100 Japanese foods to try

Ever since I completed The Omnivore’s Hundred, I’ve been thinking about this: What 100 Japanese foods would I recommend people try at least once? I’ve been mulling over the list for days now, and I’m more or less satisfied with what I’ve come up with below.

I tried to keep away from foods that are only available in certain regions, or even certain restaurants or homes (e.g. my aunt’s homemade udon) and stuck to foods that are widely available in Japan. I’ve also tried to include foods from all categories and all price ranges, from wildly expensive matsutake mushrooms to el-cheapo snacks. I also did not limit the list to ‘genuine Japanese’ foods (純和風), but include Western-style yohshoku dishes and a sprinkling of chuuka (imported Chinese) foods that are so ingrained in Japanese food culture that most people barely think of them as Chinese any more. And of course, I have eaten all of the foods listed at least once - in most cases many, many times. I like them all!

The list is not numbered in order of preference. It’s just how I happened to list them.

[Update:]

I’ve now added descriptions and links to recipes if they are on the site, as well as the food names in Japanese - now with all 100 descriptions completed! I’ve made it so the descriptions are hidden initially, so you can have fun guessing what they are or trying to remember. Just click on the ? mark after each item! And I will keep adding descriptions gradually.

And no, nigiri-zushi and the most common types of sushi are not on the list, because I am assuming that if you are reading this, you’ve already had sushi. (Though… are you sure you’ve had great sushi at a top notch sushi-ya? See Judging a good sushi restaurant.)

I did not intention this to be a meme, but rather as a list of quintessentially Japanese foods that you might want to try. If you would like to post the list to your blog and play along though, please do so! Actually it would be even more fun if you make your own 10, 50, or whatever list of favorite foods if you dare. (It takes a whole lot more time and thought that you might think.)

