100 Dishes from Japan

The top 100 must eat food from Japan

Japanese cuisine such as Sushi, Sashimi and Tempura nowadays are well known around the world. But very few people know a wide range of other Japanese dishes. This is a collection of about a 100 things to eat and drink in Japan.

Omrice    #21 Omurice combines the words omelette and rice and perfectly describes this combination of Western and Japanese food. It consists of fried rice with chicken covered by an omelette. It often is decorated with a little bit of ketchup. Omurice is a popular dish at home but also often by many restaurants as a lunch menu.

Hayashi Rice    #22 Hayashi Rice is a Japanese western style dish similar to a stew. It usually contains beef, onion and mushrooms in a thick demi-glace sauce and is served with white rice. It is a popular dish for lucy menus and Japanese children usually like it very much. It often also includes some pickled red sweet ginger.

 Umeboshi   #23 Umeboshi is made of Japanese ume plums pickled in salt and dried under the sun. They are a classic ingredient of Japanese cuisine and served with rice. Many foreigners find Umeboshi too salty or acid. The best Umeboshi are maturing for up to three years and said to be very healthy due to their high share of citric.

oshinko    #24 Oshinko is pickled vegetables. Japan has a long tradition of pickled vegetables because it allows to preserve vegetables and it very tasty with rice. Oshinko often is served at the end of a menu together with the rice but also can be ordered as a separate dish (e.g. as an appetizer or together with alcohol). There are hundreds of different tsukemono (pickles) using various vegetables and pickling methods.

Yakisoba    #25 Yakisoba is a kind of Japanese fried noodles. It is very popular street food never missing at the stands of Japanese festivals. The noodles are stir fried with pork and cabbage with Worcester  sauce and seasoned with green seaweed powder, red pickled ginger and sometimes mayonnaise. It also is available at many convenience stores, super markets or as instant Yakisoba for home cooking.

Kusaya   #26 Kusaya is a kind of dried fish with a very strong fishy smell which comes from soaking it in fish sauce before drying. Only advance connoisseurs of Japanese food will enjoy this. Kusaya is made by soaking the fish in fish sauce before drying it. It smells worst during grilling, so that packages of already grilled are also sold.

Fugu   #27 Fugu is the famous Japanese blowfish with poisonous inner organs. Fugu is served in specialized restaurants as sashimi, as a hot pot or deep dried. Most Fugu used in restaurants are procured from fish farms that grow safe Fugu by not feeding certain ingredients required by the fish to produce the poison.

Chanko Nabe Hotpot   #28 Chanko Nabe is famous a hot pot famous for being cooked for some wrestlers. Seasonal seafood, vegetables, meat and seasoning are cooked in a large pot and served with rice. Many Chanko Nabe restaurants are located in Ryogoku in Tokyo close to the sumo stables and are run by former sumo wrestlers after they retired as sumo professionals.

Unagi   #29 Unagi is freshwater eel and a very popular dish in summer said to increase stamina to cope with the humid heat of Japan. Slices of eel are slowly grilled whist a sweet soy sauce based dip is spread of the fish each time it is turned. There are many restaurants specialized on Unagi and the most popular dish is Unadon where the grilled eel is served on a bed of rice.

Kaiseki   #30 Kaiseki is a traditional Japanese multi course dinner. The dishes come in a defined order with sashimi at the beginning and rice being served before the dessert. The dishes usually have a very elaborated appearance using fresh leaves and flowers. Kaiseki restaurants often are used to entertain business partners.

Dango   #31 Dango are Japanese dumplings made out of a sweet  glutinous rice floor covered by sweet miso sauce. They are a typical street food served on a wooden stick and often found in downtown streets, tourist spots or at festivals. 4 dango balls usually stick on one skewer and most street shops will have two or three different flavors.

Yokan   #32 Yokan is a traditional Japanese dessert jelly made of sugar, agar-agar and red bean paste. Mizu-Yokan is lighter and very popular in summer whereas Neri-Yokan has a richer flavor. The are many varieties of Yokan with fruit or green tea flavor. They are sold in blocks and served in slices. Many Japanese tea houses serve Yokan.

Taiyaki    #33 Taiyaki is a Japanese fish shaped pancake. The name refers to its shape and literally means grilled sea bream. Traditionally Taiyaki is filled with red bean paste but modern versions now also include chocolate cream, custard cream, or cream cheese cake. They taste best when they are warm and there are little shops in downtown streets or tourist spots who sell Taiyaki as a street food snack.

Zenzai   #34 Zenzai & o-Shiruko are sweet red bean soup with glutinous rice flour balls. In summer it is usually consumed cold and in winter it is served hot. Zenzai and o-Shiruko are similar but Zenzai is thicker. Since the soup is very sweet it is served with salty pickled vegetables to give a contrasting flavor. Both soups usually are offered with crushed creamy or whole red beans.

Yatsuhashi from Kyoto    #35 Yatsuhashi is one of the famous sweets of Kyoto. They consist of a triangularly shaped wrap of glutinous rice flour and are filled with sweet red bean paste. Cinnamon is the classic flavor of Yatsuhashi, but nowadays they also are popular with other flavors such as green tea, chestnut, white bean paste, etc. Yatsuhashi is popular amongst many foreigners.

Shiokara   #36 Shiokara is one of the famous dishes known to be difficult to enjoy for most foreigners. The classic version is made of squid bowels that are fermented in salt and malted rice for a month. The flavor is very salty and often very fishy. Shiokara is served in small qualities as an appetizer. There are many variations of shiokara made from different marine animals.

Karage   #37 Karage describes food deep fried in oil. The most popular karate is made with chicken meat and usually very juicy, but it also sometimes is made using fish, crab or vegetables. Every restaurant or family has their own way of marinating and seasoning Karaga. Karage often is served with daikon oroshi (grated radish).

Nikuman   #38 Nikuman are a kind of Japanese dumplings mostly filled with meat. Some places are specialized on this only and they offer a wide variety of dumplings filled with pork, beef, pumpkin, sweet bean paste and many more. They are more popular in winter as a kind of hot street food that warms you up.

Kamaboko   #39 Kamaboko is a Japanese fish cake which is eaten throughout the entire year but very popular for new year. It is eaten  alone with soy sauce and a special kind of pickled wasabi. Single slices of Kamaboko are also often found in ramen and soups.

Tamagoyaki   #40 Tamagoyaki is Japanese rolled omelet. Several layers of cooked egg are rolled together using a special rectangular pan. Tamagoyaki can be enjoyed in Sushi restaurants and often also is part of a Japanese style breakfast or lunch box. Some Japanese say that one can distinguish the quality of a cook from the flavor of his Tamagoyaki.