Avoiding the obligatory entry of “Ramen”, here are our five picks of the things you have to eat in Tokyo (and where to eat it):
Photo Credit: Explore Japan.
by Andrew Campbell and Erin Smith
Soba, particularly cold soba if you’re after something a bit different. Masudaya in Shinjuku has some great soba dishes with tempura and soba tea. If you’ve never had soba before you’ll need to ask the very accommodating staff the correct way to eat it but figuring it out through broken English is half the fun.
Soba noodles are made with buckwheat, which is gluten free (for those who need to know that!). There’s a street lined with restaurants right outside Akasaka Mitsuke station, and we systematically tried a different one each day of our week in Tokyo. They’re all incredible. Their chicken karaage was to die for too, and that’s also gluten free since it’s fried in corn starch rather than crumbs or flour like chicken katsu is.
Photo Credit: Serena Ho
by Serena Ho
I ate yakitori in a tiny bar in Shinjuku’s “Memory Lane” – Omoide Yokocho (pictured below). It is an alleyway full of tiny bars that seat maximum of 8-10 people. Each serves different yakitori served with local beer! Everything is cooked in front of you. It comes alive in the evenings. The bars are lined with salarymen after a long day at work.
Photo Credit: Serena Ho
By Jessica Shield
Ok cool! Well this might sound silly but ANY of the bento boxes sold at the little stalls at train stations are awesome! If you’re getting on a bullet train (or any train for that matter), it’s the best fun to pick up a bento box beforehand for the ride. Unless you read Japanese, you don’t really know what you’re picking, but you’re guaranteed to always pick something delicious.
Photo Credit: Japan Hot Now!
By Jesse Lewis
That’s an easy one! “Yakiniku” which is Japanese for “Grilled Meat”, similar to Korean BBQ. It’s a Japanese style of cooking bite-sized meat (usually beef) and veges on griddles over a flame of wood charcoals or gas/electric grill, with a fan above. So you order it raw / marinated and cook it yourself at the table. I went to an epic one in Kanazawa and had a bucket load of the best meat / beer ever in a private room with grill for like $35 bucks per person.
Photo Credit: sfreelife at Sho-Tai-En Honten.
For the adventurous types, they sometimes offer a “set” which has everything from your basic meats to tongue, gizzards and chicken neck meat (delicious by the way).
I didn’t have it until after I’d left Tokyo, but it can range anywhere between ultra-cheap to ultra-expensive. In the bigger cities it tends to be the latter, so Tokyo for good Yakiniku you’re looking at 6,000-12,000 Yen ($60-120 AUD roughly). Based on Time Out Tokyo, these are the one’s I’d suggest if I had to go with any.
Cheap side: Manten (Yoyogi) 4,000-5,000 yen PP – this is the most accessible for people staying in Shibuya / Shinjuku / main parts of Tokyo
Middle ground: Hontosaya (Asakusa) 6,000-8,000 yen PP
Quality Side: Yakiniku Shuka Denden (Tsukishima) 7,000-10,000 yen PP
Photo Credit: Johnny Au
By Andrew McDonald
One thing I definitely need to recommend outside of the normal essential suggestions like sushi and ramen is a crepe from one of Harajuku’s numerous crepe vendors on Takeshita Street. The over-the-top sweetness and the bizarre flavour combinations epitomise the pastel overdrive hyperactivity and high concept fashion of the area.