There is no doubt about it, Japan is a destination for foodies so I thought I would dedicate an entire post to everything I ate. From sushi to ramen to tea flavoured pastries, Japan has something to delight all taste buds. As an avid sushi eater and tea drinker, I couldn’t wait to get stuck into all the tasty treats, which are available only in Japan, as after all eating different food is one my favourite things to do while travelling.
The dish of my trip was definitely ramen. In Tokyo I felt like I ate nothing else, which was surprising seeing as I had never really eaten it before. The first place I sampled ramen was at Nagi in the Golden Gai area, it has about ten seats and is very popular – partly thanks to a glowing mention in the Lonely Planet guide – and so you most likely need to queue in the alley way outside while you wait for a seat. However don’t let this put you off, ramen is meant to be eaten quickly and the queue went down in no time and the noodles and broth inside tasted as real and authentic as I had imagined.
No other place that I went in Tokyo topped the noodles at Nagi, but I had a good time trying. The next evening I went to Mentsu-dan (also in Shinjuku), which was excellent value for those on a budget – not that ramen is expensive anyway – but it lacked the atmosphere of Nagi.
During my trip I also ate cold ramen from a fast food chain, which almost put me off ramen for life – I do not recommend! But then on our last day in Tokyo I found a close second to Nagi, which was in a kind of food version of the Golden Gai, as there were lots of small restaurants in a small alley next to the railway bridge. The place we ate at was outside and they served us up delicious ramen in seconds, as we were eating there was a queue forming with many locals – another sign that it must be a good spot.
As I was focusing on trying new dishes – mainly eating as much ramen as I could – I didn’t eat as much sushi as I was expecting to, I say expecting to because I absolutely love sushi and would count it as one of my favourite foods. Having said that when I did eat sushi in Japan I went all out for the freshest sushi available by picking it up in one of the restaurants just outside the Tsukiji fish market. I found the market itself very overwhelming, but I would highly recommend the sushi in this area.
Tempura was one thing that I didn’t consciously order or look for, but was often there on the side or sometimes it was added to my ramen. Tempura is not my favourite Japanese speciality although I am partial to shrimp tempura or seaweed.
My boyfriend and I seemed to work our way around the bakeries of Japan during our trip and I was completely fascinated by what they had on offer. There was a lot of tea flavoured items, particularly macha tea, such as macha croissants although my favourite was an earl gray flavoured brioche.