Eating in Tokyo is a feast for the senses. With 230 Michelin starred restaurants in the city, it is undeniably one of the best places to travel if you’re looking to fill your belly, but it doesn’t have to cost you a fortune. Some of the best food in Tokyo is found in the alleyways, hidden izakayas, and local markets.
Expert Travellers Izabella Lusty and Jo Coleiro recently ate their way across the city and discovered that Tokyo “is the place to get out of your comfort zone when it comes to food.” Here are some of their favourite must-try dishes in Tokyo:
You can’t go to Tokyo without eating ramen! No matter the season, it’s always a comforting meal. A hearty soup full of silky hand pulled noodles and stick to your ribs broth full of richness and flavour, this is a dish eponymous with Japan and one you can’t leave without trying.
Jo’s Tip: “We went to one of the local establishments, and our taste buds are still thanking us”
Tokyo is a pastry lovers dream. Rather than traditionally sweet desserts that Western palates are accustomed to, pastries in Japan are full of natural flavours, contrasting textures and over-the-top creations that get your mouth watering.
Iza’s Tip: “Make sure you sample the many desserts Tokyo has to offer! The textures and colours of these desserts are what make them unique. Don’t leave without trying red bean filled mochi, fried custard, or melonpan”
Okonomiyaki is a savoury Japanese pancake that originates in Hiroshima and is available throughout Japan. The main ingredient is cabbage and you can top it with a variety of options from pork belly to seafood. It’s part pizza, part pancake and that’s a combination we are all here for.
Jo’s Tip: “We chose mussels and it was DELICIOUS!”
Is there anything more quintessentially Japanese than Sushi? Ok, there’s a few, but this is one of our favourite things to try in Tokyo. With the freshest of seafood and Chefs who have dedicated their lives to perfecting the art of sushi-making, you simply cannot leave Tokyo without having a roll or five.
Iza’s Tip: “You must go to Sushi Dai at the Toyosu Fish Market. They only take 18 people at a time, it is a 10-course dégustation menu and chef’s choice! They also have vegetarian options.”
Visit Tsukiji Fish Market
Reopened in 2019, theTsukiji Fish Market has long been a favourite of tourists and locals alike and is a great place to sample a variety of seafood, desserts and Japanese street food. It is found in almost every guidebook around so despite being newly re-opened, a hidden gem it is not. There will be crowds and lines but it is also fun, lively and a great way to experience Tokyo.
Jo’s Tip: “The best time to visit Tsukiji Fish market was just after sunrise when there are less crowds and when sushi starts being served alongside a variety of seafood breakfasts. Trust us, it’s delicious”