A List of 100 Japanese Foods To Try At Least Once

  1. Properly washed and cooked, top quality new harvest white rice (shinmai 新米) ?
    I cannot emphasize enough the importance of rice in Japanese cuisine. The ultimate rice for most Japanese people comes from famed rice growing areas such as Niigata prefecture or Akita prefecture; famous varieties include _koshihikari_ and _sasanishiki_. And the best tasting rice is held to be new harvest rice or _shinmai_ 新米. The older rice gets, the less desirable it is. This differs from some other rice cultures where aged rice (e.g. basmati rice) is held in high regard. See also How to cook Japanese rice.
  2. Freshly made tofu, as hiyayakko or yudofu ?
    Tofu used to be sold by mobile street vendors, who would go around neighborhoods in the evening (just before dinnertime) tooting a loud horn. Housewives would rush to the vendor cart, bowls in hand, to buy fresh tofu. Nowadays mobile _tofu-ya_ have virtually disappeared in Japan, but small independent tofu stores do still exist. Most people just buy tofu from a supermarket or _combini_ though. See how to make your own tofu; how to make hiyayakko and agedashi dofu (another great way to enjoy tofu). Yudofu (湯豆腐)is a piping hot version of hiyayakko.
  3. Properly made misoshiru and osumashi ?
    Misoshiru 味噌汁 is miso soup, an osumashi おすまし is clear soup, both fundamental parts of a traditional Japanese meal. Some people have a bowl of miso soup or clear soup at every meal. The difference between a miso soup made with proper dashi stock and good miso and an ersatz ‘instant’ one is like night and day. See Miso and miso soup basics and A week of miso soup.
  4. Properly made homemade nukazuke ?
    Nukazuke 糠漬け are vegetables pickled in a fermente rice-bran (nuka 糠)bed or nukadoko (糠床). The vegetables are only left in the pickling bed for a few days. The care and feeding of a good nukadoko is a complex, much discussed matter, similar to the cult surrounding sourdough. The housewife or restaurant that has a top notch nukadoko is much respected. Unfortunately, nuka pickling at home seems to be a slowing dying art.
  5. Very fresh sanma (saury), sizzling hot from the grill, eaten with a drizzle of soy sauce and a mound of grated daikon radish ?
    Simply grilled fresh fish is a keystone of Japanese meals. Smaller fish such as sanma or the higher-class aji (horse mackerel) are grilled whole with their skins on, heads intact and innards left in, including sperm sacs or eggs. All parts of the fish are considered edible, and the innards are considered to be delicacies. Blue/oily fish or hikarimono (ひかりもの) are at their best in the colder months when they have more fat. Sanma used to be considered to be poor peoples’ food since it was so cheap.
  6. Homemade umeboshi ?
    Umeboshi (梅干し)- salted, dried then pickled ume (梅), a fruit that is a relative of the plum and the apricot. Very salty-sour, and acquired taste. Used in small quantities, it’s a great flavor enhancer and appetite stimulant. Homemade is usually the best, and despite the effort it requires a lot of people still make their own umeboshi every year (including my mother). An acquired taste. See New rice and pickled plum and Oba-chan’s pickled plums.
  7. Freshly made, piping hot crispy tempura. I prefer vegetable tempura like shiso leaves, eggplant and sweet potato. ?
    Tempura 天ぷら is considered to be a quintessential Japanese foo these days, but it’s actually an early imported food, introduced by Portuguese and/or Spanish missionaries in the 16th century. (See Wikipedia.) Good tempura must have crispy, light-as-air, greaseless batter coating. The usual dipping sauce is a mixture of dashi stock, soy sauce and grated daikon radish called tentsuyu (天つゆ), not, as you might think from the way tempura-like fried foods are served in pan-Asian restaurants, sweet and sour sauce! (yeah yeah, I still haven’t posted a tempura recipe here! Someday I’ll fix that…)
  8. A whole grilled wild Japanese matsutake ?
    Matsutake (松茸)is a very fragrant, highly saught after, and __expensive as all heck__ mushroom. In Japan it grows near matsu (松)trees, which are supposed to greatly enhance their aroma. Matsutake are as highly regarded in Japan as truffles are in Europe. Japanese matsutake prices can reach four figures (in U.S. dollars) per kilo; imported matsutake are held in much lower regard, and are often sprinkled with ‘matsutake essence’ while cooking. The best way to eat a matsutake is to simply grill it over a hot charcoal fire, and sprinkle with a tiny amount of soy sauce and so on.
  9. Freshly made sobagaki with sobayu ?
    Soba (蕎麦)or buckwheat is best known in the noodle format. But the best way to enjoy soba in my opinion is as sobagaki (そばがき), a chewy-soft dumpling of sorts made out of fresh buckwheat flour, boiled in water. The cooking water is called sobayu (そば湯)and is sipped along with the sobagaki. This is a warm dish by the way.
  10. Mentaiko from Fukuoka, or tarako ?
    Mentaiko (明太子)and tarako (たらこ)are both marinated/salted pollack roe, even though the name tarako means “child of cod”. Mentaiko is a spicy version, which originated in Korea and crossed the sea to the southern island of Kyuushuu. Fukuoka, the largest city in Kyuushuu, is famous for its mentaiko. Both tarako and mentaiko can be eaten as-is with plain rice, or used as a paste or sauce - see tarako and ponzu pasta. Tarako is often used griled until firm as an onigiri filling. (Mentaiko onigiri is not that common, probably because it’s pretty expensive!) Tarako or mentaiko mixed with a bit of butter and spread on hot toast is delicous. An acquired taste.
  11. Onigiri with the three classic fillings: umeboshi, okaka, shiozake ?
    Okaka (おかか)is bonito flakes mixed with soy sauce; shiozake (塩鮭)is salted salmon. See Onigiri FAQ.
  12. Assorted fresh-as-possible sashimi ?
    Sure sushi is great, but the ultimate indulgence at a sushi-ya for me is a selection of fresh sashimi; it’s beautiful to behold and a treat for the tastebuds. Be adventurous and try everything form raw (live) shellfish to raw squid to slices cut from a still live fish! (This is called ikezukuri (活け造り or 生け作り)Yes I know, it’s cruel, but it’s very Japanese.)
  13. Saba oshizushi ?
    鯖押し寿司 is sushi you won’t often encounter in sushi restaurants, though some Japanese restaurants do have it on their menus. It is a speciality of Okayama prefecture, but is popular all over Japan. Very fresh mackerel or saba (鯖)is fileted, salted and marinated, then pressed firmly onto a block of sushi rice; the whole is then left to rest for a few more hours. It’s a style of sushi that is much older than the nigiri-zushi you are probably familiar with.
  14. Mugicha ?
    麦茶. See Mugicha article.
  15. Kakifurai ?
    牡蠣フライ - breaded and deep fried whole oysters, a yohshoku dish. You may not think this is that Japanese…but that crispy, slightly bitter, creamy-seafoo flavor, eaten with Bulldog sauce, is very Japanese to me, an is something I really miss! (Oysters in Switzerland are Way Way Too Expensive.)
  16. Morinaga High-Chew candy, grape flavor ?
    I know I’m biased, but I think Japanese confectionery companies make the best tasting candies. I didn’t say chocolates or candy bars - I mean candies, or sweeties if you are of British inclination. Morinaga’s High Chew line of soft chewable candies are among the best and most popular, and of these the grape flavor is my favorite.
  17. Karasumi ?
    からすみ is salted and dried mullet roe. It has a very dense, sticky yet waxy texture (sort of like a salty-fishy an not sweet fudge), and is very salty. It’s one of the 3 great delicacies, or chinmi (珍味)of Japan; the others are salted sea urchin (shiuni) and sea cucumber innards (konowata), both of which are sort of stomach-turning for me, but karasumi is an oddly addictive substance. You traditionally eat tiny slices of it to accompany your sake. Very much and acquire taste.
  18. A pot of oden, preferably with homemade components especially ganmodoki, boiled eggs and daikon radish ?
    おでん - see oden article and recipe.
  19. Ika no shiokara ?
    いかの塩辛 is cuttlefish squid that is salted and fermented in its own innards. It has a slimy sort of texture, and a very intense sea-flavor. Great on hot rice. An acquired taste. Easily obtainable in jars at larger Japanese grocery stores; if you can get very fresh squid with the innards you can make your own at home. This recipe on Chowhound should work well, but use a non-reactive, glass or ceramic container; this is powerful stuff that will at the very least stain and odorize a plastic container forever, and may even eat through thin plastic (I’ve had this happen…)
