Have you ever eaten street food in Japan? They are called yatai (屋台) which literally refers to carts that sell food. Japan is a country rich in festivals, events and sights, it is normal to imagine that more than 200,000 events take place every year in Japan. Festivals like matsuri, hanami and fireworks is one of the opportunities to eat delicious street food.
Street foods are not usually found in ordinary restaurants, but some can be bought at fairs or even made at home with ease. Japanese street foods are based on old dishes from the 20th century or earlier, and can be easily prepared. In this article, we will see the main street dishes found in festivals in Japan.
The substitutes for some street foods that are highlighted in the article, are links that take you to the specific article talking more about that food. Just click to access!
Yaki Imo and cooked
Yaki Imo are sweet potatoes cooked in a wood oven. Trucks and trailers equipped with wood stoves can be found throughout Japan. Trucks can drive around slowly by repeating “yaki imo… yaki imo… yaki imo” on a speaker.
In addition to the sweet potatoes cooked on a wood stove, you will find Jaga Bata, a boiled peeled potato covered with butter. Needless to say, it is common to find French fries, popcorn and other vegetables at street festivals in Japan. Something more extreme is the Onsen tamago, which are eggs that have been boiled in a natural hot spring, or onsen.
Crepes are very popular in Japan, as street food or even specialty stores. It is possible to find sweet and savory crepes of all kinds, they can be in strategic places and tourist spots. It is very common to find small stores, full of models in all its showcase. One of the most popular street foods in Japan.
Okonomiyaki - お好み焼き - They are savory Japanese pancakes stuffed with meat, seafood and vegetables. They can be topped with mayonnaise, katsuobushi, nori, ginger pickles and a sauce similar to tonkatsu sauce. This dish is quite popular throughout Japan and has several regional variations. It can be found easily on the street. Okonomiyaki is one of the most popular street foods in Japan by foreigners.
Dango (団子?) Is a Japanese dumpling made from mochiko (rice flour). It is served on a skewer with 3 or 4 dangos, and is usually eaten with green tea. Dango is a classic dessert that is available in infinite varieties, its texture is similar to mochi. It is very popular in shrines and temples and usually stands out at certain times of the year. During the Mitarashi festival at Shimogamo Shrine, dango is the main offering for the deities.
In addition to dango, any type of mochi it may be a good choice during a festival in Japan, especially at the end of the year.
Senbei and ramune
Senbei they are simple biscuits (or biscuits) made of rice with a variety of sweet and savory flavors. At festivals you will find a fresh and grilled senbei, in the city of Nara tourists buy senbei in order to feed the city's deer.
You can accompany these cookies by having a famous drink called ramune. A lemon soda that comes in a different glass bottle with a little ball on top. This drink is also quite popular at street festivals.
Takoyaki (たこ焼き), literally fried or grilled octopus, is a popular Japanese round dumpling that looks more like a seasoned pancake made with a very soft, almost liquid dough and fried in a special plate. It is quite common to find stalls with these cookies at festivals, cultural fairs and also in specialized places in Takoyaki. Usually it is stuffed with cut pieces of a small whole octopus, zest of tempura (tenkasu), chopped ginger and chives.
- Kare Pan - It is a fried bread stuffed with kare. These are just a few of the many types of bread found at street festivals in Japan;
- Baby Kasutera - miniature-sized Japanese cake that ends with a bite;
Shioyaki and things on a spit
Fish baked on a skewer (usually mackerel). It tends to be more salty than salt itself. In addition to grilled fish, it is worth mentioning another popular street food called Ikayaki, which are grilled squid.
To go deeper into the skewer, let's mention some dishes on the skewer as chocobanana consisting of a banana covered with chocolate and confetti on a stick. We also have grilled corn with miso, butter and soy sauce on a skewer called Tomorokoshi. Even cucumbers did not escape and can be found on the skewer with miso paste by the name of Kyuri. Not to mention several yakitori or other things on the spit.
Taiyaki is a sweet (or salty) cake made with dough, water and yeast ... It is usually stuffed with sweet red bean paste (azuki) and grilled in a shape shaped like snapper fish. Taiyaki is basically a normal fish-shaped pancake or waffle. It is placed on a grid with mold on both sides. It is quite similar to those Swiss crepes. It may contain sweet and savory fillings!
Other street foods in Japan
Finally, I must mention the traditional and famous fried yakisoba noodles that are grilled and found on the street all over Japan. Remember that the traditional ramen they can also be found at street vendors and festivals. There are thousands of other street foods in Japan, if you remember any, you can list them in the comments. We appreciate comments and shares. xD