​Delicious, must-try foods in Japan, that aren’t sushi

How many of you define Japanese food as sushi rolls and hibachi?

Before I met Joey (my Japanese boyfriend) I was one of you. It wasn’t until my 1st visit to Japan that I learned two things:

1. Nobody eats sushi rolls (rather sashimi or nigiri) and

2. Hibachi isn’t even Japanese! (*mind blown*). It’s from California!

It’s a shame that where I come from (Atlanta) these two options define Japanese Cuisine. But, I’m here to inform you of some of the delicious foods Japan has to offer, other than sushi.

In Japan, food plays an important role in the culture. Nutrition and respect for food are emphasized in schools, home life… everywhere!

So, if you’re planning a trip to Japan, here are some of my favorites that you need to try:

Snacks

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Osembe: Airy, rice cracker. Comes in various flavors/seasoning.

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Onigiri: Stuffed rice, various fillings, wrapped in seaweed. 

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Gyoza: Flour wraps, filled with pork & veggies, steamed, and fried on one side. 
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Ichigo Sando: Strawberry sandwich with fresh whipped cream. 

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Yakitori: Grilled meat skewers (usually a drinking food).

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Hokkaido Cream: Frozen yogurt from the Hokkaido region.

 Meals

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Shabu shabu: Thinly sliced Wagyu beef, dipped in hot water to cook. Served with noodles and veggies.

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Ekiben: Train Station Meal. An assortment of pre-made meals in a small box.

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Washoku: Multiple course meal of small portions, and a variety of foods.

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Ghenghis Kahn: Hokkaido mutton & veggies, grilled on a personal barbeque.

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Ramen: Fresh, flour noodles served with pork slices. Miso or soy-based soup.

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Tonkatsu: Panko-fried pork cutlets, served with pickles, miso soup, and rice.

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Example of full Tonkatsu & Kaki Fry set.

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Kaki fry: Panko-fried oysters (best during December-January), served with pickles, miso soup, and rice.

 As you can see, Japan’s food scene is waaaay more extensive than just raw fish (although I do love the fresh sushi). But for those of you that aren’t sushi fans, these delicious options to add to your repertoire! (And, if I caught you by surprise about hibachi… you’re not alone!) I hope you venture out and try the amazing dishes Japan has to offer on your next visit! Itadakimasu!