
Mochi is a traditional Japanese dish made from sticky rice. To make these soft and supple mochi cakes, the Japanese have to spend a lot of time with a complicated process: making the dough, filling, shaping the cake, and cooking it.
Today, creating mochi is more straightforward than it used to be. In the old days, making flour was tricky when the Japanese had to pound the rice with a pestle and mortar to get the dough to make mochi. It is usually made a lot on New Year’s Eve.
Listen to the directions to make ice cream mochi.
16. Ikayaki (Grilled Squid With Soy Sauce)
Ikayaki is one of the most famous street foods in the country of cherry blossoms. You will be mesmerized by the deliciousness of this grilled squid. The squids will be bathed in sweet soy sauce and grilled over charcoal.
Wow, I am sure you will not be able to resist the seductive aroma of grilled squid. The chefs will cut into bite-sized slices but keep the original shape for an attractive and beautiful appearance.
17. Takoyaki (Octopus Balls)
Referring to famous Japanese street foods, it is impossible not to mention takoyaki. People call it the octopus ball. It is a top favorite snack in Japan. These round balls are made with dough and an octopus in the middle.
The takoyaki is coated with takoyaki sauce for extra flavor. Furthermore, the greasy of the mayonnaise topping will leave an indelible impression in your mind.
Originally, this delicious food was made by an Osaka street vendor in 1935. Akashi city akashiyaki dumplings are considered to be the forerunners of this food.
It is time to explore all information about the history of takoyaki.
18. Okonomiyaki (Pan-Fried Cake With Seafood, Meat, And Vegetables)
Okonomiyaki was first created in Osaka and Hiroshima and gradually spread throughout Japan. The flours are mixed with the cabbage and savory components to make a wonderful recipe that you should try.
This pancake will be pan-fried and covered with mayonnaise sauce. When you come to Japan, you will have the opportunity to make your okonomiyaki pancakes to enjoy on the spot. It is a perfect experience, isn’t it?
It is straightforward to make incredible okonomiyaki to enjoy at home.
19. Imagawayaki (Japanese Donuts)
If you are a fan of the anime Doraemon, you will know this famous imagawayaki donut. This delicious treat is popular on the streets of Tokyo and throughout Japan. Therefore, let’s find them to taste right now.
Its name is inspired by the Imagawa Bridge. This is where these donuts were first sold in the late 1700s. Before that, it was called Obanyaki because it was shaped like the ancient Oban coin.
The outer layer of the cake is made from eggs and flour for excellent porosity. Depending on your preference, you can buy imagawayaki with fillings made from bean paste, custard, or chocolate.
If you don’t have a premium-quality donut maker at home and don’t want to figure out the best way to prep donuts with no donut pans, Imagawayaki will be the best choice for you. Why bother coming up with ways to create donut holes when you can just make donuts without ones?
20. Yakiimo (Roasted Sweet Potatoes)
Yakiimo appeared in South America pretty long ago, and when it was introduced to Japan in the 15th century, the Japanese created delicious yakiimo dishes for winter days. This food contains a large amount of protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals.
A sweet potato called satsuma-imo is the main ingredient of this food. Sweet potatoes grilled over charcoal will have tough skin and soft, fluffy, and fragrant flesh. You can think of a caramel taste when you eat it.
Other Incredible Japanese Recipes To Awaken Your Taste Buds
The richness of Japanese cuisine offers many different wonderful options for you to enjoy. You can refer to the suggestions below to add to your food menu for this trip.
21. Tamagoyaki (Grilled Egg)
Tamagoyaki is a delicious addition to your Japanese breakfast recipes. The egg slices with their soft and spongy texture will melt in your mouth in no time. You will feel the gentle sweetness when enjoying this unique egg dish.
Eggs are fried extremely thin and rolled into many different layers. The eggs will be cut into thin slices and presented in a beautiful way that will make you want to eat them right away. You can easily come across the recipe at sushi parties.
The 1950s were considered to be the heyday of tamagoyaki because parents gave children more protein with eggs as encouraged by the government.
Do not ignore these instructions to get the delicious tamagoyaki.
22. Natto (Steamed And Fermented Soybeans)
A traditional food I would recommend to you is natto. The soybeans are fermented with bacteria found in the human gastrointestinal tract. The flavor of these soybeans is pretty intense and will leave an unforgettable impression on you.
When you eat these beans, you will think of moldy cheese because of its smell. Some people will not like the scent, but its flavor will entice you. With their characteristic salty and umami taste, the beans will stimulate your taste buds.
You will get more nutrients after eating this food beginning with “N”. The high content of vitaminK2 and protein will be valuable for your health. Low calorie is especially what you will love about this food
23. Sukiyaki (Japanese Hot Pot)
Sukiyaki translates to “cook what you like,” so this hot pot can hold any ingredients you want to add. Usually, the Japanese will put slices of beef, noodles, and vegetables into a boiling hot pot to keep warm on cold days.
