Five Japanese street foods you must try

Whether you’re tucking into yakitori behind Tokyo’s Shinjuku station or slurping hot udon noodles in an Osakan market, these Japanese street foods give you a sense of what the locals eat and what you should be eating too.

So catch the next (bullet) train to sample:


Different cuts of chicken, meat and vegetables, either on their own or in combination, skewered onto sticks, grilled over charcoal and served with either salt or a sweet sauce. Yakitori is food to be eaten when drinking, so pair with an ice cold beer or shochu, a Japanese distilled spirit.


Like Yakitori, this delicacy involves skewered meats or vegetables but the similarities end there because these are crumbed, deep fried, and served with raw cabbage and a tonkatsu sauce. Best eaten in Osaka, regarded by many as a superior food city to Tokyo.


Also from Osaka, these balls of batter studded with pieces of octopus are sold from street side stalls. Topped with tonkatsu sauce, mayo, seaweed and dried bonito flakes, the Japanese love them.


When visiting a market in Japan, after you’re done marvelling at the slabs of tuna and the meticulously arranged vegetables, find a noodle stall and try Tsukimi Udon, thick wheat noodles in a dashi broth topped with a raw egg. Failing that, try some soba noodles at home with this recipe for Soba Noodle and Duck Salad with Squid Kara-age with Japanese Mayonnaise.


Tourists will definitely wonder what’s inside these cute fish-shaped cakes. Made from a pancake-like batter and traditionally filled with red bean paste, you can also find chocolate or custard stuffed versions.