All TopicsNewsCultureJapanese Snacks & CandyFood & DrinkTravelEntertainmentMember Spotlight
TokyoTreat Japanese Snacks BlogA First Time Foreigner’s Guide to Oden

A First Time Foreigner’s Guide to Oden

By Tanner
January 27, 2020

source

Here in Tokyo, the winter weather is out in full force – and baby, it’s cold outside! At TokyoTreat, we’re always thinking of ways we can warm up – and fill our bellies! 

In Japan, one of the most common – and delicious – wintertime treats is oden (おでん), which is just one of many different types of nabemono – hotpot dishes that are widely enjoyed during the winter months. What sets oden aside from the rest is the vast variety of individual items you can try. 

Served up at most convenience stores as well as street stalls, izakayas and dedicated restaurants, ordering oden may be a bit intimidating for first timers – especially if you’re not super confident in your Japanese abilities. There’s so many options to choose from – with unique names you’ve probably never seen before. Plus, for sanitary reasons, you’ll usually have to ask a store clerk or restaurant staff to pluck out your preferred pieces, which can lead to first time foreigners too intimidated to try! 

If you’re interested in oden but don’t know where to begin – Never fear, TokyoTreat is here! Let’s check out some of our favorite oden ingredients to get you started!  

Yude Tamago (ゆで卵)

Source

No surprises here! Literally meaning “boiled egg” in Japanese, it really is exactly what you think. Probably the most basic of oden options, yude tamago is a sure shot every time. What makes these especially tasty though, is that the longer they soak in the soy flavored broth, their exterior takes on a deep, rich color. Satisfyingly salty, you can’t go wrong here.   

Daikon (大根) 

Source

Slightly stepping our game up, let’s talk daikon. An absolute staple vegetable across all of Japan, daikon is a massive radish that has a very crunchy texture and slightly sweet, peppery flavor. Similar to most oden options, it’s excellent at soaking up the salty soy broth. After simmering away for a while, daikon eventually softens up just a bit, achieving the perfect texture. Trust us – no oden meal is complete without a nice slice of daikon as the centerpiece!

Tsukune (つくね) 

Source

Tsukune are a sort of chicken meatball – just as often served as yakitori as it is in oden – even if you don’t get a chance to try it during the winter, it will always be around! Starches such as crushed yam or bread crumbs are added to minced chicken meat along with various spices before cooking, giving tsukune a fantastic texture that is truly at it’s best after soaking in the soup for hours on end! Very mild and approachable, we really recommend this option for anyone unsure of what to try first!  

Konnyaku (こんにゃく)

Source

This is where we begin to step into uncharted territory for most first timers. Konnyaku is a chewy jelly derived from the root vegetable konjac. With sorta-scary nicknames like voodoo lily, snake palm, and even devil’s tongue, we wouldn’t blame you if you felt like you should stay far away! Don’t worry though, konnyaku itself is extremely palatable, and even healthy! Virtually flavorless, konnyaku shines after simmering in oden broth – and because it’s 98% water -it’s basically calorie free! This is why it’s such a popular option. Most Japanese people choose to chow down on konnyaku every time. 

Mochiiri Kinchaku (餅入り巾着) 

Source

We’ve saved the best and most iconic oden option for last! The name tells you everything you need to know; a kinchaku is a type of small purse or pouch, and mochiiri kinchaku contains a chewy rice cake, or mochi, inside! Appearance goes a long way in Japanese cuisine, and so it’s no surprise that this is easily the most popular oden ingredient amongst locals. As much fun to look at as it is to eat, the slightly sweet, fried tofu pouch sucks up all that oden goodness, and after biting in, an addictively chewy mochi is waiting inside – gushing with flavor! Trust us, you can’t eat oden without trying mochiiri kinchaku!

See? Oden’s really not so scary after all! Besides, with so many different options to choose from, you can switch up your style every time and never get bored! We hope you give it a shot next time you need to warm up in Japan this winter! 

What’s your favorite oden ingredient? Did we miss something you think is essential? Let us know in the comments below!

Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for more news straight from Japan!

Enjoy Delicious Japanese Candy And Snacks Every Month!

Starting from $32.50 USD
Get TokyoTreat
Author avatar
Tanner

Tanner is a content editor and marketing associate based in Tokyo, Japan. As a former professional cook, he loves exploring Tokyo's food scene and cooking at home for his partner. He also enjoys bad puns, decent coffee, oxford commas, and reading fantastic genre fiction.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Enjoy Delicious Japanese Candy And Snacks Every Month!

Starting from $32.50 USD
Get TokyoTreat

Related Articles

Japanese Picnic Foods Sure to Please Any Crowd

January 17, 2022

When Spring appears, you’ll find everyone in Japan doing one thing: picnicking. Whether it’s at the park with friends, near the river with family, under cherry blossoms or pre-cherry blossom season, everyone will take their own special type of Japanese picnic food to share with guests. 

What is Yuzu? Getting to Know a Tasty Japanese Fruit

January 08, 2022

You may have seen or heard of a fruit in some of your favorite Japanese dishes, called yuzu. But what is yuzu? Cultivated in Japan, this tiny, yellow, wrinkled ball of citrus fruit is ¾ the size of a golf ball and has a unique flavor that is easily recognizable.

Harness the Power of a Japanese Energy Drink

January 05, 2022

Japan loves a good party, so everyone needs a bit of extra energy from time to time. If you do too, make like a Japanese salaryman and have a Japanese energy drink from a convenience store for breakfast.

Japanese Christmas Food: Japan’s Take on Christmas Meals

December 03, 2021

Unlike the West, in Japan, Christmas is not a religious event. Rather, just like Halloween and Valentines Day, Christmas season is simply party time. So then, what kind of Japanese Christmas food do people have to get their winter holiday parties started? Let’s find out!

TokyoTreat Reviews Spooky Starbucks Japan Frappuccino

October 21, 2021

It’s the spookiest time of the year once again – Halloween! And Japan is not shy when it comes to limited edition sweets and snacks. Never to be outdone are the offerings from Starbucks Japan! This year they are adding plenty of fall flavors to their Halloween drink (and we’re here for it)!  And who…


Be a TokyoTreat Insider!

Join our newsletter and receive tasty news and deals!


Twitter
Facebook
Instagram

Accepted Payments
Visa payment availableMastercard payment availableAmerican Express payment availableDiscover payment availablePayPal payment available


Be a TokyoTreat Insider!

Join our newsletter and receive tasty news and deals!

Twitter
Facebook
Instagram

Copyright © 2021 TokyoTreat™. All Rights Reserved.
Accepted Payments
Visa payment availableMastercard payment availableAmerican Express payment availableDiscover payment availablePayPal payment available