“Konnichiwa, five servings of Yakisoba for me, onegaishimasu“. If you’ve ever taken a whiff of Japan‘s street food, you’d know that any sense of rationality is thrown out the moment we land in Japan. And don’t worry about catching food poisoning while ingesting Japan’s street food; the probability of camping in your hotel‘s toilet is close to zero. How to decide what to eat? Well, here’s our roundup of must-eat street food in Japan – Itadakimasu!
No, what you’re having in Singapore (or pretty much anywhere else in the world) is nowhere close to the takoyaki in Japan. Watch the vendors flip and turn the tiny balls of flour and egg-based batter in a round grill pan with octopus bits in the centre. Served with special takoyaki sauce and garnished with bonito flakes, sink your teeth through the slightly crispy outer layer into the chewy insides.
Who wouldn’t love an adorable fish-shaped pancake? One of the most famous street snacks in Japan, the love for Taiyaki is never-ending. Opt for the traditional azuki sweet red bean paste filling to understand why the Japanese just can’t say no. Azuki beans not to your liking? The chocolate or cheese filling is just as marvelous. Oishii desu ne!
Okonomiyaki is a savoury pancake dish, traditionally prepared using up leftovers from the fridge. Simply select the ingredients you want (okonomi means “what you want”, and yaki means “grilled”) and let the vendors know! The usual suspects are cabbage, meat, or octopus, green onions, added into the batter before it’s pan-fried on both sides and topped with sauces like Japanese mayonnaise before finishing off with bonito flakes and other garnish.
A traditional Japanese street dish, yakisoba is a type of fried buckwheat soba noodles that’s stir-fried with slices of meat (usually pork) and topped with sweet sauce. The red thing you see above the noodles? Those are pickles that act as a palette cleanser… and keeps you wanting more. We’d say that works.
If this looks like a plain-looking corn on the cob to you, don’t be fooled. Grilled to a beautiful shade of can’t-keep-your-tongue-off-this and generously brushed with miso, butter and soy sauce, this otherwise ordinary-looking tomorokoshi is the crème de la crème of all corns you’ve come across.
Similar to marshmallow, dango is a sweet and sticky dumpling that’s simply perfect with a cup of Japanese green tea. The dango is fired up on a grill that’s slathered on with soy sauce, sugar, and mirin in perfect balance for the perfect flavour. You’ll be able to find dango everywhere at anytime of the year with a few variations depending on the season – such as the amazing sakura-flavoured dango during springtime!
Another skewered item but totally different. Yakitori consists of bite-sized meats and vegetables seasoned with tare sauce and salt before it’s charcoal-grilled. Other than the typical meat cuts and ingredients, you can expect unusual animal parts like gyutan (beef tongue), reba (chicken liver) and shiro (chicken intestine) as well.
Top Image: Nelo Hotsuma