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Reasonable and Delicious! 5 Japanese Soul Foods

For some, when you mention Japanese food, it conjures images of menus that are as difficult as jumping high hurdles. Now we’ll introduce delicious Japanese food that’s both reasonably priced and easy to eat. While high-class food is great, you can also enjoy food eaten daily by Japanese people!

1. Ramen

Even overseas there are many fans of Japanese ramen and of course it’s immensely popular in Japan. There is a great variety of flavors from “Tonkotsu” soup made by boiling pork bones, to those made from seafood stock, to the traditional soy sauce based ramen. The various flavors offered depends on the shop so you will surely find your favorite.

To be able to grasp how much Japan loves ramen, consider that convenience stores have entire sections dedicated solely to cup ramen which you add hot water to and eat. Prices start at around 100JPY so you can buy freely. There are also luxury cup ramen where ingredients like roasted pork fillet come in a sealed plastic pouch so you can enjoy the genuine ramen flavor.

2. Dagashi

Japanese dagashi (inexpensive candies) come in a wealth of varieties and it’s not uncommon for visitors to Japan to be astonished at the many variations. In Japan, dagashi is immensely popular among children. Long ago when school was over, little kids with their pocket money clutched tightly in their hands would run to the neighborhood candy shop. Nowadays, these small candy shops are few and convenience stores have taken over their role. There are lots of items ranging from 10~100JPY so many people buy large quantities for souvenirs. Definitely try some for yourself.

3. Kaitenzushi

There are some over the counter sushi restaurants that don’t clearly state their prices, making it a pretty high hurdle to overcome. For your first time having sushi, kaitenzushi is recommended. Kaitenzushi is where a continuous flow of sushi is placed on a conveyor belt before you. Based on the sushi toppings that they like, customers pick what they want to eat. Most kaitenzushi places decide the prices based on the color and pattern of the plates so you can enjoy yourself according to your budget.

Kaitenzushi places also have many menu items geared at persons who dislike raw fish. Rotating on the conveyor belt are options from tuna salad to desserts, many things that over the counter sushi restaurants do not offer. Even if you don’t know the name of the sushi, it’s possible to pick based on the appearance so by all means, feel free to challenge yourself and give it a try.

4. Onigiri

We mentioned earlier about entire corners of convenience stores that are dedicated to selling cup ramen, so would anyone be surprised that there are huge varieties of onigiri? Onigiri is another fundamental menu item in Japanese cuisine. There are lots of types with some that have ingredients inside, some that have ingredients mixed in with the rice and so on. Recently, many onigiri specialty shops have opened.

Onigiri is even delicious when cold so if you don’t have time to heat it up, you can conveniently eat it as is. You can eat it with one hand so on busy mornings or during work, it is convenient in many situations.

5. Okonomiyaki, Takoyaki

The base of okonomiyaki is a batter of wheat flour combined with soup stock then vegetables, meat, fish and various other ingredients are mixed in and fried on a hot plate. Takoyaki is made from the same base in a bite-sized, ball shape with octopus inside. Both have the same basic seasoning and mayonnaise, bonito flakes and seaweed are staple toppings.

Despite both being Osaka’s specialty products, they’re popular menu items for common folk so you can eat them no matter where you visit in Japan. They almost always appear on food carts at Japan’s festivals and fairs. In particular it’s fun to watch the way takoyaki is made. The round dough with a hole in its center being constantly turned in a circle. You don’t have to eat in-store either, it’s also possible to have takeaway. It’s a perfect companion with beer or highballs.

Introducing common menu items known by all Japanese persons. During your travels you will surely spot them so be sure to give them a try.

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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