Delicious Japanese Street Food

Street food is easy for us to grab when we are on the go. Sold in streets and public places that have a lot of people traffic, these are mostly finger foods or easy to eat viands cheaper than most restaurant meals.  Street food gives us a glimpse of the unique gastronomic delights of a particular country.  It is a great way to get to know cultures and traditional tastes from all around the world.

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Street food has been around for a very long time. During the excavation of the ancient Roman ruins of Pompeii, evidence of street food vendors was found–chickpea soup was a common meal.  In ancient China, street food generally catered to the poor, but the wealthy usually sent their servants out to buy street food so they could enjoy it in their own homes. The Aztec marketplaces  showed indications that vendors sold almost 50 kinds of tamales with a broad range of meats such as rabbit, gopher, fish, turkey, frog, and other ingredients such as maize flowers and eggs.

Food stall in Fukuoka. | Luc Byhet

Street food in Japan is a sight to behold, and if only taste buds could sing, they would belt out a tune of delight. Japanese street food is also known as yatai (屋台), the word for a small, mobile food stall.  Fukuoka Street in Fukuoka Prefecture is considered Japan’s street food mecca. Over 150 food stalls riddle the area close to the water–a perfect place to enjoy all the delicious food.

Takoyaki

Some of the more popular street food you can enjoy from  Japan:

Oden –  a Japanese hot pot, popular in winter. You can choose various ingredients such as daikon radishes, boiled eggs, fish cakes, yam cakes, and many more. The recipes, ingredients, sauces, and broths vary by region.

Takoyaki – octopus in a dumpling ball. They are usually made with pickled ginger, okonomiyake sauce, fish shavings, and rich and creamy Japanese mayonnaise.

Takoyaki. | SteFou!

Gyoza – popular in Japanese restaurants all around the world. They are fried dumplings filled with vegetables and meats with a tangy soy-vinegar dipping sauce.

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Yakitori – bite sized pieces of chicken on bamboo skewers, barbecued over a hot charcoal grill.

Okonomiyaki – savory pancake made with a number of ingredients such as meat, flour, eggs, yam, seafood, vegetables, and sometimes even cheese. It is topped with Worcestershire sauce, seaweed flakes, pickled ginger, and Japanese mayonnaise.

Gyoza. | verygreen