Tokyo Food Sampler

Often one of the challenges with traveling is ordering food.  The menu is filled with strange items, and written in a different language. Thankfully, most of the menus in Tokyo included pictures, but that didn't always help.  Seeing a green glazed donut one morning we expected it to taste like green tea, but it was seaweed instead. 

Despite that odd donut, Tokyo had such a huge range of interesting and tasty foods.  Some of the best things we ate, we never even knew what they were. If you find a bunch of locals lined up to buy something, try it out, chances are it will be worth the wait.

Sushi!

Since Japan is the contemporary inventor of sushi, we had very high expectations, and were not disappointed. Sushi restaurants were everywhere, each one with a colorful chart showing the varieties of sushi and their prices posted outside the door.  

Despite the trouble we had figuring out how to order, everything was great. The nice couple sitting next to us even shared some warm sake with us.

Despite the trouble we had figuring out how to order, everything was great. The nice couple sitting next to us even shared some warm sake with us.

Beth loved the eel sushi, which she said had a delicate and very different flavor from the eel sushi back home.

Beth loved the eel sushi, which she said had a delicate and very different flavor from the eel sushi back home.

Near the Tsukiji fish market, we found a small sushi restaurant hidden in an alley. The tuna and salmon were so fresh and incredible.

Near the Tsukiji fish market, we found a small sushi restaurant hidden in an alley. The tuna and salmon were so fresh and incredible.

Street Festival Food, Japanese Style

After New Year's many people visit the Senso-ji shrine in Asakusa for good luck in the coming year. The large number of visitors means that the area is packed with people, and of course street food.

This was a delicious, tangy omelet on a stick with a great balsamic sauce, red cabbage, and mayonnaise-like sauce.

This was a delicious, tangy omelet on a stick with a great balsamic sauce, red cabbage, and mayonnaise-like sauce.

These grilled fish on a stick were everywhere. Neither of us were brave enough to try them though.

These grilled fish on a stick were everywhere. Neither of us were brave enough to try them though.

This was one of the best things that I ate in Tokyo. Rice on a stick wrapped in bacon, and grilled with a sweet sauce.

This was one of the best things that I ate in Tokyo. Rice on a stick wrapped in bacon, and grilled with a sweet sauce.

Takoyaki are battered balls that can be filled with a variety of fillings, including octopus, green onion, and ginger.

Takoyaki are battered balls that can be filled with a variety of fillings, including octopus, green onion, and ginger.

It was cool to watch the skill and dexterity of the Takoyaki cooks. They quickly flipped the battered balls over, or off to the side when done, using only chopsticks.

It was cool to watch the skill and dexterity of the Takoyaki cooks. They quickly flipped the battered balls over, or off to the side when done, using only chopsticks.

Sweet cakes are cooked into cute shapes and then flipped to the side. 

Sweet cakes are cooked into cute shapes and then flipped to the side. 

Beth loved these little fried cakes filled with different bean pastes. 

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    These skewered sweet cakes, called “kibidango,” are made from powdered millet and rice flour and dusted with sugar and soybean flour. We paired this with a cup of hot sweet sake...divine.

These skewered sweet cakes, called “kibidango,” are made from powdered millet and rice flour and dusted with sugar and soybean flour. We paired this with a cup of hot sweet sake...divine.

All kinds of great sweets were available from rice candies to dipped bananas. Here strawberries and other fruits are dipped in a sweet glaze.

All kinds of great sweets were available from rice candies to dipped bananas. Here strawberries and other fruits are dipped in a sweet glaze.

Other Tasty Treats

Beyond the street food and sushi, here are few of the other things we enjoyed.

To celebrate New Year's, the staff at our hostel made traditional Mochi one night. These Japanese rice cakes are topped with a variety of sauces, but you have to eat them before they solidify. The gooey texture was a bit odd, but still tasty. 

To celebrate New Year's, the staff at our hostel made traditional Mochi one night. These Japanese rice cakes are topped with a variety of sauces, but you have to eat them before they solidify. The gooey texture was a bit odd, but still tasty. 

Japanese ramen includes a rich flavorful broth, that could be a meal in itself, mixed with noodles and a variety of other things, like eggs, pork, bean sprouts and green onion.

Japanese ramen includes a rich flavorful broth, that could be a meal in itself, mixed with noodles and a variety of other things, like eggs, pork, bean sprouts and green onion.

7-11 had an odd range of foods and other things on sale. From de-hydrated/puffed french fries, to octopus jerky, to this oddly labeled bag of chips. You could even buy packaged dress shirts and ties.

7-11 had an odd range of foods and other things on sale. From de-hydrated/puffed french fries, to octopus jerky, to this oddly labeled bag of chips. You could even buy packaged dress shirts and ties.