While sushi, ramen, and tempura are the most popular Japanese food, Japan also offers interesting dishes that will make you raise your eyebrows and scratch your head. Japan does not shy away from serving its unique Japanese meals on your plate whether in a nice restaurant or at a street food stall. Ready to put a twist on your Japan trip? Here are the weirdest dishes you can try in Japan.
This Japanese appetizer is fermented bits of squid that are pickled in the creature’s innards.
Inago no Tsukudani
Wonder what rice grasshoppers cooked in soy sauce tastes like? Yes, it probably never crossed your mind, but this could be your afternoon snack in Japan. Bug-eating appears to be common in Japan. Giant water bugs, bee larvae, and ants could end up inside someone’s belly.
If you’re eating sandwiches and pasta in Japan, take a closer look at what’s inside. It could be uni, or in English, “sea urchin gonads.” Gonads produce the milt or the seminal fluid of fish and other animals living in the water.
Ikura looks like red pearls or super small cherries from a distance, but this is red caviar or fish eggs from a salmon. And this is surely rich in Omega-3 fatty acids.
Shirouo no Odorigui
Prepare your mouth for these small transparent fish (shirouo) that are “dancing while being eaten” (odorigui). They’re alive in a bowl, swimming around the yolk of a quail egg in vinegar.
If you want something a bit different from your typical fried chicken, try nankotsu. In English, nankotsu means “chicken cartilage.” It’s deep-fried and can be served with a squeeze of lemon.
If you think this sticky, slimy Japanese food comes from the innermost part of an animal, relax. This is soybean fermented in rice straw and known for its health benefits.
You avoid bee stings but did you know that you can eat baby bees? Hachinoko is actually dried baby bees. They’re crunchy, sweet, and have a smoky aftertaste.
You would think that only an apocalypse would make us search for food at the bottom of a river, but Japan already has zazamushi. It is a general term referring to a group of larvae living at the bottom of a river and cooked as a delectable meal. Zazamushi can be any kind of insects.
Shirako, which means “white children”, is a cod’s sperm sac. It can be eaten raw or cooked in Japan.
This is thin slices of horse meat served in the form of sashimi. Originally from Kumamoto prefecture, basashi can be ordered in several restaurants and sushi places. Horse meat is also cooked together with soy sauce and garlic. Sakura Nabe, or horse meat hot pot, and Sakura Natto, horse meat with natto, are other dishes to try.
Motsunabe soup’s main ingredient is beef innards, that are described as too soft that it can melt in the mouth. The mixture also has tofu, cabbage, and garlic chives.
Beef tongue BBQ to be exact. The meat is cut into thin slices and cooked over charcoal. Some describe it as tender and flavorful.
Known as Okinawan snake wine, habushu is basically a habu snake inside a liquor bottle. How is it made? You can drown the snake in the alcohol or soak it in alcohol already frozen and gutted.
Ready for your Japanese food adventure? Access high-speed internet with Japan Prepaid 4G SIM Card as you go from one place to another.
*Featured image by K321 on Shutterstock