One, they're expensive, and
two, they're worth spending for.
It's like the Japanese is not in the business of cooking anything less than a gastronomic masterpiece. Everything tasted sooooo good I'm surprised I only gained a couple of pounds from the trip! My only regret is that I couldn't take home every dish, drink, and dessert we tried when we were there.
Anyway, get ready 'coz here are some of the must-try food in the Land of the Rising Sun!
Of course, we just had to eat ramen on our first night in Osaka. We could have just settled for hotel food but we braved the cold and searched for this popular ramen stall in Namba.
And man, the honest-to-goodness authentic bowl of beef ramen I had was worth the long walk!
|Price : Y900 (USD9.44)|
In restaurants, ramen set meals are sometimes even served with rice in fried wrappings.
And the Japanese eat ramen with so much gusto, you can't help but be carried away and do just the same!
"Takoyaki (たこ焼き or 蛸焼?) is a ball-shaped Japanese snack made of a wheat flour-based batter and cooked in a special takoyaki pan. It is typically filled with minced or diced octopus, tempura scraps (tenkasu), pickled ginger, and green onion. Takoyaki are brushed with takoyaki sauce, a sauce similar to Worcestershire sauce, and mayonnaise. The takoyaki is then sprinkled with green laver (aonori) and shavings of dried bonito (katsuobushi)." (More info here.)
Another Japanese must! We had our fill at this little takoyaki store at the Sinsaibashi area.
|Price : Y500 (USD 5.24)|
"Kansai- or Osaka-style okonomiyaki is the predominant version of the dish, found throughout most of Japan. The batter is made of flour, grated nagaimo (a type of yam), water or dashi, eggs and shredded cabbage, and usually contains other ingredients such as green onion, meat (generally thin pork belly, often mistaken for bacon), octopus, squid, shrimp, vegetables, kimchi, mochi or cheese. Okonomiyaki is sometimes compared to an omelette or a pancake and may be referred to as a 'Japanese pizza' or 'Osaka soul food'." (More info here.)
We loved okonomiyaki so much, we had it two nights in a row!
|Price : Y1,550 (USD16.26)|
Anago hot soba
"Omurice or omu-rice (オムライス Omu-raisu?) is an example of contemporary Japanese cuisine (Yōshoku) consisting of an omelette made with fried rice and usually topped with ketchup." (More info here.)An omurice dish can look and taste a bit weird for the not-so-adventurous eaters but it's worth at least one meal when you're in Japan!
I know you're thinking, "Huh? Pancakes? What's so special about pancakes in Japan?" That's what I thought too! Until I ordered this dish:
|Salmon pancake with avocados, goat cheese, and wasabi. Yes, WASABI!|
Price : Y1,400 (USD14.69)
I never thought wasabi would taste so good in pancakes!
My order was enough to make me full the whole day but I just had to try my friend's dish.
|Pancake with red beans, green tea ice cream, mochi, and green tea syrup.|
"Mochi (餅?) is a Japanese rice cake made of glutinous rice, waxy rice, sweet rice or otherwise called mochi rice. (not to be confused with gluten). The rice is pounded into paste and molded into the desired shape." (More info here.)
Fresh noodles, fresh vegetables, savory sauce... 'Nuf said!
Some desserts are dressed up so good you get disappointed when you take a bite and they don't taste as good. But desserts in Japan are as delectable as they are pretty!
|Yes, those are fresh strawberries!|
|Green tea ice cream. Yes, by now, you know that the Japanese has thing for green tea!|
Price : Y300 (USD3.15)
|Mochi filled with FRESH strabwerry. Biting into the mochi and juicy strawberry was just H-E-A-V-E-N-L-Y.|
Price : Y189 (USD2)
"Umeshu (梅酒?) is a Japanese liqueur made from steeping ume fruits (while still unripe and green) in alcohol (焼酎 shōchū) and sugar. It has a sweet, sour taste, and an alcohol content of 10–15%. The taste and aroma of umeshu can appeal to even those people who normally dislike alcohol." (More info here.)
The night before our flight back to Manila, my siblings told me to buy them some umeshu. Since I had almost reached my baggage limit, I bought only two bottles. When I tasted the drink back in Manila, I immediately wished I just left my toiletteries behind in our hotel and bought more bottles! Haha.
|Price : Y1,000 (USD10.50)|
Its sweet, prune juice-like taste will make you forget you're actually drinking alcohol. You can drink it on the rocks, with beer, vodka, or even with coffee!
Drooling yet? I am!
So if you're a certified foodie and consider food a valuable part of traveling, Japan should definitely be on your list! Just make sure your stomach's prepared for the ultimate foodgasm ;)