Tourists from the west have become familiar with Japanese favourites such as sushi and tempura, but in Tokyo these are only a few of the many types of traditional Japanese dishes visitors will encounter. Many Japanese restaurants specialise in a particular style of cooking or a specific dish. Frequent visitors to Tokyo, like Stefan Masuhr, love this city because of the immense variety available, however, first time visitors may be slightly overwhelmed by the number of unfamiliar choices.
Here are some of the many different types of Japanese cuisine visitors can choose from in Tokyo:
- Sushi – A familiar food, but Japanese sushi can look quite different than what has become popular in Europe and North America. Check out the PDF attachment to find out more about some of the Michelin star restaurants that serve top quality sushi in Tokyo.
- Tempura – Traditionally, Japanese tempura is fine cuisine offered by some of the city’s most expensive restaurants. Cheaper varieties are now available, some from street vendors or Tendon Restaurants. Tendon is a type of tempura served on a bed of rice.
- Ramen – Almost every Japanese region has its own take on this traditional Chinese noodle, so Ramen restaurants offer a lot of variety.
- Soba – Buckwheat noodles; a local Tokyo specialty. They can be served hot or cold and with numerous toppings.
- Shabu-Shabu – Hot-pot restaurants. Diners can create their own dish from a variety of fresh ingredients.
- Okonomiyaki or Monjayaki – These are Japanese style pancakes made from a variety of leftover ingredients grilled in a batter. Monjayaki is a Tokyo specialty.
- Takoyaki – Another type of Japanese pancake shaped like a ball and filled with octopus.
- Kare Raisu – Restaurants that serve Japanese curry.
- Kushiage or Yakitori – These restaurants serve skewers of meat. Kushiage are deep fried with vegetables, whilst Yakitori serve grilled chicken skewers, which are a popular drinking food.
- Izakaya – The Japanese version of a pub where all types of drinking food can be found; fried chicken, edamame and sashimi.
- Yakiniku – A Japanese barbecue where customers can grill their own meat right on the table.
- Teppanyaki – Common in tourist districts, these restaurants serve western style foods and the chef cooks customers’ meals on a large grill in the centre of the dining room.
- Regional Specialities – Many Tokyo restaurants serve regional specialties from other parts of Japan:
- Champon – A Chinese influenced version of ramen from Nagasaki.
- Motsunabe – A hot pot originating in Fukuoka.
- Okinawa Ryouri – Restaurants specialising in cuisine from the southern Okinawan Islands.
- Houtou – Regional specialties from the Yamanashi prefecture, often including miso soup with udon noodles and vegetables.
Like anything unfamiliar, Japanese restaurants can seem overwhelming to start will, but visitors will quickly learn to find their way around and may discover tasty new delicacies in the process.