Japanese food Sushi

Dad’s Guide to Japanese Food

When the World’s Worst Food Blogger goes to a place like Japan, he’s going to do one thing – eat! I now consider myself an expert on all Japanese food, so I’m happy to present to you my comprehensive guide to Japanese cuisine.

Before you read on, go ahead and grab yourself a bib, because this list will be sure to make you drool.

 

Ramen

A steaming-hot bowl of heaven. A bowl of ramen comes with noodles of the same name in a thin broth. The flavours of a good ramen broth are subtle, umami, and extremely moreish. It also typically comes with toppings of meat (thinly sliced pork is the best) and lashings of shallots. A perfectly boiled, soy-soaked egg on top is a special treat.

A hot ramen on a cold and rainy day is a thing of pure joy! A good one will sit perfectly in your stomach – not too heavy, but certainly not leaving you feeling hungry. The best part? It’s cheap – find a good local diner (head off the beaten path and look for the ones with people in their work clothes) and enjoy the simple things in life!

 

Ramen
Nothing better on a rainy day

 

Udon

Ramen’s thicker cousin. Still noodles in a broth (although usually stronger flavoured), topped with meat (or other things… apparently). Tasty, but somehow not quite as brilliant as ramen.

 

Ah Udon, why can’t you be more like your cousin, Ramen? He has a law degree, don’t you know?

 

Soba

Mr Fancy-Pants of the noodle world. Sometimes served hot, sometimes cold. Tasty, but trying too hard. My advice? Stick to good-old honest ramen. It doesn’t try to be fancy, just delicious.

 

Soba
Soba, you’re tasty, but stop tying so hard

 

Sushi

Rice, with stuff on top (or inside). Sounds simple, but it’s an art-form that takes years to master.

 

sushi
Sushi – looks so simple, yet so amazingly tasty

 

With proper sushi, each tasty morsel has been intricately planned by the chef to be a perfectly balanced and flavoursome mouthful of goodness. There are a thousand different types of sushi, most of which are delicious (watch out for raw horse, I didn’t have the stomach for that one).

 

sushi
Sushi – so much goodness in one mouthful

 

Sashimi

Sashimi is thinly-sliced raw meat – usually (but not always) seafood. Good sashimi is extremely fresh and extremely tasty. I tend to stick with the fish. Raw squid, octopus, prawn and other shellfish is hard to stomach (although sashimi scallop is very good)! My advice? Give it a go. You only live once, so you may as well try something new when you get the chance. You never know, you may just be surprised.

 

sashimi
Don’t be that guy who misses out on the good things in life. YOLO – just eat it

 

Wagyu

Tastiest beef on earth. Better take out a second mortgage if you plan on eating the highest grade Kobe beef in a fine-dining restaurant. Lower grades can be found relatively cheaply in street stalls and is still like no other beef you’ve ever tasted. The secret to good wagyu? Marbled fat. The more, the better. Also, have it cooked by someone who knows what they are doing.

wagyu beef
Not sure if this is the “traditional way” of cooking wagyu, but it sure was tasty!

 

Wagyu in a supermarket
That price translates to approximately $30 AUD… per 100 grams

 

Katsu

Meat, crumbed then deep-fried. Schnitzel on ecstasy. Common themes include pork and chicken. Katsu bacon was a special treat/heart attack.

 

Katsu
Katsu with miso sauce. Amazing!

 

Gyoza

The dumplings eaten in heaven. The Japanese have got this 100% right – take something already delicious… and pan-fry it and drown it in sauce. Perfection!

 

gyoza
Try and eat just one, I dare you

 

Tempura

Tasty things, battered then deep-fried. Best way to make vegetables a junk food. Makes prawns even better than they already are.

 

Tempura
Random things, battered then deep-fried

 

Takoyaki

Octopus balls! Crispy on the outside, gooey on the inside. Big chunks of octopus in the middle. Cooked on a hot griddle, perfect for a cold, rainy day! Have to be tasted to be believed. Head to Dontonbori and find a place with a giant octopus on the wall outside.

 

Takoyaki
Octopus balls – Amazing!

 

Okonomiyaki

The Japanese took the pancake and made it interesting. Batter, cabbage, toppings and sauce. Cooked and served on a hotplate. Somehow, the end result is far greater than the sum of its parts. Has to be tasted to be appreciated. Head to Dontonbori in Osaka for the real deal.

 

Okonomiyaki
Words can’t describe how good this tastes

 

Inari

Rice wrapped in tofu skin. As gross as it sounds. Yet, for some reason Hannah can’t seem to get enough of the stuff. Each to their own…

 

Inari
I wasn’t a fan, but Hannah loved it!

 

Tofu

There’s 1500 million different types of the stuff. Some of it is gross, some of it is delicious. As with all things in life, fried is best.

 

Bento boxes

Like your school lunchbox, but instead of a soggy ham sandwich, there’s an array of tasty treats from the selection above. Bento boxes are tiny compartments packed fully of good things. Pick one, you can’t go wrong.

Ekiben

A bento box from a train station, designed to be consumed on the train. Bento boxes are even better when eaten on a Shinkansen.

 

Ekiben
Ekiben – bento specifically sold to be eaten on the Shinkansen

 

Red Bean

Not bad, not great, but really terrible when mistaken for chocolate. Learn the symbols for red bean and avoid great disappointment when craving chocolate. Better yet, just learn the katakana for chocolate.

 

Green Tea Ice Cream

Delicious. Eat whenever available. Practically a health food.

 

Green Tea Ice Cream
Should be sold in a bucket

 

Western-Style foods

Go to McDonalds for a Big Mac if you need your fix, then dive right back in. Avoid Japanese attempts at Western foods, they inevitably turn out not-quite-right. Especially cheese… for some reason the Japanese suck at cheese. Brie, mozzarella, cheddar – it’s all the same. Picture something the consistency of a Kraft single, just squished into different shapes.

No idea what food this is.
I… don’t know what this is. A Japanese interpretation of Western food.

 

Coffee

Comes in cans. Best served cold. Embrace it, there’s nothing better than scoring your morning cup of Joe for the equivalent of a dollar from the vending machine outside your front door (there is a vending machine outside every front door in Japan*). Don’t waste your money on coffee shops. If you wanted an overpriced café late, you could have stayed in Sydney.

 

 

Coffee in a can
Coffee in a can

 

 

*Slight exaggeration. Slight.

DIY Daddy

14 thoughts on “Dad’s Guide to Japanese Food

  1. Wow so much food and so amazing looking , I want to try it all ! Octopus balls don’t think I could get past laughing so hard to eat these , like you said “yolo “ try it you mite be surprised or not ! Great food blog I think you have sold me on Japan cuisine !

  2. Oh I so wish I’d not read this now, I’ve just had breakfast but I’m drooling already. We love Ramen, but my favourite is Katsu. My daughter adores Takoyaki but she gave me one once and I nearly threw up, plus I couldn’t get rid of the taste all day, I’ve not touched octopus or squid since. We often destroy the goodness of veg with tempura and my daughter is a dab hand at making sushi. I’m a big fan of Tofu, but I’ve yet to try Inari.

  3. Octopus balls?! My crazy kids might eat that but I’ll stick to udon soup with tofu. I am considering the green tea ice cream after seeing your photo though.

  4. I have never tried Japanese food but I will be trying it now great read mate Thank you for linking to #ThatFridayLinky Please come back next week

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