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TOKYO STREET FOOD: 10 MUST-TRY JAPANESE STREET FOODS

When you envision the city of Tokyo, you might see bright neon lights, tall skyscrapers among ancient temples, the wild world of anime, and of course, tiny ramen joints and sushi restaurants in every nook. While the city boasts high-end Michelin starred restaurants and food joints, you don't always need to sit down for a meal. That's where the Tokyo street food scene comes in . You can find Japanese street food in every corner of the city, little makeshift food stalls manned by dextrous and quick vendors, churning out different snacks and hot dishes to tickle your taste buds. One might think that Japanese food is limited to seafood dishes only, but there’s a wide world of Japanese street food out there. Tokyo is one of the best places to find delectable dishes that you won’t find anywhere in the world. Think of scrumptious dishes that come cheap, but don’t skimp on flavor. Soon you'll find yourself digging into some molten hot takoyaki or slurpable yakisoba noodles.

There's an endless variety of Tokyo street food you must try before leaving the land of the rising sun, and we’ve curated a list of dishes you should try when you're out and about. A fair warning though, Japanese street food can be really addictive! If you can, bring a friend and share the best of these Tokyo street food dishes with them. After all, food is even more delicious when shared.

Tokyo Street Food: 10 Must-Try Japanese Street Foods

1. Tamagoyaki

Tamagoyaki isn’t your ordinary omelet served on a plate with a drizzle of ketchup or stuffed with cheese. This Japanese omelet is served on a stick! It’s slightly sweet, fluffy, and unlike any other egg dishes you’ve had. Many foreign visitors to Japan rave about tamagoyaki because of its flavor and clever take on street food. Literally translating to "grilled egg," tamagoyaki is made by cooking the egg mixture in a frying pan. It is rolled in a square pan to make several layers, creating the perfect rectangular shape that is its trademark. The typical price for a single serving of tamagoyaki is 100 yen and it can be found all around Tokyo, especially in Outer Market of Tsukiji.

beautiful tamagoyaki plate


2. Takoyaki

You’ve probably seen takoyaki in the streets, in depachika (food basements), or at izakaya bars; it is actually the most popular street food in Tokyo. Takoyaki is the crispy, golf-ball sized snack that is made of wheat flour, green onions, and of course, octopus. Literally translating to "octopus fry," takoyaki is often served with a drizzle of special takoyaki sauce (similar to Worcestershire sauce), mayonnaise, and katsuobushi fish shavings. It’s crispy on the outside and incredibly soft and gooey on the inside, perfect for an afternoon snack or to pair with a beer. The typical price of takoyaki is 400 to 600 yen and it can be found almost in every corner and street of Tokyo. If you like to try one of the most popular takoyaki chains in Tokyo, head on to Gindaco.

3. Ningyo-yaki

Don’t let these adorable darlings fool you. You’d think that this small dish is nothing but another sweet treat from the streets, but once you’ve taken a bite of these, you’ll find yourself devouring more. Made with a fluffy, pancake-like batter that is poured into cute, intricate molds, ningyo-yaki is filled with anko (red bean paste) and cooked until golden brown. It’s best eaten while it’s hot and paired with tea or coffee. If you don’t fancy anko, you can always opt for chocolate or custard-filled ningyo-yaki. They also come in various shapes and sizes! The typical price for ningyo-yaki is 500 yen for seven pieces. They are a staple of Sensoii Temple.

4. Mitarashi Dango

These cute little dumplings have the perfect blend of sweet and savory flavors. Made with rice flour, mitarashi dango are molded into little balls, put on skewers, and grilled over charcoal, attaining that slightly smoky, toasty flavor it’s famous for. They are then enrobed in a generous serving of sweet soy sauce glaze. Mitarashi dango are sweet, salty, and chewy--the perfect snack. It also doesn’t hurt that they're cheap. The typical price for mitarashi dango is 100 to 150 yen per stick and is mostly found outside temples or during festivities.

mouth watering mitarashi dango


5. Crepe

Though the dish didn’t originate in Japan, crepes are popular among people, especially the young and trendy students in the Harajuku area. They often come wrapped up, making them easy to hold. Made fresh to order, you can choose your pick from hundreds of flavors, from sweet to savory, many of which are available only in Japan. Matcha ice cream cheesecake crepe? You can get it in Tokyo. Opt for strawberries and whipped cream if you're in a sweet mood or if you're feeling savory, go with crispy fried chicken pieces with a drizzle of sweet soy sauce glaze. The typical price for this Tokyo street food range from 300 to 600 yen, depending on the toppings, and they are mostly found in the Harajuku area.

6. Menchi Katsu

Who knew that wagyu, high-quality Japanese beef, could be coated in panko and deep-fried to perfection? Menchi katsu is one of a kind dish has been sweeping people off their feet, with its extraordinary crispiness and tenderness. This Tokyo street food is a true indulgence. The typical price of menchi katsu is 220 yen per piece and it can be found in a variety of places, but Satou Steak House, with their in-house butcher, is one of the most highly-regarded places to try wagyu menchi katsu.

7. Potato Chips

You might think that this Tokyo street food is very basic, as you can easily find potato chips at your favorite supermarket, but this Japanese street food is something special. Made with freshly cut crinkle-cut potatos, they are fried until they reach a golden brown hue, then topped with your choice of ingredients. It can be a drizzle of dark chocolate syrup, whipped cream, cheese, soft-serve ice cream, almost anything! And the interesting part is, it works! It’s just the right blend of sweet and salty, and perfect for sharing, too. The typical price for potato chips is 240 to 320 yen.

8. Karaage

Though best enjoyed with drinks, this chicken dish is an addictive one. Marinated in mirin, garlic, soy sauce, and rice wine, the chicken is coated with a thin layer of cornstarch to get that perfect golden brown hue when fried. It’s crispy and savory, just the perfect snack if you’re craving for something light but delectable. You can also dip it in specialty sauces. The typical price for karaage is 300 to 400 yen and is usually found in Shibuya. If you like something different, try the chicken fries at Kin No Torikara.

9. Daigaku Imo

Lovers of sweet treats will love this next Japanese street food. Sliced into thick chunks, these sweet potatoes are fried until crispy, then glazed with caramelized sugar or honey. Finally, they're sprinkled with sesame seeds to enhance that nutty flavor. From afar, you can see them glisten because of the perfect, thin coating of glaze. Daigaku imo is best eaten while it’s hot, and is also nutritious! The typical price of daigaku imo depends on how many grams you’re buying and it can be found all over Japan, in supermarkets and at street food stalls in Asakusa.

10. Yakisoba

Yakisoba is one of the most popular Tokyo street foods, and can even be found in high-end restaurants. It uses ramen-like noodles that are tossed with slices of pork, vegetables like cabbage, onions, and carrots. It’s then doused with a generous serving of sauce and topped with fish flakes, seaweed flakes, and pickled ginger. If you like carbs on carbs, try yakisoba-pan (yakisoba bread), which is a bun filled with these stir-fried noodles. The typical price for yakisoba is 350 to 700 yen and it can be found in most food stalls and okonomiyaki restaurants across Japan.


Yakisoba


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Serkan Toso
Serkan is a co-founder of byFood. He came to Japan to study and he could not go back because of the delicious Japanese cuisine. His passion for Japanese food and Japan led him to create this sweet platform. His aim in his life to helping people in need through his business. Therefore, he started Food for Happiness Project.
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