Half the charm of traveling to a new destination is trying out the local and traditional cuisine. This charm is because you won't feel the same taste anywhere else, even if you have an exotic restaurant in your hometown. Most that are authentic will be extremely expensive.
So, when it comes to traditional Japanese culinary delights, you will find the best amalgamation of tastes in Tokyo because it is a cosmopolitan city. In this article, we chose ten of the best treats that you must try once you are there.
Undoubtedly, sushi would be our first dish as it is, after all, the most popular. You can experience sushi in Japan in many ways, such as Kaiten Zushi, where you can enjoy different sushi dishes on a conveyor belt. You can pick and eat from many options costing you 100 yen per plate, making this the cheaper option.
You can also try Edomae Sushi-styled restaurants where the choice of sushi is prepared in front of you, giving you a great ambiance and taste. These will be high-end restaurants.
Visit Gansozushi in the Shibuya-ku district to enjoy well-made sushi. You can also visit Matsuei in Ebisu, Roppongi, or Kyubei in Ginza, Shinjuku.
Noodles are a standard affair in East Asian countries; everyone has their own variant. Though the Japanese inspired ramen from the Chinese and Japanese, they made it famous.
In Tokyo, you will see various variations from all over Japan, culminating. But most ramen dishes will have noodles in meat broth with different toppings such as eggs, vegetables, slices of meat, etc.
Just like in China, you have the choice of going for freshly made noodle ramen or choosing a ramen of your choice from a vending machine. The latter is quite popular in Japan as you can select your favorite ramen and aren't restricted to it.
We recommend going to Afuri in Ebisu or Kagari in Ginza to try the best ramen before going to the streets.
Tempura is the soul of Tokyo as it is readily and widely available in Tokyo's streets. You can take freshly made deep-fried tempura on a stick and eat it while walking or window shopping. Based on culinary preferences, two prominent and popular variants are shrimp tempura and tofu tempura. If you are not a vegan, we recommend trying every variation so you can experience all the tastes.
We recommend Tempura Abe in Ginza and Tempura Kondo in Ginza again before trying out street food tempura.
People might interchangeably use sushi and sashimi, though they seem the same. The significant difference is sashimi uses a bit thicker slice of raw fish. The quality dining of sashimi comes from the freshest and best-cut fish with sashimi knives, served with condiments such as soy sauce, wasabi, etc. A good restaurant will serve it in as visually pleasing fashion as they can.
Fresh eels, native to Japanese rivers and grilled, are a delicacy in Japan, and you can find the best dishes in high-end Tokyo restaurants. You must try Kabayaki, where the Unagi is examined with a mixture of sauces, including sake, soy sauce, sugar, and mirin. Undon will serve Unagi on top of boiled white rice. It would help if you visited Kawaei in the Kita-ku district to get the best Unagi.
This is the first hotpot (nabemono) dish on our list and a treat for meat lovers who enjoy beef above all else. Most restaurants have hotpots set up and ready on your table so you can boil your meat in water filled with spices of your choice.
This dish has many variations based on the ingredients and sauces used. Your taste and preference are what you want to eat and mix in sukiyaki.
If you want to understand Japanese BBQ's simplicity, it tastes different because of the extra sauce glazing done before putting on the grills. Chicken skewers are most common, but mixed with vegetables are also quite popular. Many Japanese love eating only vegetables this way, especially if they are well-made with unique sauces. Look out for Izakaya restaurants with the best yakitori flavors and tastes.
Try out Torikizoku or Torishiki in Tokyo to enjoy the most authentic Yakitori.
If you want to eat a Japanese dish closer to home, then Japanese curries are your answer. British brought it to Japan, and the Japanese have added their unique flavor. While the curry may look similar, they taste a bit sweeter and less spicy in Tokyo, so try something like chicken katsu/cutlet. Remember to visit CoCo Ichibanya to tingle your taste buds.
These are the most popular rice balls in Japan, also called Omusubi, which may have savory internals or fillings, giving you a pleasant surprise when you munch on them. Most balls are covered and kept together with nori seaweed, which tastes slightly salty. They are often used as snacks you can take and eat when you feel hungry.
You can easily find them in most general stores, but if you want a chef's specialty, you must visit Onigiri Café Tosaku in Bunkyo-ku.
Think of it as a snack similar to a small, bite-sized pizza where you can almost have anything as the topping. This excellent pancake-shaped comfort food means "whatever you like grilled." So next time you see something similar on the streets of Tokyo, choose your favorite ingredients and have a blast. We recommend eating it where you can find it on the roads, especially in nighttime markets where they taste the best.
These are just the top 10 dishes you should try the next time you are in Tokyo, but once you are there and have experienced these, there is more to it. You will find many variations of these dishes in streets, districts, and restaurants. So feel free to experiment with these dishes in Tokyo.