Foods that you may only see in Japan!

Tokyo Food Wasabi 2019.06.19
Any country will have its own unique dishes, and Japan is no exception to this. These six delicacies are only the tip of the iceberg, but if you're looking for some unusual dishes to dig into, these will definitely get you started! Let's take a look at some unique Japanese cuisine!
1. Wasabi Donburi & Wasabi Juice

Soothe those wasabi cravings with all the different forms of wasabi you get!

!!! WARNING !!! the following contains !!! WASABI !!!

To some of us, it can be a lethal weapon, for some others, it is a pleasure.

Having that sensation that initially burns the mouth, then strikes through the nose, then brings tears to the eyes... Whether you like it or not, these dishes will surely wake you up!? Above, you'll see a full meal of wasabi: Daio Wasabi Farm's restaurant, in Nagano Prefecture, offers wasabi-don, or wasabi rice bowls. You can grate and grind your own fresh wasabi (none of that horseradish you get overseas!), to truly taste the real thing, and then wash it down with a refreshing wasabi beverage.
  • Lemon Wasabi Drink
    Lemon Wasabi Drink
    When life gives you wasabis and lemons, make wasabi-ade!
    (Yes, actually.)
  • Freshly grated wasabi is something that we don't always get.
2. Shirasu Pizza

Shirasu Pizza?

This shirasu pizza is another unique dish. Shirasu, whitebait, is full of calcium and is a fish that is widely used in Japanese cuisine.

There are a few places around Japan where you can enjoy these fish fresh, although they're only available raw for part of the year. The closest place to Tokyo, where you can taste the jewel-like little fish, would be Enoshima.
  • Mmm... Imagine that crispy crust with the delicious whitebait on top!
  • And the shirasu-don, or fresh shirasu on a bed of rice, only available for a few months a year. Don't forget this rice bowl dish!
The people of Japan definitely like to develop unique ways to eat their fish!

One Enoshima restaurant decided that shirasu are not only destined for traditional Japanese cuisine, but are ripe for reinvention. If anchovies can be savored on pizza, why wouldn't whitebait be a good topping, too? And so, shirasu pizza.
3. Ippon Udon
Not your ordinary udon, this bowl has it all combined into one single hunk of noodle.
This dish, found in Hanyu City, Saitama, has just one long single strand of udon in a bowl. The udon has been cooked to soak up all the flavors of the broth. Just looking at it, you can see this isn't any ordinary udon. Despite the color of the noodle, though, the flavors are not too strong, and actually quite good.

Ippon udon (一本うどん, literally single-strand udon), as the dish is called, has a history shrouded in mystery and legend in Japan. Some gastronomic historians think it's a genuine dish that existed in Japan's past. One family in Japan offers the dish, saying their recipe dates back to ancestors from long ago. Others in Japan say that there's little evidence for this claim, and it's just the stuff of myth. It's true, looking at this dish... it doesn't seem like an obvious direction to go with udon. It even took the chefs three whole years to perfect this particular recipe.

In the end, they came up with one chewy and flavorful noodle, though!
4. Firefly Squid Hotpot
  • Nice plating.
  • With shabu shabu hot pot, you take each morsel and dip them into the boiling broth.
This is not your everyday shabushabu hot pot!

Normally, shabushabu is mostly a meat dish, and you're more likely to find high-quality beef at a hotpot restaurant than seafood. However, in this case, delicate firefly squid (or hotaru ika, ホタルイカ), which glow in the nighttime sea, are quickly cooked in the mild broth, and eaten whole! If the eyeballs freak you out a little, this might not be the dish for you, but trust us when we say it's quite a delicacy.
5. Negisoba
Opt out of chopsticks.

Try eating this bowl of noodle with a single green onion!

That's right, in Japanese negi means green onion, so this is literally green onion soba. Seems hard to eat just looking at it, however, people who have tried say that it's actually not that hard to eat like this. You can see the negi does an alright job of picking up some noodles! The dish is a specialty of Ouchi-juku, in Fukushima Prefecture.

Don't worry, there are still chopsticks for those who need them.
  • When this is placed in front of you, it's kind of difficult to know where to start.
  • This is how you do it!

    Apparently, you can eat the spring onion as a condiment as you go.
You've got to come to Japan to try this out!
6. Ox Tongue: Gyu-Tan【牛タン:ぎゅうたん】
In Japan, cow or ox tongue is called gyu-tan.

It's a part of a cow that you only can get a limited quantity of.

Have you tried it yet?
  • Gyu-tan delicately licked by the flames on top of the grill.
  • Your gyu-tan getting cooked to perfection.
Definitely worth a try! If you've never tried tongue meat before, it's really a different experience compared to the other parts of the cow, texture-wise, and flavor-wise.
A Different Side of Japanese Cuisine - Hope You Enjoyed!
Planning to travel to Japan? Everybody goes for ramen and sushi during their trip, but why not try these unique dishes while you're here? We think they're pretty delicious, but even if you don't end up agreeing, you'll have a great story to bring home!

Or do you live here? Have you already tried any of the dishes above?

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↓↓↓ Also, let us know your thoughts in the comment below. ↓↓↓
  • Nyc 2019.06.26 reply
  • Nyc 2019.06.26 reply
  • Mmm--wasabi everything!!! 2019.06.22 reply
    Right? I could go for a wasabi juice right now! 2019.06.27 reply
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