I’m a big glutton when it comes to street food and finger food and Japan is a paradise for them. Below are some very common and oh-so-delicious Japanese street foods that you bound to come across. I’ve listed them with the location where we purchased them.
Location: Tsukiji Fish Market
Tsukiji Fish Market is one of the highlight of my Tokyo visit. We didn’t go for the Tuna Auction – Tourist has a bad rap for attending this because of the limited number of attendees, causing locals who are there for business didn’t get the chance to. It is also one of the things that you can only visit if you live just next to it considering you have to be there as early as 3 AM. I didn’t feel so bad missing the auction thanks to the amazing sushi and arrays of finger food that I get to indulge here.
1. Hot Omelette Roll
Japanese is very precise in making the omelette. This omelette is eaten as a snack on a stick and comes with many flavour. They are very fluffy and slightly sweet. The process of making the omelette the perfect rectangle shape is actually interesting. It is patiently made layers by layers in a rectangular pan.
Unagi is always been one of my favourite food. The meat is sweet and similar to fish but not so flaky. The sauce made this dish and it is usually very flavoursome. This roasted eel is just perfect with the smokiness, delicious sauce and zero fishy taste.
3. Red Bean Ball
Chewy dough covered with red bean paste. The red bean paste tasted very fresh and the whole thing just had the right amount of sweetness.
Taiyaki is Japanese street dessert which is something similar to croissant skin in a fish shape with different fillings. This one is not the usual taiyaki but very similar in concept. The outer dough resembles waffle and it has a fresh red bean paste as filling. The middle of the dough wasn’t thouroughly cooked and result in custard like soft centre. I’m not usually a fan of red bean but I love this. It is better then the usual Taiyaki.
Location: Asakusa leading towards Sensoji Temple
We get so held back on our way to Sensoji Temple by food. Oh what is that line for? Must be great food – the next thing we know is that we are in the line, and the next and the next. We have to hold ourselves and get to Sensoji at least an hour before its closing time. Lucky for us there are more food after the visit.
5. Tori Karaage
This street snack is very common and you’ll find this not only in Japan. It is basically deep fried chicken bites. They probably use rice or corn flour that make it very crispy. Wherever they are, karaage is always a treat.
6. Rice Cakes
Rice cakes is one of local Japanese delicacy. It is chewy and will kinda stick to your teeth. It can be bland hence it has to be well seasoned or dipped in sauce. We had it in Mount Fuji as well as sensoji. Choose one with Seaweed as it always add a little taste.
7. Curry Bread
Curry bread or known by the local as karepan is a deep friend bread with crispy breadcrumb outer layer, soft asian bread and curry filling.
8. Beef croquette
There are a lot of croquette in Japan. It is basically a mixture of mash potato and meat, battered in bread crumbs and deep fried. It is the perfect deep fried treat – crunchy outside, soft inside.
9. Steamed Potato
Steamed potato is very similar to potato jacket. Consumer will add butter themselves to their liking.
10. Red Bean Cake
Don’t underestimate these red bean cakes, these little fellas may look tiny but they are really satisfying. Eating a few of this will fill you up. It’s made on an ancient looking flat iron mould – very similar concept to a waffle maker – each patiently made and fill individually.
11. Rock Sugar
If you know the purpose of this rock sugar please let me know. We bought it as it looks interesting – and after one bite we spit it out. This was way too sweet to be consumed. The only explanation is to maybe use it as sugar substitute. We did throw in some pieces into our coffee and it did work just like sugar.
12. Crab Stick
I’m not a big fan of this surimi type of snack but my partner kinda obsess with crab so here we go.
13. Mochi and Warm Sweet Sake
A delightful dessert for a cold night.
Senbei or also known as rice cracker is like the potato chips of Japan. Traditionally it’s roasted on a hot coal and dipped in soy sauce solution while it’s hot to taste.
Location: JR Shinjuku
15. Croquan Chou ZakuZaku
Croquan Chou ZakuZaku is a long choux pastry (or very similar to) with very smooth and delicated custard filling. The curtard is made by milk from Hokkaido Farmers. It is made daily hence very fresh and very delicious. This one is certainly memorable and one I’d have again and again.
Location: JR Tokyo
16. Siretco Donuts
While it’s called donuts it really is like a pound cake with hole in the middle that’s filled with a cake shaped as a panda head. This is such a cute doughnut and it taste alright.
Manekken is a chain of Belgium waffle in Japan that has many outlets all over the country. We spotted one in Ginza and another in Osaka. I think the waffle was just alright.
There’s a snack station at every different location in Disneysea.
It’s a smart and unique concept that they have many popcorn carts in Disneysea. They also sell a reusable plastic container (that are extremely cute) that you can hang on your neck or carry like a sling/hand bag. There are several unique flavours according to the theme like cappuccino popcorn at the Mediterranean harbour, curry popcorn at the Arabian nights, other flavours includes black pepper, milk chocolate, white chocolate, caramel and salt. My favourite is the curry flavour – I couldn’t stop munching.
19. Smoked Chicken
Smoked chicken was sold at the Indiana Jones and is the best snack in the theme park. The chicken is juicy and Smokey and writing this post makes me really want one now.
