As a foodie on a mission, you really can’t go wrong when it comes to Tokyo street food. A great deal about these bites is that they always use fresh ingredients made into a delicious meal right in front of your eyes, for a very affordable price. If you’re planning to visit Tokyo in the near future or are simply interested in the best food choices you could order in available Asian comfort food restaurants near you, consider the following munches.
We can’t talk about Japanese street food without mentioning okonomiyaki first. After all, this particular dish has already become extremely popular in Western culture. Essentially, okonomiyaki is a pancake of sorts filled with food leftovers. Or at least this is how this dish came to be in families who didn’t want to throw away food for no reason. These days, buying okonomiyaki has nothing to do with leftovers. Actually, you’ll get to taste the richness of flavors from carefully layered pancake batter, lettuce, egg, seafood, bacon, and bamboo shoots. The dish is typically served with tonkatsu sauce, ginger, and nori.
It’s safe to say that possibly the most popular Japanese street food dessert is none other than crepe! Even if you don’t typically have a sweet tooth, this particular dessert is bound to change that. A thin layer of batter is richly filled with various toppings, from strawberries, mangoes, kiwis, and other fruit to matcha cake, ice cream, chocolate, and so on. The combinations are endless and you can customize your order to your own taste.
Essentially, ikayaki is a grilled squid that’s served on a stick. This is ideal street food if you’re a keen appreciator of seafood. But even if you’re not too sure about squids, ikayaki will definitely change your mind. The grilling technique makes the inside tasty and juicy while the outside is deliciously crispy. This dish is usually served with a sweet sauce inside to make the blend of flavors even more pleasant on the palate.
Tamagoyaki is one of the simplest dishes that everyone around the world can replicate with ease. It’s also very popular among Japanese street foods as a quick go-to bite. Basically, tamagoyaki is a plain omelet that’s rolled in order to be served on a stick. It’s typically garnished with some roe on top of it. Even if you can’t get your hands on tamagoyaki in Tokyo, you can definitely make one yourself in your own kitchen.
- Yaki Imo
Yaki Imo is a baked sweet potato. Now, you may think that there’s nothing too special about this particular dish, but in Tokyo, one can get this sweet bite off of a food truck that greatly resembles ice cream trucks in the West. What gives this particular baked sweet potato its rich flavor and extra deliciousness is the fact that it’s baked on a wood fire. Not to mention that it’s a much healthier option compared to ice cream.
Imagine being able to get a tasty skewer from a food stall in the street. Well, if you find yourself in Tokyo, you’ll be able to do exactly that. One of the street food delights in Japan is yakitori, which is essentially a skewer with stacked chicken meat or seafood as well as all kinds of veggies.
Now, if you really – really – like salty foods, you should definitely try shioyaki. But even if you tend to prefer savory goods, we still advise you to stock up on water as this particular street food is so salty that it might be too much even for someone who tends to salt their salt. Shioyaki is a baked mackerel and even with the abundance of salt, it can be a very delicious and whole new experience for a foreign palate.
Fried soba noodles are some of the most loved street foods in Tokyo, and they’re traditionally eaten outside, preferably in a park. Even though the Japanese are very strict with their food etiquette, eating street foods outside in green areas is actually rather common. Just make sure that you know your way around using chopsticks when you get to enjoy your yakisoba street plate outdoors; otherwise, they might end up all over your clothes.
Food presentation and appearance is very important in Japanese cuisine, and the same principle applies to street foods as well. One amazingly delicious example of attractive street food is definitely taiyaki, which is a cake shaped like a cute fish. It can be both sweet and savory, depending on the filling. Typical fillings include cheese, custard, and chocolate.
Another, very easy to get addicted to, Tokyo street dish is takoyaki. Takoyaki provides a very interesting blend of flavors as it’s a ball made of batter and grilled octopus. Most people in the West know takoyaki as an octopus dumpling. Aside from being very delicious and satisfying, the process of making this dish is very interesting to watch as it requires a special technique and equipment.
Kyuri is basically a cucumber on a stick. You might laugh at first at this particular street food concept but kyuri is actually a rather popular bite during the warm summer months as it’s served cool with miso paste for added flavor. It’s definitely worth trying as the miso paste pairs amazingly well with the freshness of cool cucumber.
Gyoza is a Japanese delicacy, with plenty of specialized gyoza restaurants and street food vendors selling all sorts of this lovely dish. If you can’t decide, definitely pick prawn gyoza for your first try.
Mochi is another Japanese sweet that comes in many flavors. They’re typically handmade, which makes the dish even more special and tasty. The most popular mochi dish features red bean paste, but you can also try some more interesting flavors such as sakura and matcha tea. These are incredibly delicious so be wary not to fill yourself up on mochi delights too much as they contain a lot of sugar.
- Red Bean Paste Cakes
Similar to the mentioned taiyaki cakes, red bean paste cakes can be found in a variety of interesting shapes, such as cute animals, cartoons, and so on. Not only are these very cute, but they’re also very yummy, appetizing, and filling, despite their small size.
- Cotton Candy (Watame)
Cotton candy in Tokyo has a truly special taste and is another sweet that will soon become one of your favorites. You can actually buy cotton candy almost anywhere in Tokyo as it typically comes pre-bagged. And if you’re looking for some fluffy goodness from the street vendors, you can expect a whole experience in observing the making of elaborate cotton candy designs.
Japanese street foods are as unique, complex, and traditionally appreciated as every other aspect of their culture. In case you suddenly have a craving for some Japanese dishes and Asian comfort food in general, don’t hesitate to pay us a visit at Ichimora restaurant. You might not be able to go to Tokyo, but you can get to taste Tokyo street foods and other delicacies of Japanese and Asian cuisine at Ichimora, where every single meal is made with love, care, and traditional techniques of the East. And if you feel more comfortable enjoying the delicacies from our menu at your home, we offer takeaway as well!