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.
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!