Okonomiyaki // Japanese Food

Good Eats // Taste Japan – Five Unexpected Food Finds

Yes of course you’re going to have Sushi, but what else is on your hit list?

Australian Masterchef favourite Hayden Quinn and blogger behind FoodPorn Khalil Khouri embarked on a journey of culinary delights around Japan, tasting everything along the way.

Here are the top 5 unexpected food experiences in Japan:

Kuro Tomago // Japanese FoodKuro Tomago // Japanese Food

// Kuro Tamago (Black Eggs), Hakone
If there’s one thing to try before you die, make it something that, according to legend, adds 7 years to your life. High up in Hakone, with sweeping views across Lake Ashinoko to Mt Fuji, is Japan’s very own fountain of youth. Kuro Tamago – ‘black eggs’ – are boiled in Hakone’s sulphuric hot springs, turning their shells black. The taste? “You can definitely taste the sulphur,” says Quinn. A small price to pay…

Ticket Machine Ramen // Japanese FoodTicket Machine Ramen // Japanese Food

// Ticket Machine Ramen, Kyoto
Hidden within the 10th floor of Kyoto Station Building is Kyoto Ramen Koji, an indoor “street” home to some of the best ramen bars in the world. Here’s the deal – line up outside one of the shops, put your money in the machine, select the ramen you want by pressing the button on the machine and take your ticket in. Sit down at communal tables and slurp slurp slurp! In Japan slurping is okay, even expected, and with noodles so good you’ll find it hard not to.

Okonomiyaki // Japanese FoodOkonomiyaki // Japanese Food

// Okonomiyaki, Osaka
You think you know what a pancake is? Think again. In Osaka it’s not a pancake unless it’s over an inch and a half thick and bursting at the seams with eggs, cabbage, green onions, pork prawns, squid – the list goes on! Known as “Osaka Soul Food”, drizzle kewpie mayo and tangy otafuku sauce over the top for the ultimate indulgence.

Street Food // Japanese FoodStreet food 1

// Oysters, Miyajima Island (Hiroshima)
Miyajima – “shrine island” – is in Hiroshima Bay, a short ferry from Miyajimaguchi station. Here you’ll find streets of food vendors selling everything from bacon wrapped fish sticks to freshly fried chicken karage, and the local delicacy, Oysters. These are no raw shucked and lemon juiced appetisers, these are big, meaty and barbecued with a range of different toppings. “They were massive and out of this world,” says Khouri, who sampled Oysters topped with melted cheese in true FoodPorn fashion.

Sushi // Japanese FoodSushi // Japanese Food

// Sushi, Tokyo
Okay yes we’ve included sushi after all – but we’re not talking a quick takeaway pack of California Rolls here. We’re talking fresh from the ocean, pure & delicious sushi and sashimi made by the masters. If you’re looking to really get stuck in & hands on a sushi making class is a must. “It’s so much about technique, and order, and skill,” says Quinn, marvelling at the speed at which pieces are produced by sushi chefs, who train on average 8 years. The best part of the class? Eating your own creations.

Explore these 5 finds and more in Taste Japan, a video featuring Quinn and Khouri eating their way around the country. They travelled as guests on Contiki’s Japan Unrivalled trip.

Life’s an adventure – make it count with absolutely #NOREGRETS.

I was so bummed I had to cancel my trip to Japan this year. Have you been before? What was your favourite food while you were there?

Photos courtesy of Contiki.

2 Replies to “Good Eats // Taste Japan – Five Unexpected Food Finds

  1. Takoyaki! We ate takoyaki every day when we were in Osaka, which is the birthplace of takoyaki. One night we found a van parked up in a empty car park. A lady was selling her pickles and organic takoyaki out of her van. She had beer and other snacks too and the locals were sitting on tiny stools and on the ground eating her food. Apparently she came from a farm outside of Osaka and would come to this car park most nights to sell food grown and made there.

    I found my Japanese sushi experience very different to NZ sushi. For starters, rolled sushi is very hard to come by. It’s mostly nigiri sushi and sashimi. Chicken sushi is non-existent.

    If you get a chance, try unagi. It’s super good.

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