Japanese cuisine is a symphony of flavors, textures and traditions that has captivated palates around the world. From the delicate art of sushi to comforting bowls of ramen, Japan offers a dining experience that blends ancient and modern.
If you are planning a trip to the country of the Rising Sun or simply want to visit it through its gastronomy, these are some of its must-see dishes:
Sushi is the crown jewel of Japanese cuisine. This dish is based on short grain rice seasoned with rice vinegar, combined with a variety of fresh ingredients, such as fish, seafood, vegetables and eggs.
Master sushi chefs spend years perfecting their skills to create exquisitely crafted pieces of sushi. You can’t miss trying the sashimi, thin slices of raw fish, and the nigiri sushi, small bites of rice with fish on top.
Udon and Soba
Noodles are a fundamental part of the Japanese diet. Udon and soba are two popular varieties. Udon are thick noodles made from wheat flour, while soba are thinner and made from buckwheat.
Both are served in aromatic broths and can be accompanied by tempura, green onion and other ingredients. A bowl of udon or soba is a comfort food that will transport you to the heart of Japanese culture.
Tonkatsu is a delicious preparation of breaded and fried pork. The pork is dipped in a mixture of egg and panko breadcrumbs before being fried until golden brown and crispy.
It is typically served with a thick sweet and sour sauce called tonkatsu sauce and rice. The contrast between the tender meat and the crispy breading makes tonkatsu irresistible.
Often called “Japanese pizza,” okonomiyaki is a type of savory pancake. It is made by mixing shredded cabbage with a dough made of flour, egg and other ingredients, such as meat, seafood or cheese.
It is then cooked on a hot griddle and served with mayonnaise, okonomiyaki sauce and dried bonito flakes. The diversity of ingredients and flavors makes each okonomiyaki unique.
Onigiri are morsels of pressed rice in the shape of a triangle or ball, often wrapped in nori seaweed. The filling can vary, from umeboshi (pickled plum) to tuna and salmon.
Onigiri are a portable and versatile snack that can be found at any Japanese convenience store. They are ideal for a quick lunch or snack during your adventures.
Miso soup is a comforting and nutritious food that is commonly served as a side to most Japanese meals.
It is made from miso paste dissolved in fish or vegetable broth, with tofu, seaweed and other ingredients added. Miso soup is a standard of Japanese cuisine and an explosion of umami flavors in every spoonful.
Takoyaki are small balls filled with pieces of tender octopus and other ingredients, such as green onion and ginger. They are cooked in a special pan and served with a variety of sauces, including mayonnaise and takoyaki sauce.
These fluffy and tasty balls are a popular street snack in Japan.
Melon Pan and Dorayaki
Melon pan is a sweet bun that gets its name from its shape and appearance that resembles a melon. On the other hand, dorayaki is a pastry filled with anko, a sweet bean paste.
Both are examples of the rich Japanese baking tradition and are ideal for satisfying your sweet tooth.
Ramen is a noodle soup originally from China that has become an iconic dish in Japan. The noodles are served in a broth and accompanied by a variety of ingredients, such as low-cooked egg, grilled pork, green onion, and bamboo shoots.
Each region of Japan has its own unique version of ramen, making it an exciting dish to explore across the country.