Updated: November 07, 2018
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The Top 10 Best Japanese Foods!

Here's the list of the top 10 dishes you need to try when you're travelling in Japan. Sushi being an obvious one, but there are so many other delicious dishes you need to taste while you're here.

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Best Japanese Foods

Here's the list of the top 10 dishes you need to try when you're travelling in Japan. Sushi being an obvious one, but there are so many other delicious dishes you need to taste while you're here. The best part is that each dish, more often than not, has its own regional twist. Which means that once you find a dish you like, you can try it in a different region for a delicious spin on what you tasted originally.

1. Gyoza

Gyozas are originally from China (called Jiaozi in Chinese) and are now hugely popular in Japan as well. They are recognized as a staple in Japanese homes. Gyozas are also called potstickers. They are usually made with garlic chives, Chinese chives and minced pork. They can be fried (yakigyoza 焼き餃子), boiled (suigyoza 水餃子) or deep fried (agegyoza 揚げ餃子), either way, they are delicious!

2. Sushi

Sushi is typically raw fish over vinegared rice, but there are so many variations, such as the type of vinegar used red or white. You can have low-end places which serve "kaitenzushi" (conveyor belt sushi), standing sushi bars, or very high-end exclusive sushi bars. Sushi is definitely a must-try dish in Japan and is probably the first that comes to mind when people think of Japanese cuisine.

3. Ramen

Although it is originally a Chinese dish, the dish was introduced to Japan and become a staple of Japanese cuisine. When Japan reopened its ports in 1859, Chinese restaurants started to set up in the port towns. As Japanese people became accustomed to the dish, they started to accommodate it to the local palate. The difference between Chinese and Japanese ramen is the soup stock. In Japan, it is made from five to forty ingredients!
Ramen itself is a noodle dish typically made with bamboo shoots, eggs, chashuu (pork), seawed and chives.

4. Okonomiyaki

Okonomiyaki is definitely a staple of Japanese cuisine and travellers really love trying it. If you've never had it, Japanese people tend to have a hard time explaining what it is; they call it a "Japanese pizza". But it's more of a mix between a pancake and an omelette, stuffed with all the ingredients you like. Hence the name お好み焼き "Okonomiyaki": cook what you like.

5. Tempura

Tempura (天ぷら/天麩羅) is a traditional Japanese dish made of ingredients such as vegetables and seafood covered in batter and then deep fried.
Tempura is actually brought from Portugal at the end of the 16th, when the Portuguese missionaries and merchants living in Nagasaki, a city in the south part of Japan, tried to make fritters. The method of using batter and frying ingredients got popularized first in Nagasaki, and then Edo (called Tokyo today). Especially in Edo, it became very common because of the abundant seafood in Tokyo Bay. Today's mainstream of tempura is based on the Tokyo style (Edo style), which was invented at the street food shop near a fish market. Edo is also the place that invented the dipping sauce for tempura.

6. Soba

Soba is made with buckwheat flour and is a very healthy alternative to wheat flour. Soba restaurants offer different types of soba noodles, from 50% to 100% buckwheat flour.
Buckwheat flour is healthy because it is a good source of nutrients, such as thiamin, iron, fibre, protein, and manganese. It can be served hot or cold with "dashi" (fish stock).

7. Yakitori

Yakitori 焼き鳥 (grilled skewered chicken) is a must-try in terms of Japanese cuisine. Usually served in small restaurants, you order many different types of skewers that you can share with your friends. In a convivial setting, sharing a few laughs with your neighbours, and having a few beers, yakitori is usually a fun experience.

8. Unagi

Unagi is the Japanese word for soft water eel. It is a type of delicacy that has been really popular for centuries, and the cuisine has stayed very authentic. For a quintessential Japanese dining experience, you have got to try unagi. It is particularly popular in the summer because it is said to help with "natsubate" (being tired due to summer heat).

9. Yakiniku

Yakiniku 焼肉 simply means grilled meat, but usually refers to beef grilled over a small BBQ placed at the centre of the table. It is a very fun group activity. You order many plates of meat, which arrives raw at your table and that you grill by yourself. Yakiniku is perfect with a nice cold beer, but some modern restaurants also pair it with red wine.

10. Shabu-Shabu

Shabu shabu しゃぶしゃぶ is a popular kind of Japanese hot pot dish. The unique name came from the way you eat the ingredients are submerged into the kelp based dashi soup. Its a kind of Japanese onomatopoeia.
The main Ingredient is thinly sliced meat, usually beef or pork, sometimes chicken as well. You can also have it with different types of vegetables and they come with several dipping sauces.
Lili Wanderlust
I love travelling and discovering new cuisines. Japan has a panoply of local dishes to try. I also love yoga, coffee, reading, and cycling.

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