20 Local Foods in Japan
Kasutera (Castella) is a sponge cake made from flour, eggs and sugar, and is said to have been introduced to Japan from Castile, Portugal in the 16th Century via Nagasaki. However, it is now seen among the Japanese as a distinctively Japanese dessert.
2. Kyo Gashi
Kyo Gashi is the general term of a type of paste-based dessert that is made in Kyoto. It is often consumed along with tea. The valley in which Kyoto is located is suited for making Kyo Gashi, as the process of making them requires moisture in the air. These days many people from across the world come to Kyoto to experience making Kyo Gashi.
Taiyaki is a type of Japanese waffle-cake that is in the shape of the tai fish. The cake is usually filled with red bean paste, custard, or chocolate. It originated in the Edo period as a popular snack for commoners.
4. Ika Meshi
A dish originating from southwestern Hokkaido, Ika Meshi is cooked by stuffing sticky rice into a squid and then boiled with sugar, soy sauce and spices. It is often served on a place sliced into flat cylinders.
5. Kiritanpo Nabe
Kiritanpo Nabe is a dish from Akita Prefecture. It contains grilled sticky rice chunks (Kiritanpo), chicken fillets, burdock, and vegetables.
Imoni is a stew from Yamagata Prefecture in Northeastern Japan. The main ingredients include taro, beef, and starch pudding. It is usually eaten in the fall.
7. Monja Yaki
Monja Yaki is a kind of pancake made from a mixture of flour, water, ground meat, bean sprouts, corn, and sauces, all grilled on a metal plate. It is eaten with a small spatula tool that can scoop up bite-size chunks like a spoon.
8. Kaigun Curry Rice
Kaigun Curry Rice is called “Kaigun” because it can trace its roots back to the end of the 19th Century, when Japan was building its own modernized navy. Many naval personnel had developed vitamin B1 deficiency syndrome. To introduce nutrition-rich dish to their diet, the Japanese navy started serving curry rice. Later, curry powder became available for consumers, and is now a mainstay of Japanese household cuisine.
Hitsumabushi is a dish originating from Nagoya. It uses grilled eel chunks on rice, and is eaten in different ways: eaten as an eel donburi, eaten with onions and seaweed, and eaten with warm water like a soup.
Takoyaki is made from pieces of octopus coated in flour, grilled in a specialized pan, and topped off with sauces. It is a popular snack from the Osaka region, and is one of the common snacks people can cook at home.
11. Matsubuta Sushi
Matsubuta Sushi is a dish for celebrations such as matsuri and weddings originating from Kyoto.
It has layers of rice, mushrooms, eggs, preserved mackerel, fish paste, peas and carrots.
Jibuni, originating from Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture, is a dish made from duck meat, mushrooms and green vegetables. The ingredients are boiled in a ceramic pot. The name “Jibu” comes from the “jibujibu” sound that the pot makes while boiling.
Houtou is a type of miso-based noodle dish from Yamanashi Prefecture. It uses vegetables of the season, cabbage, carrots and nameko mushrooms. In some variations of the dish, red beans and bear meat are used.
14. Kani Miso Soup
Kani is the Japanese word for crab. The miso from crabs is used in a variety of cuisine in Tottori Prefecture in western Japan. Soup made from this thicker type of miso is almost like clam chowder. Some restaurants serve a bread bun on the side.
15. Kaki Meshi
Kaki Meshi is a rice dish from Hiroshima Prefecture, which is known for its production of oysters.
Fresh oysters are taken from their shell and boiled, and the water is then used to cook rice. Finally, the oysters are mixed with the rice and served together.
16. Tako Meshi
Tako Meshi is very similar to Kaki Meshi in that instead of oysters, it uses chunks of octopi in rice.
A local dish of Mie Prefecture in central Japan, Tako Meshi is a great source of protein.
Gameni is also known as Chikuzenni, which comes from the historical name of Northern Kyushu, Chikuzen. It is a boiled dish that contains chicken meat, mushrooms, lotus roots, carrots, green peas and starch cakes.
Who doesn’t like egg, chicken, shrimp and fish paste steamed in a small bowl? Chawanmushi originates from Nagasaki, and is very popular with children. It is often available as a side dish at family restaurants.
19. Ika Shumai
Ika Shumai is from Yobuko in Saga Prefecture. It is a steamed dumpling that contains a mixture of Heterololigo squid, fish, onions and dough.
20. Goya Chanpuru
Goya Chanpuru, originating from Okinawa, is a dish made with bitter melon, meat, tofu, onions and eggs stir-fried in a pan. It is often eaten in the summer.