  20. Calpis ?
    カルピス is a sweet fermented milk beverage. It’s most commmonly sold as a concentrate, which is mixed with cold water or plain at a 1:5 or so ratio. It’s also used straight as a syrup over shaved ice (kakigouri かき氷), and as a mixer in some cocktails. Because of its fermented flavor, cloying mouthfeel and (for English speakers) rather unfortunate name which sounds like ‘cow piss’, it hasn’t seen a whole lot of success in the West, though as “Calpico” in already diluted or soda form it is sold in some parts of Asia. An acquired taste. Japanese people love fermented-milk flavor (see Yakult below). (Switzerland also sells a fermented-milk beverage called Rivella, which tastes a bit like Calpis/Calpico soda.)
  21. Ankou nabe ?
    あんこう鍋 - monkfish hotpot or stew. Tabletop cooking is very popular in Japan. A small portable gas burner is placed in the middle of the dining table, a variety of cut up vegetables and some kind of protein are made ready, and they’re cooked in a pot (in which they are called nabemono 鍋物 or simply nabe 鍋)of simmering water/broth, on a grill or shallow pan. Everyone at table picks out the pieces they want. Ankou is monkfish, a rather slippery, chewy fish with tons of flavor; together with lots of vegetables it makes a delicious nabe on cold winter days.
  22. Unadon ?
    うな丼 is unagidonburi (うなぎどんぶり)shortened; it’s eel filets with a sweet-salty sauce on a bed of rice. A very rich, high calorie dish that’s popular in the summer months, since all those calories in eel are supposed to keep your strength up!
  23. Komochi kombu or kazunoko ?
    Kazunoko (数の子) is brined herring roe, and komochikonbu (子持ち昆布)is the same herring roe pressed onto konbu seaweed. Both have a distinctive crunchy texture and the salty flavor of the sea. An acquired taste.
  24. Yamakake, grated yamaimo with maguro (red tuna) cubes (or just tororo with a raw egg) ?
    Japanese people love food with a slippery, slimy texture, and the slimiest of them all is grated yamaimo (山芋) or nagaimo (長芋), a type of yam. This is called tororo (とろろ, not totoro!). My favorite form of tororo is when it’s combined with cubes of fresh tuna, which is called yamakake (山かけ), but the ultimate slimy experience is tsukimi tororo (月見とろろ), a bowl of grated yamaimo with a raw egg which is supposed to look like a full moon.
  25. Properly made gyokuro shincha ?
    玉露の新茶、new-crop Gyokuro green tea. How to brew a perfect cup of green tea.
  26. Milky Candy ?
    ミルキーキャンディー is a classic candy, with a character called Peko-chan who has graced the packaging since 1950. It is made by Fujiya (不二家). It tastes like condensed milk in candy form, and is another example of how Japanese people like that sweet, rather curdled milk taste.
  27. Wanko soba ?
    ワンコ蕎麦 or わんこそば. I’m breaking my ‘no regional food’ rule a bit, though you can get wanko soba outside of the region where it’s a speciality (the Iwate prefecture in the north). Wanko soba is served in small bowls filled with a very strong tsuyu or soba sauce (cold) with various condiments (see Cold soba with dipping sauce). The customer holds the bowl out, into which the servers throw in a few strands of soba noodles. The customer slurps these up rapidly, and more strands are thrown in. This is repeated until the eater is full. An average male eater can consume about 60 servings. It’s a gimmick, and encourages rapid eating. Wanko soba eating contests are the precursor of extreme eating competitions which are so popular in Japan.
  28. Omuraisu with demi-glace sauce ?
    オムライス is another example of yohshoku. The best place to have an omuraisu is at a small restaurant that specializes in yohshoku and makes their own demi-glace sauce. Failing that, a quick homemade version with ketchup is almost as nice. It’s a big favorite with kids in Japan.
  29. Handmade katayaki senbei ?
    煎餅 - せんべい - means rice cracker, but the little snack-sized rice crackers that are now as common as potato chips around the world are at the bottom of the rice cracker quality scale. At the top are hand-crafted 堅焼き煎餅 (katayaki senbei); round rice crackers the size of your palm or bigger, made of pounded rice that is formed by hand, dried under the sun, and toasted over a charcoal fire until the rice patty pops and forms crunchy air pockets. It is then painted with dark soy sauce. The sweet version is then sprinkled with big grains of salt caled ざらめ (zarame).
  30. Yohkan (yokan) from Toraya ?
    羊羹 - ようかん - is a dense, fudge like cake of sweet azuki beans; sometimes it contains chestnuts or other ingredients. To be eaten in slowly, in tiny mouthfuls, with green tea. The best yohkan is widely held to be from the old wagashi maker Toraya (とらや); a gift in a Toraya bag has much cachet throughout Japan.
  31. Ishi yakiimo ?
    石焼き芋 (いしやきいも) are sweet potatoes cooked in hot stones, available from street vendors; a fixture on cool fall evenings. See Hoku-hoku is fall.
  32. Natto ?
    納豆(なっとう)- fermented, sticky/slimy soy beans. The quintessential ‘eww’ Japanese food item. Definitely an acquired taste. See Natto article and The Great Natto Diet Rush.
  33. Fresh seaweed sunomono (can also have some tako in it) ?
    酢の物(すのもの)- a salad of sorts, usually with seaweed and/or seafood, with a slightly sweet, oil-less vinegar dressing. Very low in calories and very refreshing. The best is made with fresh seaweed, tasting of the sea; some chunks of fresh tako (タコ) or octopus are a nice addition. See wakame no sunomono recipe using dried wakame seaweed, which is all we can get here in landlocked Switzerland…(cries)
  34. Ikura or sujiko ?
    Sujiko - すじこ is salmon eggs still encased in the egg sac, while ikura - いくら is the eggs removed from the sac membrane. Both are cured in salt or soy sauce and eaten raw. The best way to enjoy either is to just mound it on top of a bowl of rice, perhaps with a little grated fresh wasabi. A speciality of Hokkaido.
  35. Tonkatsu ?
    トンカツ or 豚カツ is a breaded and deep-fried pork cutlet, a typical yohshoku dish. See Tonkatsu recipe.
  36. Goma dofu ?
    胡麻豆腐 is an example of shoujin ryouri (精進料理), the refined vegan cuisine developed by Zen Buddist monks. See goma dofu recipe.
  37. Chawan mushi or tamago dofu - the same dish either piping hot or ice cold ?
    Chawanmushi - 茶碗蒸し is the hot version of tamago dofu - 卵豆腐; both are delicate, smooth, savory egg custards. See Tamago dofu recipe.
  38. Freshly made mochi, with kinako and sugar, grated daikon and soy sauce or natto ?
    Mochi - 餅 or pounded sweet rice, is available in many forms. As a symbol of bounty a tier of two or three rounds of mochi are placed in front of the Shinto altar in the home for the New Year (called kagami mochi). The best mochi is freshly pounded, eaten with brown sugar and kinako (toasted soy bean powder), or with grated daikon radish and soy sauce, or even with natto and green onions. That’s the way they were served at my grandparents’ house when I was very little.
  39. Gindara no kasuzuke ?
    銀ダラの粕漬け is gindara, or silver cod, marinated in sakekasu (酒粕), sake lees mixed with other ingredients such as salt or soy sauce, mirin, and so on. The fish is marinated for a day or more, then grilled. The sweet-salty taste of the marinade permeates the firm fish and the result is heavenly.
  40. Hoshigaki ?
    干し柿 are dried persimmons (kaki). Bitter persimmons (渋柿 shibugaki) are hung outside to dry slowly; the bitter liquid drips out as the fruit dries, leaving a densely sweet delicacy. The bitter liquid is saved and used to lacquer wooden bowls and boxes.
  41. Inarizushi ?
    Sushi rice stuffed into fried bean curd (油揚げ aburaage) pockets. Typically a homemade sushi, rather than one served in a sushi restaurant. See Inarizushi recipe.
  42. Chikuzen-ni ?
    筑前煮 ちくぜんに is a homely dish in which cut up chicken, lotus root, carrots, taro root, burdock root, shiitake mushrooms etc. are stewed together in a dashi broth. It is made in large quantities for the New Year’s period, when it’s heated up daily and eaten during the holidays (giving the cook of the household a break from daily cooking). It can be eaten at any time of the year though, especially the cold months. Filling and healthy!
  43. Surume ?
