Japan has some of the most delicious dishes in the world. From the delicate flavors of sushi to the spicy kick of ramen, there’s something for everyone. Here we have 30 Japanese foods that are utterly irresistible!
If you’ve ever been to Japan, you know that it’s a country whose people are as beautiful as they are food-obsessed
But if you haven’t been there yet, or if your only exposure to Japanese cuisine is a trip to the grocery store, here’s some news: Japanese food is not just sushi.
It’s not just ramen.
And it’s definitely not just the incredible dishes that can be found at every Japanese restaurant in America.
In fact, Japanese cuisine has so many faces—from savory to sweet and everything in between—that finding something to eat for dinner can be a real challenge.
But we’re here to help!
We’ve searched the internet for some of the most delicious Japanese foods out there so that even if your knowledge of this cuisine is limited (or non-existent), you’ll be able to wow your friends with some exceptional bites from the Land of the Rising Sun.
From the Yaki Udon (Stir-Fried Udon Noodles), Yakitori (Grilled Chicken Skewers), and the Katsudon (Japanese Pork & Egg Rice Bowl) there are so many delicious dishes to choose from.
But let us just tell you that #29 is amazingly good.
It’s full of surprises and offers lots of flavors that are hard to describe with words.
So, are you ready to get your chopsticks on?
Kani Salad is a crab salad that you can enjoy in any season, but it’s especially delicious in the summer.
It’s not too salty or spicy, so it’s easy to eat.
Basically, it’s an explosion of flavor in your mouth that you can’t help but love.
2. Miso Soup
Miso Soup is the perfect go-to for when you’re feeling under the weather.
It’s like the Japanese version of chicken noodle soup—it’s warm, filling, and comforting, but it’s also packed with good-for-you ingredients.
And while we often think of Miso Soup for its savory flavor, there are also many other things that make it unique, like the fish stock and the type of seaweed used to make it really satisfying.
Natto has a taste all its own—one that might be described as “acquired” or “unique.”
It’s sticky and slimy but with a texture that’s almost like stringy cheese (but not entirely).
It also has a distinct smell similar to ‘moldy cheese.’
However, it’s actually quite delicious when paired with other foods like eggs, fish, and even rice.
Salmon Sashimi is a delicacy that can’t be missed.
It’s made with raw salmon served on a bed of ice and garnished with lemon slices.
Also, its flavors are typically mild, which makes it great for those who aren’t fans of strong flavors.
And it has a soft texture that makes it easy to eat—even if you’re not used to eating raw fish.
Agedashi Tofu is a traditional Japanese dish that is made from deep-fried tofu.
It is rich and creamy, but the texture is light and fluffy.
The bonito flakes also add a hint of fishiness that complements the dashi perfectly—and acts as a nice contrast to the Agedashi Tofu’s softness.
And the seaweed brings an earthy-crunchy that makes you feel like you’re eating something hearty.
Yaki Udon is a Japanese noodle dish that is made with thick, curly noodles.
You can serve hot or cold, making it a great option for lunch or a snack on a hot summer day.
Yaki udon also means stir-fried noodles, and it gets that name for a reason—the noodles are stir-fried along with the other ingredients!
The result is a dish with a nice texture and flavor from the vegetables and meat.
Zaru Soba is a chilled noodle dish that is served with a dipping sauce.
It’s one of those Japanese foods that you don’t know you like until you try it.
Besides, it has a delicate flavor—sometimes almost sweet, sometimes salty, but always light and refreshing.
The noodles themselves are also chewy but not hard to bite through.
They’re made from buckwheat flour instead of wheat flour, so they have a special taste profile that makes them unique to this type of dish.
8. Miso Ramen
Miso Ramen is a ramen dish that can be described in two words: flavorful and complex.
It’s made with broth, noodles, and toppings like pork belly and egg.
The broth is rich with miso paste, which gives it a salty taste and deep flavor.
The noodles are thin, so they cook quickly in the hot broth.
And then there are the toppings, which add texture and crunch to the dish as you eat it.
Have you ever eaten Oden?
Well, if you haven’t, you’re missing out.
Oden is a delicious Japanese dish made of fish cakes, eggs, and other ingredients, all cooked in a savory broth.
You might also say it’s a little weird but is actually amazing.
The flavors aren’t overpowering, but there are some really savory components to the dish, and it’s just so satisfying.
10. Mochi Ice Cream
Almost everyone loves ice cream, but what if you could get a little more bang for your buck?
That’s why we’re introducing Mochi Ice Cream: a delicious treat that combines the best of two worlds.
Mochi Ice Cream is a little treat that consists of a frozen block of ice cream wrapped in mochi (rice cake).
It’s crunchy, chewy, and sweet—and now you can enjoy it on its own or as an accompaniment to other desserts!
