Being one of the world’s most important countries, Japan’s influence can be seen everywhere. From entertainment to food, the presence of the land of the rising sun is ever growing. Do you know what does sushi taste like? Have you eaten Takoyaki? If you can’t answer those questions, visit Japan now to enjoy many famous and delicious food in Japan. Yet, despite being a country full of innovation, Japan is also quite attached to its roots and traditions. This is particularly obvious when it comes to Japanese cuisine and, perhaps even more so, Japanese street food. Japanese street food has remained remarkably unchanged with times. Sure, there have been plenty of new additions, inspired in other country’s dishes but, for the most part, Japan remains loyal to their origins.
So, what kinds of traditional Japanese street food are we talking about?
Keep reading to find out!
Street food comes in all shapes and sizes and some dishes can only be found in specific areas or even seasons. Onsentamago, roughly translated to “hot spring egg” is one of those. As the name implies, onsentamago are eggs that are cooked in natural hot springs over a long time. This gives them a texture resembling poached eggs but with a thicker, almost custard like yolk. As you can imagine, onsentamago can’t be found on city streets but they’re an excellent option to try when you’re out sightseeing.
A popular dish during autumn and winter, yakiimo boasts of being one of Japan’s oldest forms of street food, as well as one of the simplest. Yaki Imo are sweet potatoes that are slowly baked on a stone oven. This oven is often carried in the back of small vans and circulated through the city as a song that goes “yaki-imo, ishi-yaki-imo” is played. Their creamy, almost velvet-like texture and their strong flavor makes them one of Japan’s favorite street foods and while they’re not as prevalent as they once where it’s still easy to find them in different cities and, even more prevalent, in towns and away from the streets.
Takoyaki not only has one of the best names out of all Japanese street food but it’s also one of the tastiest. Takoyaki is usually made with octopus (though you’ll be able to find variants from time to time) that’s been mixed with green onions and stuffed inside dough balls. These balls are then fried and served so you can imagine they’ll be quite hot by the time they get to your hands. Takoyaki are usually topped with green onions, a sweet sauce specifically made for this recipe and fish shavings. This symphony of flavor will have you coming from more time and time again, even if you’re not a seafood lover. A small tip for you if you want to make Takoyaki at home, inorder to save money, not use any ovens, you can pan fried your Takoyaki. Lightly coated a flat-bottomed pan with cooking spray.
Ikayaki and Shioyaki
Being an island, Japan’s street food is full of things that came out of the sea. No dishes make this as apparent as ikayaki and shioyaki, which are squid and fish on a stick, respectively. The recipe to these curious looking Japanese street food staples are very similar. In both cases, the fish and the squid are skewered on a stick then grilled over a charcoal grilled, seasoned with soy sauce or salt. Sometimes, salmon is a good idea for Shioyaki recipes. The goal of such a simple recipe is to keep the flavors as natural as possible while also enhancing them with charcoal which is why there’s usually no seasoning options provided for these peculiar, yet delicious, dishes.
Last, but not least, we have yet another fish-shaped street food dish. One that’s actually a dessert. The key is in “fish-shaped” as taiyaki are sweet breads stuffed with red bean paste and cooked in fish-shaped molds, which gives them their adorable appearance. This recipe was created over 100 years ago and rumor has it taiyaki is fish shaped, specifically sea bream shaped, because that was a rather expensive fish back then, so shaping these sweet treats as one was a marketing trick to make people feel like they were eating something luxurious. Regardless of its origins, taiyaki remains one of Japan’s favorite street foods and nowadays they can be made with custard, chocolate, cheese and other delicious fillings.
These 5 items just barely scratch the surface of the enormous universe that is Japanese street food and yet, they’ll give you a very good idea of what this country’s street food is all about.
Brief Author Bio
I’m Emma, and I’m absolutely in love with food blogs. I’d like to share the interesting recipes, food tips and top lists of kitchen gadgets. I’m a foodie at heart but being the mother of 3 kids, it’s not always easy to keep up with fancy dinners… so I rely on the support of other blogging moms like me to help along the way with my CookNovel blog.