    するめ is salted and dried squid’ it’s chewy, rather like squid jerky. It is usually eaten shredded into fine strips; you can get it like that, or the whole squid (better quality surume is usually sold whole, to be grilled briefly at home). A standard snack to accompany sake (おつまみ otsumami - see Yakitori below). My stepfather loves freshly grilled surume with a little mayonnaise and chili pepper (ichimi or nanami tougarashi).
  44. Yakinasu with grated ginger?
    焼き茄子 やきなす - grilled eggplant, with しょうが shouga (ginger) and a bit of soy sauce, is a summertime favorite. The slim eggplants are grilled whole, without any oil, until they soften and the skin bursts; the charred skin is then peeled off, leaving the flower bract. The peeled eggplant is eaten ice cold.
  45. Tamago kake gohan ?
    卵かけご飯 たまごかけごはん is just hot, freshly cooked white rice with a raw egg plus a little soy sauce. To make this, mound a rice bowl with rice, and make a hole in the middle. Drop in a fresh egg an add soy sauce; mix. A breakfast favorite.
  46. Kabuki-age ?
    歌舞伎揚げ is a round, deep fried rice cracker that has a distinctive crackly surface. It originated as a snack served at 歌舞伎 かぶき kabuki theaters, allegedly. Nowdays it’s a cheap and rather fattening snack.
  47. Nikujaga ?
    肉じゃが - Japanese meat and potatoes, quintessential お袋の味 おふくろのあじ ofukukuronoaji (“mother’s cooking”). See my mom’s nikujaga recipe.
  48. Spinach gomaae ?
    ほうれん草のごま和え ほうれんそうのごまあえ hourennsou no gommae - more “mother’s cooking”. Spinach, and other dark green leafy vegetables are always served cooked in traditional Japanese cuisine, usually quickly blanched as a side dish. Besides sesame dressing, a simple お浸し おひたし ohitashi (dashi stock and/or bonito flakes and soy sauce sauce) is also very popular. See how to blanch spinach, and gomaae and ohitashi recipes.
  49. Fuki no tou ?
    ふきのとう - butterburr shoots, blanched and de-bittered and cooked in a typically Japanese sweet-salty sauce. Since butterburr shoots are only available in the spring, this is a very seasonal dish. Other highly treasured spring vegetables include わらび warabi - bracken fern (shoots), よもぎ yomogi - a type of chrysanthemum, and 筍 たけのこ takenoko - bamboo shoots.
  50. Okonomiyaki ?
    お好み焼き おこのみやき - popular street food, originating in Osaka but now popular all throughout Japan and beyond! Often erroneously called Japanese pizza, I think it’s more aptly described as a savory pancake. See Osaka style okonomiyaki recipe.
  51. Yakitori ?
    焼き鳥 やきとり - skewered and grilled chicken bits. Very popular street food and 酒の肴 さけのさかな sake no sakana - drinking snack. (Competition between Japanese 居酒屋 いざかや izakaya - traditional pubs for the quality of their sake no sakana (also called おつまみ otsumami) is fierce, just like tapas in Spain.)
  52. Ohagi ?
    お萩 おはぎ - a traditional sweet, eaten in the fall. Very similar to ぼた餅 botamochi. See Ohagi/botamochi recipe.
  53. Japanese style curry, with rakkyo and fukujinzuke as condiments ?
    カレーライス kareh raisu is different from other curries! See recipe and a bit of the history of ‘curry rice’ in Japan.
  54. Kenchinjiru ?
    けんちん汁 けんちんじる is a clear yet hearty vegetable soup. It is one of the most famous 精進料理 しょうじんりょうり shoujinryouri (a refined vegan cuisine developed by Zen Buddhist monks in the Kansai region) dishes. A variation of kenchinjiru with bits of pork in it is called 豚汁 とんじる tonjiru.
  55. Yakult ?
    ヤクルト is a sweet, slightly fruity, fermented probiotic milk drink that is supposed to be good for your digestive system. It’s sold all around the world now, with plenty of imitators. Included here because it is really very post-war-Japanese. Also see Kalpis above (which doesn’t make probiotic claims, but has a similar taste).
  56. Kakipea ?
    A snack made up of spicy little rice crackers called 柿の種 かきのたね kaki no tane (literally: persimmon seeds) and roasted peanuts. See needlessly long and obsessive article.
  57. Takoyaki ?
    たこ焼き たこやき - another popular street snack that originated in Osaka. Puffy creamy doughy balls with a piece of octopus inside, served with a sauce. Best eaten piping hot. Frozen takoyaki are a pale, sad approximation of freshly made takoyaki. See takoyaki recipe (the video referenced is no longer available, but you can still follow the instructions I hope!)
  58. Sakura mochi ?
    桜餅 さくらもち is a traditional sweet that is eaten in spring, to coincide with the cherry blossom season. Sticky rice that is half-beaten and dyed a pale pink is wrapped around 餡 あん an - sweet azuki bean paste. The whole thing is then wrapped with a preserved cherry tree leaf, which is slightly sour-salty.
  59. Buta no kakuni ?
    豚の角煮 ぶたのかくに - braised pork belly. Similar to a Okinawan dish called ラフテー - rafuteh. Japanese people eat a lot more pork than beef (other red meats are not eaten much). The butcher in my grandparents’ town in Saitama prefecture (right next door to Tokyo) didn’t even carry beef until the 1980s. See Buta no kakuni recipe.
  60. Daigaku imo ?
    大学芋 だいがくいも literally means “university potato”, probably because this hearty sweet snack is sold at the big university festivals that are held in the fall. Sweet potato chunks are deep fried then dipped in sugar syrup, which forms a hard, caramel-flavored coating, then sprinkled with sesame seeds.
  61. Kappa Ebisen ?
    かっぱえびせん is a puffy, crunchy shrimp flavored snack, manufactured by Calbee. Yes, Japanese cuisine purists will turn their noses up at this selection no doubt! But I love Kappa Ebisen, it’s very Japanese, and it’s here. It actually has ground up shrimp in it, so the maker claims that it’s a good source of calcium!How Kappa Ebisen is made (Flash page in Japanese).
  62. Tori no tsukune ?
    鶏のつくね とりのつくね - soft stewed chicken dumplings. Another example of ‘mother’s cooking’. Fish tsukune (mainly made of oily fish like herring or mackerel) are also popular. Chicken tsukune recipe.
  63. Hakusaizuke ?
    白菜漬け はくさいづけ is salt pickled nappa or Chinese cabbage, a pickle for the cold winter months. (This is turned into kimchi in Korea.)
  64. Hayashi raisu ?
    ハヤシライス is Japanese beef stew. See recipe and main article.
  65. Goya champuruu ?
    ゴーヤチャンプルー is perhaps the best known dish of Okinawan cuisine. Its main feature is the use of bitter gourd, which is stir-fried with pork, egg and tofu to make a hearty dish. It’s supposed to give you lots of energy yet cool your body at the same time, making it perfect for the tropical climate of Okinawa.
  66. Dorayaki ?
    どら焼き どらやき is another traditional Japanese sweet (wagashi). Sweet azuki bean paste is sandwiched between two small pancakes.
  67. Ochazuke ?
    お茶漬け おちゃづけ is rice with various salty/savory toppings, over which hot green tea is poured. It’s often served as the last course in a formal Japanese meal, and it’s also a popular midnight snack. See main ochazuke article.
  68. Sakuma Drops ?
    佐久間ドロップ or サクマドロップ are fruit flavored hard candies manufactured by Sakuma Seika. (Seika means ‘confectioner’; there are actually two companies called Sakuma Seika, both manufacturing hard candies, run by rival members of the same family!) The candies are coated with powdered sugar, which prevents them from sticking together, and come in a reclosable can. This candy bridges the gap between traditional Japanese sweets and postwar ‘modern’ sweets; while hard candies existed previously, the fruit flavoring was quite new at the time. Sakuma drops featured prominently in the Studio Ghibli movie Grave of the Fireflies (火垂るの墓). Sakuma Drops are on this list to represent the many delicious hard candies available in Japan! See also Meiji Chelsea.
  69. Stewed kiriboshi daikon ?
    切り干し大根 きりぼしだいこん - shredded and dried daikon radish. There are many dried foods in Japan, which are still eaten regularly even if drying as a method of food preservation is old-fashioned. See Dried vegetables.
  70. Takenoko gohan (or in fall, kuri gohan) ?
    竹の子ご飯 たけのこごはん is rice cooked with fresh bamboo shoots; 栗ご飯 くりごはん is rice cooked with sweet chestnuts. One signifies spring, the other fall. More ‘mother’s cooking’!
  71. Cream or potato korokke ?
    コロッケ korokke is the Japanese version of croquettes. While you barely see croquettes much these days in the West outside of restaurants, in Japan they are an everyday food, part of yohshoku. You can buy them frozen or freshly made at any supermarket or convenience store, and many people make them from scratch at home too. クリームコロッケ kureemu korokke - cream croquettes - are made of stiff bechamel (white) sauce, usually with crabmeat or shrimp in it, and ポテトコロッケ - poteto korokke are made of mashed potatoes plus something else (ground meat, corn, etc). Usually served with the ubiquitous Bulldog Sauce.
