After a hot and humid day in the Japanese summer, there’s nothing quite like strolling around the city on a cool summer night with an empty belly!
Food trucks have become quite trendy the past few years in major cities all over the world, and while Tokyo’s street food scene is booming more than ever, Japan has a long history of street stall dining! Especially popular in Southern Japan’s biggest city, Fukuoka, small mobile food stalls known as Yatai have been all the rage for decades! The street food you can get in Yatai varies wildly, and it’s not always just a quick snack! Check out our top 5 favorite street foods to try in Japan on your next summer vacation!
Hakata-style gyoza are extra crispy and super juicy!
Gyoza are a super-satisfying Japanese street food staple! Based on recipes for Chinese dumplings that were brought over to Japan, the main characteristic that sets gyoza apart from their traditional chinese dumpling cousins is their thin wrapper and rich garlic taste!
Hakata-style gyoza (gyoza made in Fukuoka, Japan) are especially famous for their super crispy bottoms! Fried to a delicious golden brown all the way on one side, they burst in your mouth with delicious, garlicky dumpling goodness!
Gyoza are an excellent option for your summer-time food stall stroll!
Warm, fluffy cake batter encases a rich and sweet red bean filling!
After a couple platefuls of salty and savory Japanese dumplings, you’re gonna need something a little sweet. Japanese desserts tend to be a bit more subtle in their sweetness compared to what you may be used to in the west, but there’s still plenty of Japanese sweets ready to satisfy!
Taiyaki is a warm and soft cake with a crispy outer shell packed full of warm and sweet red bean paste. The texture of Taiyaki is insane! On the inside, taiyaki is warm, soft and silky almost like velvet with a sweet burst of Japanese red bean paste. The outside is crispy, giving Taiyaki a satisfying crunch.
Taiyaki has been around in Japan for a long time! Back in the day, Japanese sea bream, or tai in Japanese, was considered extremely expensive. That’s when Japanese sweet stands that were making these delicious cakes decided to make molds shaped like tai rather than normal circles! (Taiyaki literally means “baked sea bream”).
Interested in trying out a summer exclusive Taiyaki yourself? You can get your own Watermelon Chocolate Taiyaki to taste in this August’s TokyoTreat box!
Sit down and slurp up a quick bowl of ramen on your way home!
Most people probably wouldn’t think of ramen as Japanese street food, but here in Tokyo, or other Japanese cities like Fukuoka, Osaka and Kyoto, you’ll find ramen in street stalls and fancy restaurants alike!
Remember the iconic scenes in Naruto’s first season, slurping up delicious bowls of ramen on the streets of Konohagakure? Well, in the streets of Japan, that fantasy isn’t far from reality! A fresh bowl of ramen is actually one of the most perfect Japanese fast foods, because you have to slurp up your ramen as fast as possible before the noodles get too soft in the hot soup.
Most famous Japanese dishes are best enjoyed slowly, but ramen is at its peak when finished fast! Slurp up your ramen and continue your Japanese street food tour!
Ice cold Ramune is the perfect way to beat the Japanese summer heat!
Ramune is an iconic Japanese summertime treat, but did you know that it was actually invented by a Scottish man!? Alexander Cameron Sim was a Scottish pharmacist living in Kobe in the 1800’s, and it was then and there that he first created “Mabu soda”, or “marble soda”! It became popular in Japan after it was advertised as a medicine, and eventually morphed into Ramune, which is a play on the Japanese pronunciation of “lemonade”.
While we don’t think an ice cold ramune is going to cure much more than a little midsummer fatigue, it’s still a classic go to option that you should grab wherever you can find it!
In fact, this summer you can get a taste of ramune from your couch, with these ramune flavored hi-chew gummies featured in our August box!
5. Shaved Ice with Mochi
You didn’t think we were going to head home without dessert, did you!?
Japanese shaved ice, or Kakigori, is the perfect way to top off a Japanese summertime street food tour, especially with some chewy mochi to top it off!
Unlike western style shaved ice, Japanese shaved ice is shaved super thin, and covered with unique Japanese toppings like matcha, condensed milk, red bean paste and even mochi! We think adding mochi to your Japanese shaved ice takes things to the next level! The soft and chewy mochi compliments the smooth and creamy shaved ice so perfectly!
Want to take your own Japanese food tour without leaving your air-conditioned living room this summer? Checkout TokyoTreat’s August box “Summer Vacation” packed full of Japanese summertime favorites like Watermelon Taiyaki, ramune hi-chew and more! Click below to get yours before it’s gone!
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.
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