What to Eat in Japan (no Fish and Seafood)
Contrary to popular belief, Japanese do not only eat sushi. The Japanese cuisine has so much more to offer (thank god).
I don’t like fish and the idea of seafood scares the bejezus out of me.
I have to admit, when I went to Japan for the first time I was a bit worried. What will I eat? Should I bring some extra packs of cookies and pork sausages, just in case?
The good news is: Japanese love eating pork, chicken, beef as much as seafood. There are countless options of non-seafood and non-fish items!
The bad news: Sometimes the language barrier and not being able to read the menu makes it hard to identify the food.
Here is my favourite Japanese food:
My number one favourite food! Ramen consists of Chinese-style wheat noodles served in a meat or fish-based broth, often flavored with soy sauce or miso. I have become totally additcted to Tonkotsu/Hakata Ramen – a rich, milky, pork-bone tonkotsu broth and rather thin, non-curly and resilient noodles.
Young soybeans cooked in their pod in salty water and served with salt. Highly addictive and a popular healthy booze snack or appetizer.
A Japanese curry that’s based on British Navy Curry has become one of Japan’s most popular dishes. I had the best Beef Curry in Takayama. The Hida Beef is famous and just as good as the Kobe beef (but much cheaper).
The beef just melts in your mouth…
Japanese style of cooking bite-size meat and veggies (basically BBQ and similar to the Korean BBQ). The ingredients are cooked by the diners on a grill built into the table throughout the meal, several pieces at a time.
Shabu Shabu is the Japanese version of hot pot. Thinly sliced meat (usually beef) is soaked into a hot broth consisting of cabbage, nori (edible seaweed), shiitake mushrooms and whatever else is available and then served with a rice and miso soup.
A breaded, deep fried dish with a center of minced meat or vegetables in mashed potato or white sauce. Basically the Japanese version of the Croquette. It reminds me a lot of Dutch Bitterballen.
Fried noodles in a thick sweet sauce resembling tonkatsu sauce. Despite the name, Yakisoba isn’t made from soba noodles but a wheat noodle similar to ramen. Sometimes served as a meal on its own, sometimes stuffed in a sweet bun.
Omurice is ketchup fried rice wrapped with a thin omelette. It’s very popular especially among kids and in maid cafes because of the creative ketchup designs you can put on top.
Gyudon is a bowl of rice topped with thin cuts of flavored beef that have been grilled with onions.
You have the option of spicing it up with a combination of red pepper or picked ginger which gives it a great kick. It is a very affordable meal and can be found at almost every corner.
Tonkatsu are breaded and deep-fried pork cutlets, usually served with lots of raw cabbage and as part of a set meal with miso soup, potatoe salad, rice and other sides. It is usually cut into mathematically accurate slices for you to eat easier. Tonkatsu is eaten with a thick dark brown sauce which is similar to Worcester sauce.
Karage is simply Japanese fried chicken in a thin batter of soy sauce, garlic, ginger and wheat flour. It usually comes with a seasoning or dressing (green onion, sweet and spicy, tartar sauce and many more).
Gyoza are the Japanese version of Chinese Jiaozi dumplings. In Japan, gyoza are usually filled with pork, cabbage, garlic and ginger. They’re pan fried to give one side a crispy texture and have slightly thinner dough than the Chinese original.
Vegetables in Sesame Dressing
A popular appetizer are veggies (cucumber, spinach, green beans or others) soaked in rich and creamy sesame dressing. Super addictive and healthy. I prefer the cucumber version with a bit of chilli (can be found in most supermarkets).
Parcels of meat – typically beef or chicken – come stacked up on bamboo sticks, which are then roasted over hot coals. Often they are glazed with a yummy barbeque sauce.
A Japanese savoury pancake containing a variety of ingredients – a speciality from Hiroshima and Osaka.
It’s made with flour, eggs, noodles, shredded cabbage, meat and topped with a variety of condiments and a special sauce and mayonaise. Most versions of Okonimiyaki contain octopus, squid or shrimp, but the non-seafood version is really yummy.