  72. Fresh yuba ?
    湯葉 - is a Kyoto speciality. Thin films of tofu are scooped off the top of vats of warm soy milk. It’s available in dried form and is usually used in soups and such. Fresh yuba made from fresh warm soy milk is considered a great delicacy and is usually eaten with a litle soy sauce, yuzu juice and such. Yuba is part of shoujinryouri.
  73. Real ramen ?
    ラーメン is imported from China, but has been adopted wholeheartedly by Japanese people. One only needs to watch the movie Tampopo once to see how obsessed Japanese people can get about good ramen.
  74. Monaka ?
    最中 もなか is another traditional sweet. A crispy waffle-like casing is filled with sweet azuki paste (an), a sweet custard-cream, or ice cream.
  75. Ekiben of all kinds ?
    駅弁 えきべん are bento lunches served at train station. They are one of the best ways to sample local delicacies around Japan fairly economically. If you can’t travel around on trains throughout Japan, you can try the ekiben sold in department store food halls. A bit more about ekiben here.
  76. Edamame ?
    枝豆 えだまめ - the quintessential summertime beer snack, now famous around the world. Addictive, more-ish yet healthy - how can you go wrong with edamame?
  77. Chicken karaage ?
    とりの唐揚げ とりのからあげ tori no karaage. Another imported-from-China and adapted to Japan food. My favorite kind of fried chicken! See recipe.
  78. Kuzumochi ?
    葛餅 くずもち - a cool summer sweet made from kuzu powder. See recipe.
  79. Mitarashi dango ?
    みたらし団子 みたらしだんご - yet another traditioan snack: sticky mochi rice dumplings coated in a salty-sweet sauce. Mitarashi dango recipe.
  80. Konnyaku no dengaku ?
    こんにゃくの田楽 こんにゃくのでんがく - Konnyaku served hot on a skewer with a salty-sweet dengaku sauce, which is made with miso, sugar and other things. Barely any calories! See more about konnyaku.
  81. Yukimi Daifuku ?
    雪見大福 ゆきみだいふく is a daifuku (mochi dumpling) filled with vanilla ice cream rather than the traditional sweet bean paste. A fairly recent invention, it’s not-too-sweet and very nice on a hot day.
  82. Sukiyaki ?
    すき焼き is a dish from the Kanto/Tokyo area. Thin slices of beef are cooked in a shallow pot, usually on a tabletop gas burner, in a sweet-salty ‘sauce’ made in the pot by combining sugar, a bit of sake and soy sauce. After the meat gets going, vegetables, tofu, shirataki noodles and udon noodles are added to the pot. The ‘dipping sauce’ is a raw egg. At-home family cooking at its finest!
  83. Nama yatsuhashi ?
    生八つ橋 なまやつはし is a traditional refined sweet from Kyoto flavored with nikki or cinnamon. See yatsuhashi recipe.
  84. Panfried hanpen ?
    はんぺん is a airy-light fish cake, made of ground up white fish, yamaimo and egg white. It’s commonly available readymade in any food store, but I think it has a refined flavor and texture to rival any French quenelle or the like. It is used in soups, stews, and so on, but my favorite way to eat it is to just panfry it in oil or butter until golden brown. It’s also good stuffed with a ground meat mixture.
  85. Nozawanazuke or Takanazuke ?
    野沢菜漬け のざわなづけ and 高菜漬け たかんづけ are a traditional preserved mountain food: freeze-dried greens that are salted down. Very nice as onigiri wrappers.
  86. Kiritanpo ?
    きりたんぽ is a traditional food from the north of Honshuu, especially Akita prefecture. Pounded rice cakes are formed around a skewer and grilled. These are the eaten as-is with a little soy sauce or miso, or put into soups and stews. Chewy, doughy and very Japanese.
  87. Amanattoh ?
    甘納豆 あまなっとう - unlike regular natto, amanatto (sweet natto) are not sticky or fermented; they are just beans with a crystallized sugar coating. A traditional sweet snack, eaten especially around the end of the year.
  88. Narazuke ?
    奈良漬け ならづけ could be the oldest known pickle in Japan. A speciality of Nara, the first capital of a unified Japan, various vegetables like gourds and cucumbers together with ginger are pickled in sake lees. The sake lees are changed several times before the pickles are ready. The resulting pickles are semi-transparent and sweet. Related: wasabizuke, vegetables pickled in wasabi mixed with sake lees.
  89. Aji no himono ?
    アジの干物 - 干物 ひもの himono means dried fish. Dried fish in Japan is usually not dried to a cardboard-hard state, but rather eaten when still a bit soft. Aji or horse mackerel is delicious dried or semi-dried, cured with just salt or with a sweet mirin coating (this is called mirin boshi).
  90. Baby Ramen ?
    ベビーラーメン, or officially ベビースターラーメン is a salty snack that looks like little dried bits of instant ramen - it probably is bits of instant ramen, deep fried for good measure. It comes in little packets which are all connected in one long strip, useful for hanging up in a small store. Small snack and confectionary stores called 駄菓子屋 だがしや (dagashiya) used to exist in every neighborhood, selling homely snacks like Baby Ramen and Botan Candy, but they are now sadly a thing of the past, existing only in Showa-era ‘amusement parks’ and the like. The good news is that Baby Ramen still survives. Update as of 2010: Dagashi stores seem to be making a slow comeback, on the wave of a general trend for Showa era nostalgia.
  91. Kobucha ?
    昆布茶 こぶちゃ - also read kombucha, but do not confuse it with the drink from the mystery Russian mushroom. This is a ‘tea’ made with salty pieces of soft konbu seaweed. It is drunk as a tea, even though it ‘s salty - rather like British people drink Bovril dissolved in hot water. It can also be used as an instant dashi.
  92. Kasutera ?
    カステラ - a Japanese spongecake that came via Portugal from Spain in the 17th century. Sweet and airy, usually with a honey flavor. See kasutera recipe.
  93. Tazukuri ?
    田作り たづくり is a traditional dish that is part of お節料理 おせちりょうり - osechiryouri, New Year’s feast cooking. It consists of tiny little dried fish that are cooked in a sweet-salty sticky caramel like sauce. Sesame seeds are added too. The numerous little fish signify a wish for a good harvest and prosperity (little fish like this apparently used to be used as fertilizer in the rice fields.) In old Japanese tazukuri is called ごまめ gomame.
  94. Karintou ?
    かりんとう is another traditional Japanese snack. Bits of flour dough are deep-fried, then coated in dark brown sugar caramel. Karintou is here because my mother told me that this was the main snack of her childhood, made at home by her mother. I used to hate karintou when I was younger, because they were so hard and looked like poo, but now I crave it…
  95. Sauce Yakisoba ?
    ソース焼きそば; yakisoba is of course derived from Chinese lo mein, but the Japanese version made with Bulldog sauce is well, very Japanese. A typical street stall snack.
  96. Kamaboko ?
    かまぼこ is a rather rubbery firm fish cake, rather like a fish sausage in texture. It is usually formed on a small wooden board. It’s often dyed pink on the outside, and pink and white alternating slices of kamaboko are a part of お節料理 おせちりょうり - osechiryouri, New Year’s feast cooking. Kamaboko is eaten year round as a side dish.
  97. Oyako donburi ?
    親子丼ぶり おやこどんぶり - literally ‘parent-child bowl’. A donburi is both the name of the container (bowl) as well as the name of the food which is served in it - various things on top of a bed of plain rice. An oyako donburi consists of chicken pieces and vegetables encased in half-scrambled egg. Other donburi include gyuudon (beef donburi), tendon (tempura donburi), katsudon (tonkatsu donburi), tekkadon (raw tuna cube donburi), and so on and on. Typical lunch food.
  98. Atsuyaki tamago ?
    厚焼き卵 あつやきたまご - thick, slightly sweet Japanese omelette, a fixture in bento boxes and on sushi. See Tamagoyaki recipe which uses a frying pan (traditionally it’s made in a special square pan, but I don’t have one!)
  99. Kuri kinton ?
    栗きんとん くりきんとん is another part of お節料理 おせちりょうり - osechiryouri, New Year’s feast cooking, consisting of whole chestnuts cooked in sugar syrup in a sweet potato paste that is dyed yellow with a gardenia seed. The golden colors of the dish signify a wish for good fortune in the coming year.
  100. Japanese potato salad ?
    Japanese potato salad (ポテトサラダ)is made with plenty of Japanese mayonnaise (which is rich and slightly sweet) and is served cold, often as an accompaniment to a hot dish like grilled fish. Japanese people love mayonnaise. See Japanese potato salad recipe.

