It is well known that Japanese cuisine is delicious, and that definitely includes many types of amazing street food! While these treats are a must have if you are ever able to visit Japan, with some varying from region to region, lots of them are available here in the United States as well! Whether you find them in the grocery store or order them at a restaurant, there are many ways to enjoy these foods without having to go too far from home. From sweet to savory and everything in between, here’s 5 delicious Japanese street foods!
Takoyaki is a very well known Japanese street food, and for good reason! The tasty snacks are made of batter filled with octopus and other fillings, then fried. A signature part of the experience of getting Takoyaki is watching vendors flip the individual ones as they cook. After they’re done, they’re topped with Takoyaki sauce, mayonnaise, and dried bonito flakes. Although the creation of these delicious bites began in Osaka, today you can buy Takoyaki pans in many countries and even online!
Taiyaki is cooked in a specially molded pan that gives it its signature fish shape. The outside is made of a pancake or waffle batter, resulting in a crispy outside and a wonderfully soft inside. The fillings vary, but red bean paste is the one of the most common. That being said, they can include chocolate, matcha, custard, and even ice cream swirls! If you’re looking for your fix, Somi Somi is a popular chain here in the US that lets you customize your taiyaki with many different ice cream fillings and toppings, from ube to horchata and coffee.
Yaki Tomorokoski is grilled sweet corn that’s then topped with seasonings, which range from soy sauce to sweet sauces to miso paste. One specific seasoning is Shichimi Togarashi, a mix of different spices. These toppings, along with the type of corn itself, can vary somewhat depending on the region of Japan it’s made in. Yaki Tomorokoski is a summer food, and it’s commonly served at festivals.
Moving on to another grilled favorite, Yakitori is chicken grilled over a charcoal fire on special skewers. One common seasoning used on the chicken during and after the cooking process is tare sauce, which provides a salty-sweet taste. Others sometimes eat their Yakitori with just salt. The dish has lots of variations, since there are many delicious cuts that can be cooked in this way, from liver to tail to gizzard. In Japan, you can find these at Yatai, or small carts and stalls.
Last but certainly not least, Yakisoba is a type of noodle dish. Made by frying noodles along with vegetables and Yakisoba sauce, it is typically made with thinly sliced meat and can be served with seasonings such as bonito fish flakes. While often eaten as a main dish, on the street you can find vendors cooking up large batches on griddles which they then divide into containers more suitable for personal portions.
Writer: Nina Moothedath