10 Strange Japanese Dishes in Tokyo
Tokyo is known as the food capital of the world especially when it comes down to strange dishes. These are my 10 strangest dishes in Tokyo especially the raw shark, octopus balls and cold chicken skin.
- Why: Participate in an actual Japanese Awa Odori dance
- Where: Shinjuku Awa Odori [Map]
- Dinner: 5pm - 10:30pm
- Price: All-You-Can-Eat - ¥1,980 Yen ($18 USD) per person
- Phone: +81 3-5363-5120 (English is spoken)
- Website: Click here
- Notes: Make sure to order enough food since the Japanese dance can be very distracting and don't be afraid to be loud.
- Related: Self-fishing restaurant Zauo
My Japanese friends took me to two Izakaya's (Japanese drinking restaurants) in the Shinjuku district in Tokyo where we enjoyed lots of different traditional Japanese dishes. To my suprise, we ended up at an Awa Odori themed restaurant which is a Japanese steet dance festival. We kicked off the party with some Shochu to mizu (Soju with water), a great drink to get you really wasted really fast, Japanese-style!
1. Cold Chicken Skin
Boiled chicken skin served cold, this is an acquired taste.
2. Fried Shrimp
These shrimps you eat in its entirety including head, legs and eyes.
Delicious crispy Japanese fried dumplings, but be careful, these tasty dumplings can be boiling hot.
4. Grilled Squid
Warm, smooth and chewy! One of the best ways to enjoy squid.
5. Caviar Sashimi
Fish egg sacks cut straight out of the fish's belly and served as sashimi.
Very popular Japanese street food; fried doughy octopus balls with mayonnaise and seasoning.
7. Raw Shark
Extremely salty and fishy with an interesting after taste!
8. Japanese Horse Mackerel Tartar
Great tasting fish tartar which comes with the rest of the fish fried.
9. Goya Champuru
A popular Okinawan stir-fry dish of bitter melon, egg and spam.
10. Grilled Stingray
My favorite Japanese snack; grilled stingray with mayonnaise!
As a welcoming gift I was dressed into a Pikachu outfit. Up first was the boiled chicken skin and deep-fried shrimp (which you eat in its entirety). The most delicious thing must have been the massive Gyoza platter which are Japanese deep-fried dumplings. The grilled squid (known as Ika) was warm, smooth and chewy, just the way I like it. The main event started at 9:30pm in which I had to participate in my first Awa Odori, we were instructed to dance in circles around the dinner tables by swinging our arms left and right.
Next, the caviar sashimi, absolutely delicious, these fish egg sacks are probably cut straight out of the fish's belly before being served. Salmon sushi, which were actually maki rolls with raw salmon on top and with tokibo (the giant fish eggs), although not part of my strange 10 dishes but still worth trying. The Japanese Takoyaki balls are the most famous street food in Japan, these delightful balls consist out of fried dough with a piece of octopus, mayonnaise and seasoning on top.
At another Japanese Izakaya across the street I was introduced to more strange dishes like raw shark, Japanese horse mackerel tartar, but my favorite strange dish has to be the grilled stingray which is deliciously crispy and tastes like chewy chips and gets even better when dipped into Japanese mayonnaise. Finally, the Goya Champuru which is a stir-fry of bitter melon, tofu, egg and spam and is very popular on the Japanese tropical island of Okinawa.