More lists?

Also see Diane’s 100 Chinese foods to try before you die on Appetite for China!

Want more lists? The Big List of Must Eat Lists.

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Awsome !! I don’t know

Awsome !! I don’t know most of these dishes :( but I tried (and love) some of them…

I’ll copy your list, will search in my “japonese food dictionary” what i dunno and… try :D

Always fine to discover new things. (it would be a great idea to link to the recipes you already put here or on Just Bento… doesn’t it ?)

Nolwenn | 11 September, 2008 - 11:46

I went to japan during the

I went to japan during the summer and ate several things on this list, one thing I loved was yokan, my japanese boyfriend’s sister got some high end yokan that came in many flvors and looked like brightly colored shiny large maarbles and they were so delisious! fruit, anko, sweet potato, are some of the flavors… Also, Japanese sweet potato is the best!

anon. | 2 November, 2008 - 04:31

Brilliant!

What a fantastic idea and list! It is making me so hungry reading it :)

alice mayumi | 11 September, 2008 - 12:15

There are a few I’ve never

There are a few I’ve never had homemade, although I’ve had them, like homemade umeboshi. There are some I’ve never had because I’ve never been to that region at the right season, like ishi yakiimo and fresh matsutake. And there are some I don’t know what they are at all— baby ramen?

But I’ve had a lot from this list, and some make me absolutely nostalgic— calpis! milky choco! ekiben! takenoko gohan! ahhh….

yoko | 11 September, 2008 - 15:37

Re: There are a few I’ve never

I am not sure if yakiimo is really regional....if it is Kansai must be the region.

As enjoyable as the taste is hearing the vendors driving their small trucks saying with that distinctive cry "yaaakkkiiimmmmoooo!" A little bit scary the first time you hear it. But once you enjoy one of those sweet potatoes gilled on hot rocks...it is a welcome sound.

anon. | 12 September, 2011 - 05:54

Neat Idea

This list is such a cool idea. I definitely have lots of dishes to try!

Marisa Baggett | 11 September, 2008 - 15:44

Nice list!

Reading your list made me feel hungry for some Japanese food!

I hope you don’t mind, but I’ve shared your list on my blog for my readers as well. Please let me know if that’s not okay and I will take down the list.

I really enjoy reading your blog since it’s so helpful and insightful. Please continue to update! =)

妃莉子 | 11 September, 2008 - 16:09

One more thing

Can you also provide the kanji for the foods, so I can ask my friends on mixi about them? Please and thanks! =)

妃莉子 | 11 September, 2008 - 16:11

I’ll put in the kanji and

I’ll put in the kanji and descriptions later :)

maki | 12 September, 2008 - 18:39

101

  1. Ichigo daifuku :D

(I hope, you didn’t mention it. I don’t know most of the dishes and just browsed your list. Otherwise my comment is useless ;) )

Anyway. Thanks for the list. I already ate some of the dishes. I want to try all of them in the future ;D

Gen | 11 September, 2008 - 20:38

Packaged foods

I like that you added some packaged products there, for those of us who aren’t lucky enough to have easy access to fresh Japanese foods. :) I love my daily shot of Yakult.

AppetiteforChina | 12 September, 2008 - 05:16

100 Japanese Foods

I counted around 75. I was lucky enough to have lived and traveled in Japan in the past. Some I had totally forgotten about. #5 sanma, #18 at the Kabuki-Za, #31, #71, but especially the Ekiben. I used to love train travel. SO… I’ve got 25 to learn about or don’t recognize the names! I can’t wait to hear about them! You sure have made me both nostalgic and very hungry indeed! Great fun!

Karla | 12 September, 2008 - 21:30

sweet list. im going to make

sweet list. im going to make it my life mission to go try everything on this list at least once. ^^ i have eaten a few on the list though. i love Yakult!

Jessica | 13 September, 2008 - 20:54

This list is awesome - and

This list is awesome - and Yakult….rocks! I have a few packs in the fridge now…yum.

grace | 15 September, 2008 - 01:22

It’s great to see another

It’s great to see another list of foods to try!

Shari | 16 September, 2008 - 03:20

Hello.I’m Japanese female

Hello.I’m Japanese female who lives in Switzelrand.
I searched about market in Helvetiaplatz Zürich.I wanted to know until what time
does it go everytime.And I found your blog.It seems that you LOVE Japanese food!
I’m glad about it!Since I ‘ve moved in Switzerland.I’m trying to make Japanese Tofu,
Natto,Nukazuke by myself.But it’s difficult to find right things sometimes.
So I made Nukazuke by bread and beer,I made tofu with soy beans and lemon
and so on.It’s not bad so much.
Anyway,I’m really happy that Japanese food are loved by a lot of people!

kaki | 16 September, 2008 - 11:03

Hello kaki-san. I’m a

Hello kaki-san. I’m a Japanese female living in Switzerland too! I write in English so that more people around the world will get to like Japanese food :)

ビールとパンを使って糠漬けをつくっちゃうなんて、すごいなー 尊敬します!私は糠漬けとかめんどくさいから、即席漬けくらいしか作ってません -_-;

maki | 16 September, 2008 - 19:45

Thanks for the link!

Hi,

thanks for the link to our Big List. If anyone knows about other “100 Things You Must Eat” out there, be sure to leave us a comment!

Nate | 16 September, 2008 - 17:25

Great list!

I haven’t heard of most of these, but I do love tempura and Unadon. I don’t see one of my favorites—Futomaki.

Asianmommy | 16 September, 2008 - 22:21

Great list!

Almost everything I’d add to my list you already have! Such a complete list I can’t imagine how long it must of taken to come up such variety. I’d add hijiki and also chikuwa with cucumbers and ume paste too. Maybe when I can’t figure out what to make for dinner, I’ll just check out your list!

Yumi | 16 September, 2008 - 22:56

Awesome!

Well, I haven’t tried a whole lot of these, but my friend (who went to Japan last summer with school) and I spent almost an hour in an asian supermarket looking for Calpis so I could try it. Actually, most of the stuff on here I’ve tried because of her! (highchew, milk candy, and some others I probably can;t spell) THough I am lucky enough to live somewhere that actually has two decent Japanese food restaurants.

Cassiby | 17 September, 2008 - 23:02

Wow!

You’ve got such a great list here! I’ve only had about a quarter of these (mostly fed to me by my obaachan in L.A.), but now I’m curious to try out the rest! Mmm, now I’m craving sweet potato tempura…

Tsuko | 18 September, 2008 - 06:11

On the First 40 of the Top 100 Japanese Foods to Try

Thank you SO much for your detailed explanations on the first 40 of the Top 100. Although I thought I knew something about some of them, your detailed explanations along with your links to recipes and the Kanji as well is truly helpful! I am so delighted by your blogs and recipes. I’m looking forward to trying the “Wafuu Pasuta” recipes because of your links!

