When it comes to Japan, Japanoholics will tell you that besides the culture, the people and the shopping, it is also the food that tickles their fancy.
It may have used to cost a pretty penny to make your way to the Land of the Rising Sun but in recent years, many tourists are flocking there due to the more affordable travel and hotel prices.
So with this in mind, should you make your way there for a run, make sure you treat your taste buds to these 5 local foods.
#1 Sushi and Sashimi
Photo Credits: Mode Sushi
If you are wondering why I’m putting these two food items together in the same category, it is only for the simple reason that one comes with rice and the other, without. Both of these can be considered Japan’s most iconic dishes to date and nobody ever goes there without having at least one piece of sushi, if sashimi isn’t up their alley. While many may say that sashimi, which is raw seafood you consume after dipping it in a soya sauce, is a healthier option because there is no carbs, the carb count with sushi isn’t that scary either since the rice is vinegar-ed.
Imagine a savoury pancake batter. Now imagine that it is filled with loads of seafood, meat and vegetables and then pan fried until the outsides are crispy and golden brown, while the centre retains its fluffiness and moisture. A dish that originated from Osaka, there are several okonomiyaki restaurants all over Japan where you can either get a wait staff to cook it for you or you can opt to do it on your own. In my opinion, it’s always best to do it yourself so that for one, it’s fun and two, you get to cook the pancake to your desired crispness.
Little balls of deliciousness, these octopus balls (tako means octopus in Japanese), are bits of octopus wrapped in a round case of flour and cooked in a special takoyaki pan. Like the okonomiyaki, the outside of the balls is crispy while the insides are hot and fluffy. Also a dish originating from Osaka, this is a great snack to have especially when the weather gets a little chilly.
If you are familiar with satay, this is almost similar. Basically all types of meat and vegetables skewered on a stick and grilled to perfection, the Japanese version is slathered with a sweet sauce to give it that awesome sweet-savoury caramelised flavour. Another low carb option since there isn’t any involved, you can find these at most restaurants or izakayas in Japan. The best way to enjoy yakitori is with some alcohol and a group of friends.
I left the most iconic and best for last. While there are so many ramen stalls and restaurants all over Japan, there are only handfuls that can really cook up a great bowl. A steaming bowl of ramen is a highly welcomed dish for busy Japanese who are always on the go. Springy noodles usually served in a pork bone or chicken broth, accompanied with a generous serving of meat and vegetables, tourists literally flock to Japan just to taste an authentic bowl. And of course it is the dish to go to when it gets a little chilly outside.