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5 Japanese Foods You Must Try

Cuisine can change when you leave one part of the world. That might be scary, particularly if you are unused to the type of food they make in that part of the world. Daunting as it may be, familiarizing oneself with local cuisine is a good way of getting to know the people without ever traveling to the said country.

One of the countries with exquisite cuisine is Japan. Visiting Japan might not be on the menu for everybody but the food can be. Here are some of the most iconic Japanese dishes that you should try.


It all starts with sushi. Sushi is a traditional Japanese dish that can be served on a conveyor belt and cost as little as a dollar, to the Edomae sushi, which is prepared and served before your eyes. That can cost a lot more, but is also one of the experiences that one should try and see and taste for themselves.

Sushi refers to pressed and vinegared rice, served with fish, often raw, called neta. It could also be shellfish. It is served with soy sauce and/or wasabi, a spicy sauce. Tradition dictates using either hands or chopsticks and dipping the neta part of the bite into the sauce, and then enjoying the meal.


Sashimi is also raw fish, but without the rice. Sashimi is interesting, because fish choices can vary from tuna, to mackerel, salmon and many more. They are usually eaten with a sauce of choice, often soy, sometimes with a hint of wasabi. Some fishes can be served with different sauces, such as ginger sauce. It all depends on the type of fish and the part of Japan/the type of restaurant one is visiting. 


Unagi is a river type of eel and is used as a delicacy in Japanese fine dining. Unagi is typically grilled and served with soy sauce. Additional sauces may be added for flavor, depending on the type of unagi dish one is served. There are many dishes with unagi as the main component, and soy sauce and rice can be expected as parts of most of those dishes.


Tempura is a way of covering various sea animals with batter and then deep frying them. The batter is often made out of milk and eggs while the sea animals can be anything from eels to raw fish. Dishes often include vegetables mixed and deep fried with the sea animals, for a better combination of tastes. The sauce of preference for Tempura is tentsuyu, which is made out of soy sauce, mirin and dried bonito. There are spices that can be added, radish and ginger immediately coming to mind.


Onigiri is also known as rice balls. One might have already tried these, but not the full Japanese version. Onigiri typically has a filling inside the rice and is covered in a type of seaweed called nori. The filling can vary, but is often made out of bonito, kelp, plums, or salmon. These are viewed as snacks and are often sold in stores in boxes which are easy to pick up and eat.

These are some of the most interesting Japanese foods that one should try when visiting Japan or when trying Japanese cuisine. There are more dishes, many more, but these ones should be the priority for anybody unfamiliar with Japanese cuisine.