Karla | 19 September, 2008 - 21:57

...

japanese curry? :(
I’d say you have 99 things people should try. ;)

Rachel | 25 September, 2008 - 18:00

Re: ...

As a broke university student Japanese curry (especially cheap kind from Matsuya) is one of my favorites!

anon. | 24 November, 2009 - 20:43

yaki imo

two things i miss the most about japan…real ramen noodles from a vendor on the street and ishi yaki imo with lots and lots of butter.

anon. | 30 September, 2008 - 23:28

Found your site today,

Found your site today, it’s great, the bento counterpart as well! If you like foodie lists, you may want to add this one to listsofbests.com, it also has the BBC’s “50 things to eat before you die” list etc.

kim | 9 October, 2008 - 12:01

Sumimasen: I don't see the rest of the list?

Forgive me, but I only see 18 foods on the list of 100 Japanese foods to try. Will you guide me to where the rest of the 82 Japanese foods to try are?

I really enjoy this site when I have time to browse.
Thank you Maki

sushiq | 16 November, 2008 - 10:24

Re: Sumimasen: I don't see the rest of the list?

I have this same problem as well. Though I recall having seen the whole list at some point.

Alifay | 3 November, 2010 - 19:16

Good, but...

Well, this list was very good.
But I thought it was a little specific. I’m living in Japan as a foreign exchange student, and I’ve been in Japan for a total of 5 months so far. I’ve tried a LOT of Japanese food. But, it’s difficult to cross them off the list if they’re not EXACTLY what you list.

And I’m vegetarian, so that cancels out atleast half.

But, it’s a good list nonetheless!

Chelsey | 17 November, 2008 - 13:33

Gyoza missing?

Hi,

I am biased: I am a gyoza enthusiast. I know this comes from China originally.. But that tastes so good when fresh and well cooked..
That is one of the few things that competes with Yakitori for a light beer and snack stop on the way home.
Thanks for the list, very interesting!
Xavier

Xavier | 23 November, 2008 - 11:45

Gyoza missing?

Hi,

I am biased: I am a gyoza enthusiast. I know this comes from China originally.. But that tastes so good when fresh and well cooked..
That is one of the few things that competes with Yakitori for a light beer and snack stop on the way home.
Thanks for the list, very interesting!
Xavier

Xavier | 23 November, 2008 - 11:47

Gyoza

Gyoza is one of my favorite foods ever, but I didn’t think it was really Japanese (and not drastically adapted the way Japanese yakisoba differs from Chinese lo mein) so it’s not on this list.

maki | 24 November, 2008 - 06:16

you might want to fix the

you might want to fix the description for “cream or potato korokke”…it says “…usually with crap or shrimp in it..”, and I’m pretty sure you might’ve mean “crab or shrimp”…or at least I hope you did.

anon. | 24 November, 2008 - 01:40
emily | 2 December, 2008 - 09:35
emily | 2 December, 2008 - 09:36

Japanese Food

One of our favorites is fried Gobo with chile. I make my own ume as we have Japanese plum trees. I dry Kaki in the fall also.

Linda Ikuta | 31 December, 2008 - 09:56

Tempura sounds good :)

I have never tried it, but it sounds and looks good.
I want to try it. Do they have them at japanese resturaunts?

Moniiku_Asami95 | 11 January, 2009 - 20:29

Re: Tempura sounds good :)

Most general Japanese restaurants do, and there are also restaurants that specialize in tempura.

maki | 11 January, 2009 - 21:39

Re: 100 Japanese foods to try

Like sushiq, i also only see 18.Did i get to the page the wrong way?
(Clicked the link from the recommended widget on the right side of the page)

Pentiki | 26 March, 2009 - 22:19

Re: 100 Japanese foods to try

i don't know why you can't see the whole page, but you can try the plain Printer version:

http://www.justhungry.com/print/1118

maki | 26 March, 2009 - 23:10

Re: 100 Japanese foods to try

Haven't had (* shows the foods I might never try as they have meat)
9 sobagaki, 21 Ankou nabe, 23 Komochi kombu
28 Omu rice, yes - with demi glace sauce, no
35 Tonkatsu*, no (I don't eat pork) - other seafood furai dishes at a tonkatsu restaurant, yes
36 Goma dofu, 37 hot, yes - cold, no, 38 Chikuzen-ni*
39 Nikujaga*, 52 Ohagi, 59 Buta no kakuni*
60 Daigaku imo, 62 Tori no tsukune*, 63 Hakusaizuke
64 Goya champuruu (but one made without pork),
77 Chicken karaage*, 80 Konnyaku no dengaku, 82 Sukiyaki*
83 Nama yatsuhashi
84 Panfried hanpen (not yet, on my to do list, I've been haunted by this image for quite some time: http://mo-mama.com/img/050628-d1.jpg )
86 Kiritanpo
97 Oyako donburi* (just a quorn version, and without the mitsuba)
99 Kuri kinton
---------------------------
Not 100% sure
19 Ika no shiokara - although I'd swear I've had it in izakaya
30 good Yokan, yes, from Toraya, no idea
39 Don't know if any of the gindara I've had were marinaded this way
88 Narazuke, 89 Aji no himono

I ate yakitori and ramen before I gave up meat, but there are two places in the Tokyo area that serve ramen made with fish.

This is a fantastic list and resource. I'm very grateful for all the explanations. There were quite a few things I had tried but had no idea what they were called!
I'll be hunting a few of these foods out specially in the next couple of weeks.
Thank you!

Loretta | 5 April, 2009 - 12:22

Re: 100 Japanese foods to try

My husband and I recently moved back to Darwin, the capital of the Northern Territory from living in Cairns Queensland Australia for 4 years. The population is mostly Indonesian and Chinese here and there aren't so many Japanese or Korean tourists. I miss all of the Japanese outlets and little corner grocery stores could go to in Cairns so the limit of the Asian foods is now very limited.

I order all of my bento boxes online from the USA as I can't get them here either like I could in Cairns.

Your list looks so good, so many delicious things to try, I'm glad I had a chance to try a lot of them while we were in Cairns.

Thanks for printing this list. It brings back great memories of wonderful food experiences in Cairns, Australia.
Cherie

CactusWitch | 27 June, 2009 - 14:23

Re: 100 Japanese foods to try

WOW I'm very far behind on this list. I've been reading lots of manga, and there is always a mention of some kind of Japanese food in them (mostly when they have school festivals). From all that manga, I've become mad on eating Japanese food! I've not tried very many things, but what I did try, I've loved. So much.

Whoever thought up this website, I thank you from the bottom of my heart - and stomach.

Now, is there anyone who lives in England and has a tokoyaki maker?? I reaally want to try some >.<

Ploy | 3 September, 2009 - 23:39

Re: 100 Japanese foods to try

I've eaten a lot of the food on this list without knowing. Then again, there might be similarities between Japanese food and Taiwanese food.

pen | 15 September, 2009 - 16:56

Re: 100 Japanese foods to try

It would have been helpful to have an English translation next to the food, then I would know what I was ordering in a Japanese Resturant.

anon. | 17 November, 2009 - 04:16

Re: 100 Japanese foods to try

I would love to see a list with 100 Japanese foods to try which are completly vegan.

