Full of Michelin starred restaurants, ramen bars, sushi places and street food, Tokyo has more eateries per capita than any other city in the world. If you find yourself in the middle of Tokyo, stop for a moment and look around you; you are guaranteed to see at least one restaurant trying to lure you in. Tokyo is the gourmet capital of the world, and rightfully so. No matter what type of food you decide to try in the Japanese metropolis, you are guaranteed to be blown away by the quality of the ingredients used and the respect all chefs show for even the smallest detail. Your dish will be made with love and boy, you can so taste that.
Don't just go experiencing Japan's most popular food, but get out of your comfort zone and try some of its street food too. You will find some of the most delicious dishes ever. Here are my Tokyo street food discoveries.
1. Octopus Balls
Japanese octopus balls, or takoyaki, are originated from Osaka. Takoyaki is made with a pancake like batter filled with small pieces of octopus (usually a bit of tentacle). It also contains some tempura, spring onion and some pickled ginger. You can eat them with a special takoyaki sauce (which is similar tasting to Worcestershire sauce) and Japanese mayo. To really pimp your octopus balls, add some minced nori sheet (nori sheet is the seaweed you find on your maki sushi), or some Katsuobushi (dried flakes of smoked skipjack tuna).
You can purchase takoyaki from the streets of Ueno. I'm sure you can find them in many places around Tokyo, but that's where we found them for the first time.
Taiyaki is a fish shaped Japanese cake, traditionally filled with red bean paste. If red bean paste is not your thing, you can also buy the ones filled with custard, chocolate or sweet potato. They are incredibly appealing and taste amazing. They are best when served hot.
3. Crazy Harajuku Pancakes
If you didn't get hungry thus far, I think you are about to have some serious cravings in a second ... the Harajuku pancakes are the essence of Tokyo's sweet scene.
So what is this Harajuku pancake you might ask? Well, it's a large, thin crepe, with filling ranging from cream, banana, strawberries to matcha cake, cheesecake and other crazy delicious looking things. It's nicely rolled in the shape of a cone, so you can dig right in and start loving life!!! Hallelujah
I know, I talk a lot about seafood, but what's better than walking around the streets of Tokyo when, all of a sudden, you can stop and buy some grilled squid to satisfy your hunger (or curiosity). We tried these twice, once in the Tsukiji fish market and then around Ueno. They were served on a stick and tasted fantastic.
5. Banana on a stick
I usually don't go bananas, but it's hard to resist when there is a queue of people, waiting patiently to buy a chocolate coated banana with vast choice of sprinkles...
These are essentially fried noodles served with a thick sauce and dried nori on top. We ordered two portions which turned out to be huge. They were cooked to perfection and simply deliciooooos.
Still hungry for soba? Check out more things to eat in Tokyo by The Outlandish.
Although the name is not very appealing, once you bite into your dango you won't care about the rest of the world anymore. These are super yummy Japanese dumplings (they have a similar consistency to Japanese mochi) coated in sugar sauce and shoyu (Japanese for soy sauce). It might sound strange, but the combination is amazing.
Don't fancy seafood? You're in luck, because Tokyo caters for everybody. Have a Japanese grilled chicken skewer. You can choose the salty one or the sweet-salty version. I've seen locals adding wasabi and pepper to them. Each to their own skewer.
Tamagoyaki is a Japanese omelette made by rolling several egg layers. The result looks appetising, it is usually served with fish row on top and very popular in bento boxes. It's a great pick me up protein bomb.
Feeling thirsty after eating so much food? Don't worry, Tokyo is packed with vending machines at every corner. For a few hundred yen you can buy your to-go cold or hot drinks. If you find yourself out of change, just use your Suica or Pasmo card. Gosh, you've got to love Japan for all its amazingness.