It is said that Japan has more Michelin star restaurants than anywhere in the world. That's why a trip to this culinary-rich country is never complete without a visit to any of the most renowned restaurants. But you may be surprised to know that some of the most delicious and innovative foods are found in more humble surroundings: street vendors.
These are some of the must-try options among the abundance of stalls you'll encounter in the unforgettable streets of Japan!
While Yakisoba is commonly served in Japan-inspired restaurants we're all familiar with, in its country of origin, it is often found in the streets. Relatively easy to make, this is a standard food item of the Japanese, highlighting deeply savory flavors that are widely appealing. Wheat noodles, pork, cabbage, and onions are fried on a griddle, then topped with benishoga, katsuobushi, aonori, a squeeze of Worcestershire sauce, Japanese mayonnaise, and occasionally, a fried egg.
Ever heard of the Japanese pizza? Apparently, many refer to Okonomiyaki as such because it is prepared the same way as pizza. It has a firm base--usually made of flour, eggs and cabbage, then baked on a grill--which is stacked with all types of vegetables and meats on top. Traditionally they might include a combination of prawns, octopus, squid, chicken, pork, noodles or cheese.
Dango are sort of like mochi--they are made with rice flour and shaped in balls. Only, they are impaled on a skewer. Usually, these treats are coated with a syrup made from soy sauce, sugar, and mirin and then grilled before eaten. Some vendors add variety like having matcha (powdered green tea) mixed with the flour, others use potato flour instead of rice. Some even coat or fill the glutinous balls with red bean paste.
Yakitori is grilled chicken on a skewer and also refers to skewered food in general which can be eaten simply with salt or with a kind of soy sauce. It's commonly made with bite-sized pieces of meat and vegetables grilled over binchōtan charcoal. Normally, when eaten in izakaya restaurants (Japanese tapas), they're great with a few beers. But on the streets, you can order one or two then move on to other stands serving other tasty food!
Childhood memories in Japan are likely to include moments of indulging in Taiyaki, which are fish-shaped cookies or pancakes. Traditionally, these are filled with red bean paste, but in recent times, vendors have begun to experiment with other fillings like custard, chocolate, berries or matcha, appealing to the evolving taste of the younger crowd.
Crunchy on the outside and creamy on the inside, Agemanju is another sweet street food you shouldn't miss. While Manju has always been a popular Japanese confection, Agemanju is a deep-fried version that's getting all rave reviews in recent years. There are many varieties of agemanju, but most have the outer layer made from flour, rice powder and buckwheat and a filling of anko (red bean paste) that is made from boiled azuki beans and sugar.
Arguably one of the most celebrated street foods in Japan, Takoyaki is a treat you won't help but fall in love with. Filled with diced octopus (tako), tempura pieces (tenkasu), pickled red ginger (beni shoga) and green onion, Takoyaki balls are cooked in special molded pans and are usually served in packs of 6-10. These are served with mayonnaise, Worcestershire-style sauce, plus a sprinkle of green laver and dried bonito flakes on top.
Recreate your own Japanese street foods at home!
It's always great to try the original, but if heading to Japan isn't one of the priorities at the moment, don't fret. You can still have these scrumptious street foods right at the comforts of your home! We suggest you try these amazing recipes from our friends at Just One Cookbook or you can also check out this link. Some recipes may seem tricky to do by yourself, but with handy tools like this amazing Takoyaki Maker from StarBlue, you'll find yourself cooking like a pro in no time!
Comments will be approved before showing up.