Noodles Galore (Ramen/Soba/Udon)
Apart from all the fast food options in Japan, there’s plenty of authentic local fare to sample. Noodles are a staple of many restaurants in Japan. There’s usually more noodles than you can shake a stick at. And there not very expensive at less than ¥1000 in most cases.
Ramen is the “pulled noodles” that are long and flat with a medium thickness. Often the ramen is a bit on the curly side and not straight. Ramen can be flavoured with miso, shio, and other soup bases. Some come with wonderfully oozing soft boiled eggs and a slice of meat.
Soba is a round and long noodle. It’s not a very thick noodle. Soba can come in soup. There’s yakisoba which is fried soba. There’s also zaru soba which is a soba dish served cold with wasabi and dashi stock.
Udon is a thick, round, and white noodle. Udon is mostly found in soup in my experience. It’s even the subject and title of one of my favourite Japanese movies.
These wonderful chewy octopus balls hail from Osaka. Little chunks of octopus are diced up and placed inside little balls of flower. There is usually also slices of ginger and green onions. Takoyaki is commonly slathered with okonomiyaki sauce (a savour sauce) and mayonnaise (gives a sweet tartness to it). However, you can even have cheese and other sauces if you so choose. The sky’s the limit when it comes to the variety of takoyaki found in Japan.
Okonomiyaki is what I commonly refer to as “Japanese Pancakes”. The name doesn’t even begin to describe the variety found in this dish. It’s basic ingredient is flour and egg mixed together, but what you put on top of it or mix inside with the flour and egg can be almost anything. We’ve had okonomiyaki topped with giant chucks of leek with slices of beef. We’ve had more plain ones with just sauce slathered on top. Okonomiyaki is also another famous dish that originated in Osaka.
Sushi in Japan can be very expensive, but you can sometimes stumble upon a cheaper place. I didn’t expect to find an all you can eat place in Japan, but we did. It was the one with the little conveyor belts floating the restaurant wares in front of our eyes at about a few inches a second. We did pretty well in this one sushi place on the busy Shinsaibashi-suji stretch. What a find!