Nasu Dengaku is the perfect way to take your eggplant game to the next level.
It is a traditional Japanese dish made by grilling eggplant and covering it in miso paste.
You might think the combination is a little strange, but the result is actually a sweet, salty, and savory dish that will make you want to eat more and more of it.
This is great because there are plenty of other things you can do with this delicious ingredient!
You can serve Nasu Dengaku as an appetizer or as part of the main course.
It’s also great as part of a bento box lunch or picnic spread.
12. Nerikiri Wagashi
Nerikiri Wagashi is a traditional Japanese confectionery made from rice flour, sugar, and sweet bean paste.
It has a soft and light texture, similar to mochi.
And it is also known for its elegant appearance.
In terms of flavor, Nerikiri Wagashi is sweet but delicate.
In fact, it is designed to complement the flavor of the tea.
But, it doesn’t matter if you don’t like drinking tea—you can still enjoy Nerikiri Wagashi!
We love onigiri!
It’s a simple rice dish that can be made in countless ways—and it’s fun to play with the flavors!
The most common fillings are pickled plum (umeboshi), salted salmon, tuna or cod roe, or kombu seaweed flakes with sesame seeds.
You could also try spicy mayo or even sweetened condensed milk.
No doubt about it, Gyozas are a big deal.
They’re tasty, fun to eat, and a great way to feed your hunger without breaking the bank.
But what exactly is Gyoza?
Gyoza is a Japanese dumpling that consists of an outer wrapper of thin dough that contains a filling typically consisting of meat and vegetables.
Traditionally, it is boiled or fried before being served with dipping sauce.
And with their delicious taste and crispy texture, you can’t go wrong with these little dumplings!
15. Sushi Roll
We’re crazy about Sushi Rolls!
We not only love the way they taste, but we also love how they look.
They’re like the Japanese equivalent of a burrito: you get to choose what goes inside, and when they’re wrapped up in a neat little package for you to enjoy.
Plus, they combine the best of your favorite foods into one bite-sized dish.
And they can be made with a variety of ingredients, including raw fish, cooked meat, eggs, vegetables, and even fruits!
You name it!
Do you know what’s great about Okonomiyaki?
You can make it however you like, and it will always taste good!
And when you get a bite of the batter, you will experience the crispiness, which has been offset by the soft texture of the cabbage in the middle.
The sauce is also rich with flavor from mayo and Worcestershire sauce, making it a great addition to any meal.
17. Karaage Chicken
Karaage Chicken tastes like a deep, dark secret.
It’s a little bit spicy, but not too much—rather, it’s just right.
It’s also a blend of sweet and salty, with a hint of tanginess.
It’s basically a flavor that lingers in your mouth long after you’ve finished eating it.
And if Karaage Chicken were a person, it would be mysterious and alluring: there is something about it that makes you want to keep digging deeper.
Taiyaki is one of the cutest little treats you’ll ever have.
They’re made of a fish-shaped pastry filled with sweet red bean paste, and they’re sometimes filled with custard or cheese filling as well.
They’re also usually served hot out of an oven, but they can also be eaten cold.
Either way, they’re a delicious snack that you need in your life!
19. Teriyaki Chicken
Teriyaki Chicken is a great option for anyone who loves teriyaki sauce and for people who like to try new flavors.
The taste is almost identical to what you’d expect from a traditional teriyaki sauce—it has a rich, sweet flavor with just the perfect amount of zest.
And the chicken itself is tender and juicy, with just enough crispiness around the edges that makes every bite enjoyable.
When you think of Yakitori, what’s the first thing that comes to mind?
Is it the way your mouth waters when you see a skewer of juicy chicken breast?
Or maybe you’re more of a liver and gizzard person?
If so, we don’t blame you—we love those too!
No matter your favorite part of the chicken, one thing is for sure: Yakitori is an amazing way to experience the full range of flavors in each bite.
It’s also just a really fun word to say out loud! Yakitori-yakitori-yakitori-yakitori-yakitori…
Yakimeshi is a Japanese dish that consists of rice, meat and vegetables, and a semi-sweet and savory sauce.
It’s one of the most well-known dishes in Japan, and it has become part of everyday life for many people there.
It’s also a fantastic dish for those who want something filling and flavorful but don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen.
Plus, it makes for an easy lunch or dinner if you’re looking for something quick.
Omurice is a rice dish topped with an omelet egg and covered in ketchup — and we’ll tell you what, it might just be the most simple yet delicious thing we’ve ever eaten.
But what’s awesome about this dish is that it can be served in so many different ways.
You can sweeten it by putting sugar or honey into the egg mixture and sprinkling some dried fruit on top of your rice.
Or you can even spruce it up with curry powder or soy sauce.