I know it is a bit complicated because there is fish based dashi nearly everywhere..but that is nothing that could not be changed

cyrell | 28 December, 2009 - 11:50

Re: 100 Japanese foods to try

this is a very good list. there may be a couple things i could add to it...but a quick scan tells me i've pretty much had (and mostly have enjoyed) them all.

my wife, whose family makes yuba in tokyo, kobe, and osaka (among other things) would probably disagree on the oden and much prefers nabe instead.

one of my favorite things around the new years is fresh yakimochi wrapped in yakinori. yum!

as i said, there are a few things i might add. if you'd like me to list them here i would be happy to :)

good list!

anon. | 20 January, 2010 - 10:13

Re: 100 Japanese foods to try

Is it just me that can't see all 100? I'm only seeing up to 18... hmm..

anon. | 27 February, 2010 - 02:53

Re: 100 Japanese foods to try

It would be neat if you had pictures of these. :)

Kym | 2 April, 2010 - 01:54

Re: 100 Japanese foods to try

I completely agree with your top 5. I recently moved out on my own and I've gotten quite hooked on eating rice. Lots of it. Of course I could say it's because I'm Asian but seriously now that I've been washing and cooking rice properly I've become quite addicted. Though of course I've to stick to the cheaper range (貧乏学生だから;A;) cooking it nicely really makes a hell of a difference.

And there really is nothing better than eating the tofu raw. That fresh light taste really is something. Actually combining your top 5 makes an amazingly divine meal even if it is rather simple.

Ah I could go on but I guess that would be spam.

My top 5 as a 'binbou gakusei' (poor student):
1. Freshly cooked rice which has been washed and cooked properly
2. Tamagoyaki
3. Chuukadon (I get it as 'makanai' from work. With a little vinegar <3)
4. Shiokonbu
5. Perfectly balanced misoshiru with just a little wakame and tofu <3

kagerouhi | 1 June, 2010 - 18:17

Re: 100 Japanese foods to try

Oh, you're killing me. I used to work in a Japanese restaurant long ago, and since then developed a great love for it. Now I can't even get 90 percent of these things, and the 10 percent available are horribly expensive.

californiakat | 22 June, 2010 - 14:27

Re: 100 Japanese foods to try

For Chelsey, I too am a vegetarian living in Okinawa. So what if it cancels out half the list? =) Try the other half!

I've tried a pretty high number on here. I'm pretty happy about that.

anon. | 14 December, 2010 - 10:08

Re: 100 Japanese foods to try

Great list! What is baby ramen though? This kid's size? Definitely a good choice if you are at the Raumen Museum and want to sample all the bowls!

Ramen Adventures | 23 January, 2011 - 08:32

Re: 100 Japanese foods to try

Baby Ramen does not refer to a small portion of ramen. It's the brand name of an old fashioned snack. It looks like crumbled up instant ramen and comes in a little packet. It's not really one of the highpoints of Japanese cuisine, but I threw it in there as a representative of dagashi, or traditional cheap 'penny candy' in Japan.

maki | 23 January, 2011 - 23:34

Re: 100 Japanese foods to try

I'm going to use this list as a guide to what I should eat in Japan whilst there :D

Leelee | 26 February, 2011 - 18:35

Re: 100 Japanese foods to try

What about Sanuki udon? Or is it on there and I just missed it? Sorry of that's the case. Great list though; I'm keen to try all of them if I can.

anon. | 21 July, 2011 - 07:07

Re: 100 Japanese foods to try

This is a great list -- I wanted to print it out and eat list, it made me so hungry. Maybe I overlooked these, but some things seem to be missing:

1) Takoyaki
2) Okonomiyaki (both Hiroshima and Osaka styles)
3) Fresh katsuo no tataki
4) Chirashizushi
5) Yakionigiri
6) Tonkotsu ramen
7) Forgot the name, but that candy with the rice paper wrapper that looks like cellophane.
8) Shabu shabu
9) Just about anything with "nanban" in the name
10) Hiroshima oysters
11) Any food sold from yatai during matsuri

Roberto | 17 December, 2011 - 09:15

Re: 100 Japanese foods to try

Okonomiyaki is at no. 50 and I have 'real ramen' is at no. 73 (since there are so many kinds of ramen, and I can't put them all on a limited list)! (and actually I prefer lighter ramen soups myself...) I also start the piece by saying I assume people have already tried sushi. I think the other things you mention are a bit too specific...or just not in the 100, IMHO. (Also, and of course all such lists are based on personal bias, but I can't stand that rice paper wrapped candy >.<)

maki | 17 December, 2011 - 12:04

more essentials for the list

Although it's very regional, Sanuki udon should be on this list. I was very skeptical about how special people made this particular udon sound until I actually went to Takamatsu and tried it. It really does stand head and shoulders above all other udon noodles, and is totally worth the trip to Shikoku -- even if you don't do anything other than eat. Curry udon might also be worth a mention as it is simply delicious.

Also:
soumen
aburi salmon sushi (with lemon and salt)
ume-shiso katsu
katsuo no tataki
kama (the best I ever had was an entire half head of hamachi -- the meat around the eye socket and top of the head was even better than the meat around the jaw)
pudding (purin?)
ramune candy
yomogi mochi
yakiniku
kushikatsu
taiyaki
anything sold in a Japanese patisserie shop
roll cake
gyoza
takowasa with a good hot sake
yuzupon

N. Tamada | 31 December, 2011 - 10:20

Re: 100 Japanese foods to try

That must really good.whats for dinner I'mstraving .whats for desert.

margaret | 11 April, 2012 - 16:41

Re: 100 Japanese foods to try

What about Tokoroten? Jellied water in form of square noodles with soy sauce and mustard is definately one of the strangest things I've ever eaten, but it was quite tasty.

anon. | 1 July, 2012 - 17:16

Re: 100 Japanese foods to try

Unless I missed it I can't believe that Katsudon isn't on that list. To me that is one of the most quintessential Japanese foods. It was my first meal in Japan and I will never forget it.

Andrew | 28 January, 2013 - 16:57

Re: 100 Japanese foods to try

2 holidays in Japan have enabled me to try a good few of these though I have to say that when it comes to Hi-Chews, I'm a diehard fan of the sour lemon variety :)

Mawb | 16 May, 2013 - 19:24

Re: 100 Japanese foods to try

I couldn't believe how many of these I don't know. I am a Japanese interpreter so I go to Japan all the time but I had no idea how many things I have never got to try.
Thanks for the introduction.

Arisa | 21 August, 2013 - 20:35

Re: 100 Japanese foods to try

You forget my absolute favorite candy and I do not exaggerate, Kasugai gummy candy that comes in every flavor possible, like grape, muscat, lychee, orange, kiwi, mango, strawberry, apple, melon, peach etc. It is to die for. Just the aroma of the bag itself will drive you nuts!! Everyone needs to just try their favorite flavor and you'll be hooked like me and many others.

EH | 13 October, 2013 - 14:24
Anon Ymous | 24 October, 2013 - 06:10

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