Tokyo: Home to the world’s most Michelin Star restaurants.
The level of craftsmanship and attention to detail in Japanese cuisine is immaculate. It’s always fresh, clean, and delicious. So, it’s no surprise Tokyo is known for having amazing food. Its location near the sea makes it the perfect place for delectable fresh fish, making Tokyo the best spot for sushi.
Sushi and fish aren’t all Tokyo has, though. Japan uses a variety of meat in their dishes as well as noodles and veggies. Don’t even get us started on the amazing sweets Tokyo has to offer! But with all these food options it’s hard to know what all you should try when visiting. While taking in the sights, be sure to stop and try some of our top dishes to eat in Tokyo.
Our guide will take you through 11 of the dishes you have to try in Tokyo. They’re guaranteed to make your mouth water and wish you were in Tokyo right now!
And we also have a little surprise waiting for you at the end of the article!
But first, check out our list of the 11 Best Tokyo Dishes You Must Try:
How can you visit Japan without eating sushi?
Sushi making is considered an art for professional chefs. It normally takes at least 10 years for someone to become a sushi chef and most of that time isn’t even spent touching fish! The level of detail that goes into just washing rice is immaculate. Sushi is truly a labor of love.
Whether you’re dining at one of Tokyo’s many Michelin Star restaurants or waiting for you sushi to come round on a conveyor belt, it’ll surely be the best sushi you’ve ever had.
Want to learn how to make sushi yourself? Check out some of Cookly’s Sushi Making Classes! We’ll show you how to make Grade A sushi from professional Tokyo chefs.
Who says fried food has to be greasy?
Tempura is created by using a special batter and deep frying just about anything in it. The most popular tempura is shrimp tempura, but vegetable and chicken tempura is very common as well. Even though it’s fried, well-made tempura with never be greasy or soggy. It should always be fresh and delightfully crispy.
Tokyo has countless tempura-ya, or tempura restaurants, for you to try this popular dish at.
Tokyo’s #1 Street Food.
Takoyaki is a common Japanese street food that can also be found at festivals and restaurants across the country. It’s characterized as a ball-shaped food made out of batter and filled with octopus. These snacks come out piping hot and have a light, airy texture. The batter and octopus mold together to create symphony of flavors.
Up until recently, ramen, was the number one and most eaten dish in Japan for decades. And there’s no better place to try it than Tokyo.
Ramen comes in a variety of flavors as well. You have Tonkotsu ramen, which is probably the most common. It usually has a milky/creamy texture thanks to the use of pork in the soup base. There’s Miso ramen, which as you may have guessed uses miso for the soup base. It’s the lightest ramen you can get. There’s also Shoyu ramen. It uses dashi and fish in it’s soup base, making it slightly more creamy than miso ramen, but not nearly as heavy as tonkotsu.
Ramen comes in all shapes and sizes and can contain a wide variety of toppings. Many may say chashu is the best topping, but the shining star of ramen has to be the soft boiled egg. The eggs are cooked and marinated for at least 24 hours. By time they’re served up the yolk is perfectly warm and gooey and have a light soy sauce-like flavor.
Ramen can take over a day to prepare, but Cookly can show you how to make some amazing ramen in a few hours! Check out a cooking class today!
5. Kare Raisu (Curry Rice)
In recent years curry rice has surpassed ramen, as the most popular dish in Japan. It sounds crazy considering it’s just curry and rice, but believe me when I say don’t underestimate this dish. Unlike Thai or Indian curry, Japanese curry is thicker and tends to be on the sweet side. This is thanks to the use of caramelized onions and carrots. Chicken, pork, and beef are the most common meats used in curry rice. You’ll also find sweet potatoes tossed into the mix as well.
These little fish-shaped sweets make the perfect dessert after a meal.
Taiyaki is known as a baked pastry made with a sweet batter and often filled with custard or red bean paste. A fish is the traditional shape of taiyaki, but it’s also possible to find special editions like Hello Kitty or Pokemon shaped taiyaki.
If you’re looking to try Japanese desserts you can’t go wrong with taiyaki. It’s one of Japan’s most popular sweets and you won’t find any better than in Tokyo!
If you can’t get enough of this delicious Japanese dessert learn how to make them on your own! Cookly has a course on how to make taiyaki along with other popular Tokyo sweets.
Yakitori is skewered grilled chicken usually dipped in teriyaki sauce. Recently, it has become common to find yakitori made with fish, pork, and beef. It’s something you’ll definitely want to try once in Tokyo.
This dish is the perfect bar food and food to eat on the go in Tokyo. For many workers in Tokyo, it’s common to go to a bar after a long day and munch on some well deserved skewers. It’s also the perfect snack for foreigners traveling to Tokyo! The flavor isn’t heavily Japanese and grilled chicken is something everyone is familiar with.
Savory pancakes, anyone?
Okonomiyaki translates to “grilled as you like it” and is commonly known as Japan’s pizza. Typical okonomiyaki restaurants will have a grill at each table and chefs will bring batter and toppings to the table. Then it’s up to you to cook this dish!
This dish is fairly simple and the base consists of batter, shredded cabbage, and a protein. The toppings are completely customizable and most commonly include: scallions, mayo, noodles, and okonomiyaki sauce. It’s the perfect interactive dish you must try in Tokyo!
Prepare for your trip to an okonomiyaki restaurant and learn how to make it yourself! Cookly offers classes specializing in okonomiyaki. Check it out!
One of Japan’s most popular noodle dishes, udon is a thick what flour noodle usually served in hot kakejiru broth. This broth is comprised of dashi, soy sauce, and mirin and is known for being light and thin. Due to its’ simplicity it’s typically very cheap and commonly made in Japanese homes as a quick and easy meal. You’ll also see it frequently paired with tempura. The soup perfectly soaks into the crispy tempura and adds a burst of flavor to each bite.
If you want to experience an authentic taste of Japanese lifestyle, then udon is your go to for what to eat in Tokyo!
Sukiyaki is another fun and interactive dish Tokyo has to offer. It’s served and prepared in nabemono style, otherwise known as Japanese hot pot. It uses thinly sliced beef, veggies, and a soup-like mixture of soy sauce, mirin, and sugar.
The meats, veggies, and any other toppings in sukiyaki will be served to you raw. This is where the interactivity comes. You’ll receive a hot clay pot on a burner and it’s up to you to cook your sukiyaki. The meat will only take a minute to cook and it’s so satisfying biting into something you helped create!
Not at all slimy!
Unagi or “fresh eel” is one of Tokyo’s most popular street foods. While eel my not sound appetizing, hear us out! It’s soft, delicious, and often tastes like chicken. It’s most commonly seen as an additive to other dishes like unadon, sushi, but the best way to experience unagi is by itself as unagi no kabayaki.
This type of unagi is skewered and cooked over a charcoal grill. It’s then slathered in a sweet soy sauce marinade and served as a stand alone dish. Grilling unagi brings out it’s savory, umami flavors and is what gives unagi a fluffy, melt-in-your-mouth texture.
If you’re looking to try something unique in Japan, you have to eat unagi at least once.
We hope this guide helped you choose where to dine and find the best dishes to eat in Tokyo. If you’re feeling a little adventurous and want to get a more authentic culinary experience we recommend trying a cooking class in Tokyo!
We also have a little something for you! If you’re interested in a cooking class, use the promo code TOKYOEAT10 and get a 10% discount on www.cookly.me