Quirky, colourful and downright strange - here are my top 10 eats and drinks in Japan!
Full to the brim with all things weird, wonderful and delicious, Japan is a culinary delight with everything from sugary delights to hearty soups and noodle dishes, here are my top 10 food and beverage choices in Japan!
10. Fuji Apple Kit Kat
As odd as it sounds, it's a surprisingly delicious combo. This is the only place in the world you will be able to get your hands on apple flavored kit kat, released exclusivity for the Japanese market - get your hands on it, even if it's just to say you've tried it!
9. Green tea ice cream
It's as delicious and refreshing as the named suggests. Matcha or green tea ice cream originates from Japan and they have truly mastered it's production. If you're chasing a flavour that rings true to everything you'd expect from Japan, it's this. Found widely around the country, be sure to buy it fresh for the best chance of quality flavour.
8. Vending machine coffee
The first step in trying vending machine coffee in Japan is to forget your preconceived notions of what a good coffee should taste like based on the Western world. In Australia we like our coffee strong and brewed to perfection, well this is nothing like that. The major novelty really is getting a warm can from a vending machine, it's pure magic. The coffee itself is delicious and sweet, with variations from black through to latte, again don't expect this to be comparable to the Western world, they do their own thing!
It's truly delicious, and frankly gives you plenty of kick, if anything give it a crack out of novelty.
7. Okonomiyaki - savoury pancakes
Similarly to Takoyaki, this delicious savory pancake is also coated in gooey sweet black sauce and Kewpie mayo. Okonomi meaning 'how you like' and yaki meaning 'grill' this delicious treat literally brings together your favorite ingredients into a delicious pancake. Common ingredients are normally vegetables such as cabbage and bean sprouts, it's a prefect treat to snack on whilst strolling through inner city markets.
Seems obvious, doesn't it? But this is sushi unlike you've ever tried it before! It's fresh, it's delicious, it's authentic and it's not westernised! Japanese sushi tends to vary from the nori wrapped teriyaki chicken commonly found in western countries... think more fresh butterflied prawns on delicious sticky rice, fresh salmon sashimi, blow torched raw kingfish and lightly battered tempura prawns, all served on, you guessed it, a train! Wasabi is a staple in Japanese sushi, so be wary before biting into your chosen dish as you may find it hidden with and can give you a shock if you're not a fan.
A staple in Japanese culture, you'll find a ramen restaurant (almost) on every corner. With literally hundreds of variations, this heart warm noodle soup is a popular dish for locals and tourists alike. Generally made with a fish broth, soya and your choice of chicken, meat or seafood. Ramen is the perfect dish to compliment the winter in Japan, particularly if you're going for winter!
No longer exclusive sold in Japan, if you've ever seen quintessential confectionery from Japan before, it's like to be Pocky! Delicious straw thin pretzel sticks coated in milk, strawberry or dark chocolate often sprinkled with nuts - once you start, you won't be able to stop!
In my humble opinion, the crispest, tastiest super dry beers in the world. If there's anything the Japanese know how to do, other than draw really amazing anime, it's brew beer (sorry my German heritage!). But in all seriously, you can't go wrong all three of the major brands, Asahi, Kirin and Sapporo are delicious, even if you're not a beer drinker, my suggestion would be to start here, ease yourself into the wonderful world of beer through these crisp lagers - truly refreshing!
Otherwise known to those of outside of Japan as steamed and then fried dumplings! Often stuffed with mince deliciously soaked in soya sauce coupled with cabbage and other diced vegetables, gyoza is a staple in Japanese cuisine and an absolutely delicious one at that!
1. Takoyaki - Octopus Balls
Arguably one of the tastiest and most authentic dishes in Japan. Takoyaki is a fusion of pancake and octopus - doesn't sound like it would work, right? WRONG this is so epic you will be salivating for more! A description probably isn't going to help it's case, but essentially it's pancake dough cooked into a little ball with a piece of Octopus tentacle in the middle. The ball is gooey and not cooked the whole way through. It's topped with delicious sticky-sweet black sauce and Kewpie mayonnaise with a garnish of fish flakes.
Don't knock it till you've tried it!