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Word on the Streets

April 23rd, 2008 by

For a foodie like me, where better to buy and eat food than in the streets? Littered in the streets of Japan are stalls that sell udon, soba, ramen, takoyaki, nikuman, castella, taiyaki, imagawayaki and yakitori, just to name some.

Itadakimasu!

Can you name these Japanese street foods?

For those who are unfamiliar with the food that was mentioned; udon, soba and ramen are all noodles served in soup or broth. Ramen noodles are relatively thin compared to udon and soba noodles. Ramen is usually served in hot pork or chicken broth. Udon noodles are thick noodles also served in broth, although the broth is usually made from shoyu or soy sauce. Soba is served either in hot broth or chilled with a dipping sauce, much like udon. Also, yakisoba has actually more in common with ramen than soba.


Takoyaki are octopus dumplings. A delicious combination of batter, diced octopus and some other ingredients, topped with a slew of okonomiyaki sauce, mayonnaise and fish shavings. Nikuman, on the other hand, which is short for niku manju or meat bun, is a steamed bun filled with ground pork. Other ingredients also exist such as karaiman or curry bun and anman, which is filled with sweet azuki beans. Castella is a kind of sponge cake. Taiyaki is a fish shaped cake filled with azuki bean paste or a varietyof other ingredients which include custard and chocolate. The only differance of taiyaki and imagawayaki in essence, are their shapes since taiyaki is fish shaped and imagawayaki is circular.

Yakitori is skewered pieces of chicken, typically barbecued over charcoal. It is served with a sweet sauce called tare on the side. Yakitori is a popular food in Japan since it can be cooked quickly and is readily available. Other variations of yakitori include chicken parts (such as the liver, heart, intestines and gizzard) and tofu and other types of meat.

If you happen to be visiting Japan, get out of your hotel room but do not immediately run to your nearest McDonald’s or some other familiar restaurant, try some or all of Japan’s offered street food. It’s guaranteed that you’ll find a favorite. Itadakimasu!

6 Responses to “Word on the Streets”

  1. syeri Says:

    I recently tasted a japanese inspired ice cream product called “Mochi”. Its ice cream wrapped in glutenous rice.

  2. chriskarol Says:

    I’m only familiar with Yakisoba, Takoyaki, and Ramen. Mmm…I’d better try the others too!

  3. Miriam Says:

    Yummm! :p I’m from the Philippines and I wonder if these food are available here.

  4. Chompy Says:

    I’ve seen takoyaki balls in a food stand called ‘Takuyaki’ :p I am not sure if it’s comparable though. Didn’t like it much.

    ‘Karaiman’ sounds similar to Ministop’s ‘Kariman’ :D

    I would like to taste the castella. And of course my favorite, ramen and udon!!!

  5. Kitci Wong Says:

    Thanks for sharing! I love Japanese food. Now, I’m craving for Takoyaki…

  6. Delicious Asian Street Foods Says:

    […] Takoyaki – fried octopus dumplings originating from Japan, made with octopus parts, shredded cabbage, and batter. They are cooked in half-spherical grooves around a metal pan until they fluff up, and are served with okonomiyaki sauce, mayonnaise, wasabi, and seaweed. Hungry for more? Read more about Japanese Street foods. […]

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Japanese TempleFrom castles to shopping malls and business districts, Sendai is vibrant and fast paced but this bustling city also boasts the name of “City of Trees” for its tranquil parks, the Hirose-gawa River and the beautiful zelkova trees that border the city’s streets. Bellhop Picks: Read more about other attractions in our Japan guide. See what fellow travellers have to say in the Japan tales section.
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