Hot pot broth is the highlight of this remarkable dish. You will feel the salty taste of soy sauce, the sweetness of sugar, and a bit of a typical flavor of sake and rice wine. This is a favorite choice of office workers at the weekend parties.
Get the ways to have fantastic sukiyaki at home.
24. Oden (Japanese Fish Cake Stew)
Your cold winter days will become warmer with a boiling pot of oden. It is a mixture of many different veggies and ingredients. You will not be able to forget the tastes of mochi rice cakes, fish cakes, daikon radish, and eggs in this wonderful hot pot.
Your body will be warmed when sipping a spoonful of broth made from bonito fish flakes, seaweed, and more. You can eat hot pot with noodles and consume a few glasses of wine with your friends.
Oden was born in the 14th century during the Muromachi era. Its earliest version was grilled tofu skewers covered with miso sauce.
25. Kare Raisu (Curry Rice)
If you are looking for a rice dish to fill your hungry stomach, curry rice is suitable. It was brought to Japan by the British in the Meiji era, so it is pretty similar to United Kingdom curry.
Sweetness is the signature flavor of this beautiful dish. Curry is stewed for a long time with meat and vegetables. The soft and flexible rice grains will evenly absorb the curry juice, bringing an irresistible flavor to diners.
26. Miso Soup
Miso soup is a culinary staple of Japanese cuisine. A cup of miso soup is always present in every Japanese meal and a common companion food for sushi. When you eat rice or anything at restaurants, they will serve you a cup of miso soup with it.
Miso paste is fermented from soybeans, giving this recipe its distinctive flavor. Furthermore, you will enjoy the taste of dashi broth in this food. You will feel warm after sipping a cup of miso soup.
Miso is inspired by the fermented food of ancient China. It was brought to Japan and Korea in the 7th century.
Avoid 5 mistakes for a delicious miso soup.
27. Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls)
You are probably no stranger to Onigiri. It is considered a portable dish of the Japanese. You just need to go to convenience stores and wait for a few minutes to have an onigiri for breakfast.
It is also known by various names, such as “nigirimeshi”, “omusubi”, or “rice balls”. The triangular or cylindrical rice balls wrapped in seaweed pieces with tuna or teriyaki chicken fillings are a great choice when there is not much time.
28. Unagi No Kabayaki (Grilled Eel)
If you travel to Japan during the summer, you will have the opportunity to enjoy unagi no kabayaki with the best and definitive flavor. This unique dish has been around since the Edo period.
Pieces of eel are grilled on a griddle with kabayaki sauce. This is a sweet sauce with soy sauce as the primary ingredient. The Japanese also replace eel with fish in the seasons when there are few eels.
29. Gyoza (Japanese Potstickers)
These half-moon-shaped dumplings will leave you spellbound. The rich filling combines minced pork, mushrooms, cabbage, and other elements. In addition, you will enjoy many different versions of the filling depending on the restaurant you choose.
For example, chefs might swap out the pork for beef, thus resulting in a mouth-watering Japanese ground beef dish. Other unconventional fillings might also include lamb, seafood, or cheese.
Until now, you may think gyoza is quite similar to regular dumplings. But the outer layer is what sets these potstickers apart from other dumplings. The chef will fry them on one side and steam them for about 2 to 3 minutes to bring out gyozas with a succulent filling and silky wrapping.
China was considered the homeland of this food when Jiaozi was invented. Japanese soldiers stationed in China during World War II brought this recipe back to Japan when they returned.
You will regret it if you do not taste yummy gyoza.
30. Gyudon (Beef And Rice)
Gyudon combines rice and beef with a rich taste and is seasoned with various spices. If you want to enjoy gyudon at its best, you should go to Sukiya – the biggest Gyudon restaurant chain. For more information, it was very common in the Meiji era in 1868 to 1912.
You will be served with a small salad and a bowl of hot miso soup. There is no need to worry about its price because it is pretty cheap and still ensures a full stomach for you after eating it.
31. Edamame (Boiled Green Soybeans)
You will easily find edamame at pubs in Japan. The soybeans are harvested when they are young and lightly blanched in boiling water to retain the natural sweetness and crispiness of the beans. In particular, you will eat the pods of the beans.
You will feel the umami and a little salty taste when these beans are salted. It is also a healthy snack because you will get protein, calcium, and iron for your body. Regarding its origin, Edamame first appeared in China in around 200 BC.
Which Is Your Favorite Japanese Food?
Have you tried any of the foods on this list? I hope this article will help you better understand Japanese cuisine and make it easier to choose delicious dishes to enjoy when you come to Japan.
I always look forward to your contributed ideas on each article to improve in the following posts to bring you the best experience, so let me know what you think in the comments below. Thanks for reading!