Must-Try Traditional Japanese Dishes

1. Sushi

One of the most popular Japanese dishes in the world is sushi from the entertaining kaiten-sushi (conveyor belt sushi), where customers can enjoy sushi for a fair price of about 100 yen per plate, to the high-end, long-standing, traditional Edomae sushi (Edo-style sushi), where you will sit at a quiet counter to eat. In contrast, sushi is prepared right in front of your eyes.

Typically, “sushi” refers to a dish of pressed vinegared rice with a neta or piece of raw fish or shellfish. Wasabi is generally eaten with sushi along with soy sauce, although individuals who don’t like it much can request “Sabi-nuke” (meaning “without wasabi”).

Chopsticks or your hands can be used to consume sushi. There is one thing, though, with which you should use caution. Turn the sushi over and drizzle the soy sauce on the neta rather than the rice when dipping it in the sauce. This guards against the rice is soaking up too much soy sauce and obliterating the “neta’s” unique flavor.

2. Sashimi

Another dish you must try is sashimi. Sashimi is raw fish cut into bite-sized pieces and is similar to sushi but without rice. Whether you are in Tokyo, Kyoto, or anyplace else in Japan, the high caliber of the fish collected there makes it a great pick.

Sashimi comes in dozens of different kinds, just like sushi. Maguro and other tuna variations, salmon, mackerel, and sea bream are some of the most prevalent and well-liked varieties. Salmon roe, clams, uni, and sea urchin are more options. Order a selection of fish and seafood to discover what you enjoy the most.

Soy sauce is frequently used to flavor sashimi when it is consumed. Wasabi can be sprinkled on top of the sashimi for an added kick, but it’s unnecessary. In place of wasabi, some species, like horse mackerel, will be served with ginger.

3. Grilled eel called unagi

Eels, also known as unagi, are fish typically found in rivers. It is a specialty of high-end Japanese cuisine in Japan. Additionally, there are lots of fast food establishments that provide unagi meals. You can order kabayaki at unagi restaurants, which involves skewering the unagi and grilling it with a sauce made of soy sauce, mirin, sugar, and sake. These places also serve unadon, which is kabayaki served over white rice.

Another traditional meal you must try is hitsumabushi, a delicacy of Nagoya. Its unexpected appearance—cut-up kabayaki on top of white rice—may surprise people. Still, it may be eaten in various ways, including with toppings like green onion and wasabi or as ochazuke by drizzling warm green tea or broth. Due to its protein content and favorable digestive properties, unagi is also adored as a healthy snack to prevent summer heat exhaustion.

4. Tempura

A dish known as tempura consists of seafood, pork, and vegetable pieces battered and fried in hot oil. Typically, flour and eggs are used in the batter. Before eating, tentsuyu, a unique sauce, is dipped into tempura. Tentsuyu is a sauce created from simmered mixtures of mirin, soy sauce, and broth produced from dried bonito or kombu. You might add ginger or grated radish to your preference for a more energizing flavor.

5. Udon and Soba (buckwheat noodles) (Wheat Noodles)

Buckwheat flour, water, and flour are thinly spread and cut into noodles with widths of 1 to 2 cm to make soba, a noodle dish. The noodles are either dipped in cold soup or with hot soup poured over them after being boiled in hot water. The soba broth (tsuyu), commonly made from dried bonito broth or kombu broth and seasoned with soy sauce and mirin, is essential for enjoying excellent soba.
Since soba may be eaten hot or cold, it is a year-round favorite.

The typical meal udon is a staple of Japanese cuisine and is distinguished by its thick noodles. The dough is prepared by thoroughly kneading flour and salt water before being cut into noodles. After being boiled in hot water, udon noodles are dipped into seafood broth soup or served with soup and tempura as toppings. You can have udon hot or cold, similar to soba. Udon can be eaten in a variety of ways.

6. Rice balls are known as onigiri

The rice balls known as onigiri may be familiar to you. Although onigiri, also known as omusubi, appear to be nothing more than simply rice, they frequently contain a savory filling and are covered in a salty film of nori seaweed. Families prepare them as bento lunches, and you often see them being sold in supermarkets and convenience stores. This is a traditional option for a small snack or lunch.

Onigiri frequently comes in the tastes of kelp, salmon, pickled plums (umeboshi), and bonito flakes. There are other different tastes as well; visit a supermarket or convenience store to discover what’s available.

7. Grilled chicken skewers (yakitori)

Chicken is commonly sliced into small pieces for yakitori and grilled on bamboo skewers. It is frequently included on izakaya and casual restaurant menus, making it an excellent choice for a night out with friends in Japan. It tastes perfect when combined with alcohol. Additionally, there is a considerable probability that food stands selling this traditional meal will be present if you attend a Japanese event.

8. yakisoba

In Japan, sukiyaki is typically eaten in the fall and winter and is prepared in a shallow iron pan. In Japan, it gained popularity in the late 19th century. When you’re in the mood for something meaty, you should try this dish, prepared both at home and on the menus of restaurants.

Sukiyaki is prepared with various ingredients, including tofu, tomatoes, green onions, mushrooms, and thin slices of beef. The diner grills the items in the pan after adding a few drops of sukiyaki sauce. To consume sukiyaki the traditional way, you dip the meat or vegetable into a dish of beaten egg after the contents have been cooked thoroughly.