When visiting Japan, you might be surprised to see the types of food that Japanese people eat. There is a high chance that you will find some things that you have never tasted before. If you ever come across any of these, don’t be afraid to try them; they might taste better than you think.
The first type of food that you might want to challenge is TKG or tamago kake gohan. It is a simple dish that is very easy to make and you will probably have a chance to eat this, or at least see a Japanese person eat it as a regular meal.
The only two ingredients you need to make this are some rice and eggs. All you have to do is crack a raw egg into a bowl of rice and stir them together. That’s it, simple as that. If you want, you can add some soy sauce to give it more taste.
Because it’s such an easy meal to make, especially in Japan since Japanese people cook and eat rice every day for almost every meal, many people regularly eat this for breakfast. If you’ve never eaten eggs that are uncooked, it might seem weird at first, but it’s worth a try. You’ll probably also be surprised that eggs actually go very well with soy sauce.
The next type of food is quite famous and if you’ve ever visited Japan, you’ve probably eaten it at least once: natto. So, what exactly is natto?
Natto is a type of traditional Japanese food that is made from fermented soybeans. It has a very powerful smell and a unique taste so some may enjoy it very much, while others may have a hard time eating it. Some people top it off with some Japanese bunching onion because it reduces the smell. It is often mixed with soy sauce or a type of sauce that often comes with the pack of natto.
However, it is also true that there are many Japanese people who don’t like natto, not just for its taste or smell, but also because it’s difficult to eat since it produces lots of sticky strings when you stir it with the sauce. Some people will resist eating it for these points, but the majority of Japanese people find it delicious.
Nowadays, you will see interesting natto food in Japan like natto toast, natto soup, natto okonomiyaki, etc., which are actually quite popular. Either way, you’ll never know unless you take a bite.
Another type of food that you might want to try in Japan is fugu (blowfish). I’m pretty sure not many of you have eaten blowfish before, but in Japan, it is considered as a luxury food since it is very expensive and of course, delicious. It is also difficult to serve as a meal because the fish contains a type of poison in its organs that are considered to be harmful towards humans, so specialists must take the poison out of the fish in order for it to be served.
Fugu is often eaten raw as sashimi or cooked in a hot pot, which we call in Japan as “nabe.” Compared to other fish, fugu is a little bit hard and has a unique texture, especially when you eat it raw. Therefore, some people prefer other types of sushi or sashimi, while some find fugu’s uniqueness pleasant. Fugu sashimi is often served with some lime, unlike any other kind of sushi or sashimi.
You won’t see people eating fugu in their houses as a daily meal, unfortunately; instead, it is often served in expensive Japanese restaurants that serve high-quality traditional Japanese food. There are also fugu restaurant chains that mainly serve fugu dishes both raw and cooked. If you’re especially into sushi, this is something you would definitely want to check out when you visit Japan.
If you have ever visited Japan, chances are you’ve already tried dried seaweed some time during your stay. Dried seaweed, or “nori” in Japanese, is eaten daily in Japan often with rice. For example, rice balls, which are said to be the most typical Japanese daily meal, are always wrapped with nori.
Nowadays, with the spread of sushi around the world, nori has started to be consumed by a wide range of people. Although it may not seem too appetizing when you think of it as seaweed, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that nori is essential in Japanese food culture. Like TKG, nori is often eaten together with rice and sometimes soy sauce since they go great together.
Last but not least, this may probably be the most challenging type of food to be introduced here: pig’s ears. That’s right, believe it or not, pig’s ears are eaten in Japan, in Okinawa Prefecture to be specific. This may be challenging for some Japanese people as well since it is not commonly eaten in many areas in Japan.
Pig’s ears, or “mimigaa,” are often steamed and eaten with some ponzu sauce, which is a sour orange-based sauce used in many Japanese dishes. It has a very unique and crunchy texture that may be new and challenging to many people. If you have a chance to visit Okinawa, trying some pig’s ears will definitely be an interesting experience.
There’s more to Japanese food than just sushi or ramen. Trying some of these types of food may change your image of Japanese cuisine, hopefully in a good way. Who knows, you might just end up finding your favorite Japanese food… or not. Either way, trying some of these will definitely be an extraordinary experience.