20. Seaside Snack
The Seaside snack was sold at something like the American Harbour or fishing village theme. It is a bun that looks like a rubber tyre with prawn filling – definitely not my favourite.
Location: Leading up to Kiyomizu Dera
This choux puff with the choice of green tea or vanilla filling is pretty common in Japan. The one we had leading up to Kiyomizu Dera was not that good. For Puff, Bread Papa is still the winner to me.
Yuba is very smooth, silky and delicated beancurd skin consumed while warm with soy sauce. It was freshly made there and is very delicious. We’re glad we gave this one a go.
Location: Yasaka Shrine
23. Cheese Crepe
It was really fun to see how these cheese crepes where being made. It was a thin pancake with cheese filling rolled with a chopstick to make this wonderful looking crepe on a stick.
Yakitori is an alternate of chicken and spring onion grilled on a stick.
Location: Nara leading up to Todaiji Temple
25. Custard Pancake
Usually these pancakes comes with choice of three fillings; green tea, red bean and custard (vanilla). It has delicate flavour and only slight sweetness.
26. Steamed/Roasted Sweet Potato
Sweet potato is a healthy snack and it also has wonderful smoky and sweet flavour.
27. Strawberry and Red Bean Mochi
These look lovely and loving the sweet strawberry.
Try their best seller; long deep fried fish cake with crispy skin outside and potato pieces inside.
29. Katsu and croquette
Another satisfying deep fried snack – perfectly crispy.
Made before our eyes, this mochi is the best mochi we ever tasted. The skin was incredibly smooth and delicate. I usually don’t like mochi but this one converts me. The mochi won’t stick to your teeth, it’s not chewy and the red bean filling is not pasty. It’s mochi perfection.
Just behind the mochi stall, there’s an udon restaurant jam packed with people lining up to get in. We didn’t try as we were tight on schedule but judging from the crowd the udon there must be incredible.
Location: Osaka Castle
31. Flat Squid Cracker
This is a unique snack of a flat as-big-as-your-face crispy squid cake. It is made by two very heavy base pans that will squish an octopus/squid and dough into, eventually a sheet of cracker.
Location: Namba and Dotonburi
Namba and Dotonburi is a street food heaven located in Osaka. There is so much other food there but below is just what we can fit into a night with not so empty stomach.
Gyoza or Japanese pork dumpling is one of my favourite foods since childhood. So I went Gyoza crazy and had 3 serving in a day. They are all excellent but this one with the giant gyoza sculpture at the front of the booth is certainly hard to resist.
Osaka, or to be exact Dotonburi is like a sea of Takoyaki. Each has massive line that we don’t know which are best.
We tried the two outstanding booths with giant sculpture of octopus and massive crowds. There are apparently different ways that they prepare takoyaki too.
We tried Kurotaku and Dotonburi Konamon Muesum Takoyaki. The first was made with pieces of tempura batter incorporated into the ball and the latter is gooier with a single piece of octopus inside.
34. Egg Tart
We had egg tart that won the best sweet of 2014. While it just look like any other egg tart, after a bite we claim that to be the best egg tart we ever tasted. This one is a definite must try.
Pudding is a personal must eat for me in Japan. This pudding stall at dotonburi sells a lovely, very smooth and delicate custard pudding. It was just the right sweetness and no eggy taste at all.
Location: Kuromon Market
Osaka – you spoiled me. After a very satisfying visti to Namba and Dotonburi, we went to Kuromon Market during the day to be further spoiled our taste bud. The array of food in Kuromon is incredible and they are fraction of the price of what you usually need to pay for all these fancy bites.
We were hesitating to try the King Crab. My partner was so keen to try but it cost an arm and a leg. The price at Kuromon was much more affordable and he can finally indulge the big juicy crab.
As it’s our last day of our Japan Trip, to my surprise my partner is really splurging. We had a piece of wagyu from a butcher that they can prepare for you right there. Further down there’s Kobe beef staff selling a portion for just 2000 JPY. Try it!
38. Ice Cream
The ultimate snack that you can spot all over japan is soft serve ice cream. They usually come with a few option of flavour. We always go for green tea but I’m also a sucker for black sesame. About soft serve – the smoother it is, the less delicious. A flakier soft serve means thicker and more real substance – that’s basically my (unproven) theory.
Any other recommendation on what street food I should try in Japan? Do you have a favourite? Do share in comment section below. Happy snacking!
I vote for tacoyaki
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Thanks for sharing all this info and all the pictures! I stumbled upon this from Pinterest while trying to prepare for my spring trip to Japan, and this is super helpful. Now if only I can figure out how to order it all. XP
Lord’s Stow Egg Tart is not a Japanese street food – Lord’s Stow is a famous Macau bakery 🙂
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Great read thank you! We don’t eat meat but love the diversity (and price!) of street foods so we’re looking at different options for Japan.
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Where did you find the curry bread?!?! Omg it looks amazing and I need to save the location for our trip coming up!!
Hey,this list is really great, we are now in Kyoto and would like to try Yuba! Where exactly did you get this Yuba in your picture? We googled where to get this close to the Yakasa Shrine but did not find anything…