The choice is yours!
23. Unagi Don
Unagi Don is typically made with thinly sliced eel, which is grilled to give it a crispy texture and then laid over a bed of rice.
The dish usually comes with miso soup and some pickled vegetables, so it’s very filling.
In fact, it’s so filling that it can be hard to finish!
But the most important thing about Unagi Don is that it tastes delicious!
It’s the kind of thing that you’ll probably want to order every time you go for sushi because it’s so good!
Shogayaki is that type of Japanese dish that makes you feel like you’re in a restaurant but with your own kitchen.
It’s so simple to make, and the ingredients are easy to find—even if you don’t live near a Japanese grocery store.
It is also made from thin slices of pork belly that are cooked over high heat until they have a crispy texture on the outside but are still tender on the inside.
Plus, you can serve it with rice on its own as an appetizer or snack or even as part of a larger meal.
You may be asking yourself, “What is tempura?”
Well, the answer is simple: Tempura is a dish that consists of battered and deep-fried seafood or vegetables.
It’s usually served with a dipping sauce, and it can be found in both sushi restaurants and Japanese restaurants around the world.
But hey, you can make it yourself now!
26. Hayashi Rice
Hayashi Rice tastes like rice but also like something else.
Imagine if you had a bowl of white rice and then added a few drops of soy sauce and some butter.
You’ll also notice that Hayashi Rice is softer than regular white rice because it has been cooked in less water than usual.
This makes it quicker for your body to digest, so Hayashi Rice might be just what you need if you have any stomach issues!
Kare Raisu has a taste similar to the Indian and Thai curries we all know and love: rich, spicy, and delicious.
Yet, the first taste will still send your taste buds into overdrive.
It’s not as sweet as American curries, nor does it have the heat of Indian curries.
Instead, it has a bit of an earthiness balanced out by the sweetness of the potatoes.
And it’s a very subtle experience—but once you get used to its way of doing things, you’ll be hooked.
Katsudon is a dish made up of fried pork cutlets, eggs, and onion simmered in sweet soy sauce flavored dashi stock.
And when done right, it’s absolutely tasty—the soft eggs soak up the flavor from the dashi stock while still maintaining their characteristic gooey texture.
The pork cutlets are also tender and flavorful on their own, but when paired with the eggs and sauce…well, let’s just say that it’s impossible not to fall in love with this dish.
In a Nabe, the soup is the star.
It is a type of communal hot pot that originated in Japan.
Also, it’s a little like fondue, but instead of dipping bread into cheese, you dip vegetables and meat into a simmering broth with various flavors added.
It’s basically your own personal dipping pot!
There are many different kinds of Nabe, but they all have one thing in common: they’re delish.
There’s a reason we’re so obsessed with Japanese Cheesecake: it’s just so delectable.
But what makes it special? We’ll tell you.
First of all, it’s got a unique texture that you won’t find anywhere else.
It’s light and fluffy like a sponge cake but also melts in your mouth like a cloud of cotton candy.
It’s also sweet and salty, with just enough tang to keep things interesting, and the taste only gets better as you eat more!
The bottom line
We hope you’re hungry after reading this list!
We tried our best to show you what we think are the best of the best when it comes to Japanese food.
Whether it is sushi, ramen, or sashimi, we’ve listed some of the most well-known favorites.
Take a look for yourself and see if you agree with us!
Also, this is a great roundup post.
You can learn a lot of new and useful information!
And we are sure that it will help you to improve your culinary skills or just make your life brighter.
- Kani Salad (Japanese Crab Salad)
- Miso Soup
- Salmon Sashimi
- Agedashi Tofu
- Yaki Udon (Stir-Fried Udon Noodles)
- Zaru Soba (Cold Soba Noodles)
- Miso Ramen
- Oden (Japanese Fish Cake Stew)
- Mochi Ice Cream
- Nasu Dengaku (Japanese Miso Eggplant)
- Nerikiri Wagashi
- Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls)
- Gyoza (Japanese Pan-Fried Dumplings)
- Sushi Roll
- Karaage Chicken
- Taiyaki (Fish-Shaped Waffle)
- Teriyaki Chicken
- Yakitori (Grilled Chicken Skewers)
- Omurice (Japanese Omelet Rice)
- Unagi Don
- Shogayaki (Japanese Ginger Pork)
- Hayashi Rice
- Kare Raisu (Japanese Curry Rice)
- Katsudon (Japanese Pork & Egg Rice Bowl)
- Nabe (Japanese Hot Pot)
- Japanese Cheesecake
- Take a look at our Japanese Foods list!
- Bring the ingredients to create a new favorite dish.
- Woohoo! You created a home-cooked meal!
- Comment your thoughts on our Facebook page!