Tokyo, Japan is one of the most popular food destinations around the world. Street food is cheap, fresh, and made right in front of you. Tokyo is considered to be the capital of dining in the foodie community. This city will keep your stomach filled at any time of the day. Tokyo has over 160,000 restaurants and thousands of choices to choose from, but what if you are traveling on a budget? Tokyo has you covered when it comes to saving money on food, you can easily fill your tummy with $5 and get the main dish as well as the dessert. All we can say is – be prepared to eat a lot.
Where to eat street food in Tokyo
For all the foodies traveling to Tokyo, Japan is a dream come true. With thousands of dishes to try Japanese street food is known to be cheap, fresh, and unique.
-Head to Yanaka Ginza Shotengai, this shopping street is filled with little stores where you can try local foods and drinks. It is the longest shopping street and it contains around 400 shops.
-Go to Harajuku, this city is known for its pop culture with many fun and interesting places. Don’t forget to try Zaku Zaku ice cream made out from custard. If you haven’t had enough sweets visit the Totti Candy Factory and try the rainbow cotton candy.
-For old fashioned Japanese sweets go to the Nakamise Dori, here you can try Kokonoe the deep-fried red bean cake, Kibi Dango sweets, and matcha tea.
–Ameya Yokocha flea market is a 500 m long street offering not only Japanese but also Chinese, Turkish, Korean, and Thai foods as well.
-The Ameyoko open-air market has around 180 shops where you can purchase fresh seafood dishes, fried foods, and sweets.
Foods you should try
You will not be able to leave Japan without trying at least one of the many ramen dishes, but Japanese street food is so much more than that. Here are some must-try street food dishes during your stay in Tokyo:
Okonomiyaki – or known as the “leftover” pancake, consists of pancake batter, lettuce, egg, bacon, and seafood or meat;
Tamagoyaki – Japanese rolled omelet, a perfect breakfast dish;
Yakitori – chicken or seafood skewer with vegetables;
Taiyaki – fish-shaped cake filled with chocolate, custard or savory cheese;
Kyuri – simple but very refreshing, this dish is a cucumber on a stick, it usually serves with miso paste, it will surprise you how tasty a cucumber can be;
Dorayaki – soft sponge cake filled with red bean paste;
Anpan – this pastry dates back to 1875, it is a small soft roll filled with changing fillings, it’s said that it was first made by a samurai;
Tako Tamago – it is a small baby octopus filled with quail’s egg inside its head;
Sesame dumplings – with tens of flavors to try you will definitely enjoy this tiny little treat;
Mochi – one of the most popular snacks available. Mochi is little rice cakes that are filled with fillings such as – jam, red bean paste, and even ice-cream.
Is it safe to eat street food?
When you are shopping in a store it is easy to read all the ingredients and nutrients on packaged foods. When it comes to purchasing street food in Tokyo without any Japanese knowledge you might want to stick to basics and to the foods you can recognize. As Tokyo is a touristic city many of the shop owners have basic knowledge of English, if they do, they will always try to meet your dietary needs and modify the dish to your liking. Travelers with food allergies and dietary restrictions may find it a little bit hard to navigate the street food scene in Japan. No one wants to get sick on their holidays, especially with food poisoning. In Tokyo safety and sanitary conditions should not be an issue, it will depend more on what your stomach can handle. We recommend getting travel insurance and knowing your emergency numbers while abroad. In the case of an emergency, the hotel staff will always be happy to help you.
Don’t be afraid to experiment and discover new foods in Japan, stick to well-cooked meals, and stay away from raw meats and other ingredients to avoid food poisoning.