Tokyo Food Guide – Kelly’s Top 3 Meals (of the 50 things she wanted to try in Japan)

We spent 3 days in Tokyo. I had over 50 types of food on my list to try in Japan, and I’m offering my top 3 meals here.

Egg on a stick, Strawberry Mochi, Sushi, Ramen, Yakitori, and more…

Japan is a foodie’s paradise. As of 2018, Tokyo continues to hold the top spot as the city with the most Michelin stars in the world. Michelin stars aside, you won’t be disappointed eating in “starless” establishments. The Japanese culture of perfection and honing their craft creates the best of anything you can imagine.

1. Breakfast

Tsukiji Fish Market

Start your day off bright and early at the Tsukiji Market. The hustle and bustle vibe of the market will definitely wake you up. The variety (sushi, tempura, ramen, yakitori, tamago, fresh fruit, sweets) is fantastic, and the price point is right (dishes for as low as 100 Yen, about $1.20 CDN). It allows for a buffet of sampling!

What we ate:

My favorite items were egg on a stick, strawberry daifuku (mochi), and sushi. I’ve heard of others being disappointed with the tamago on a stick because it’s just eggs. Yes, it is, but there’s something about its simplicity and the technique of how it’s cooked. The strawberry daifuku is the sweetest little strawberry wrapped in your choice of filling (my fave is custard cream) and then enclosed in a soft gooey mochi. And the sushi – fresh and melt in your mouth. Enough said.

Nomtip:
Go early to avoid the crowds. But even with the crowds, the lines move. Don’t worry, you will be able to get all of your eating in!

The Verdict:

A must visit if you’re going to Tokyo for the first time. And already on my list to go back to!  

Directions to Tsukiji Fish Market/Outer Market

5 Chome-2-1 Tsukiji, Chuo City, Tōkyō-to 104-0045, Japan

2. Lunch

Tatsunoya

Ramen. You can’t go to Japan without eating ramen. I’ll be honest, for the first few days of our trip, we were pretty disappointed with the ramen. It was good, but not amazing. Maybe it’s an expectation versus reality thing, but I was expecting to be mind blown (because, Japan). And it wasn’t until the last day that we found the spot.

What we ate:

They serve the noodles/toppings and broth separately. The proper way to eat this is to dip each bite of noodles into the broth, and then slurp away. I tried the standard pork broth ramen and added an egg to my dish. The broth and noodles were like nothing that I’ve ever had before. We instantly knew we found the spot with our first slurps.

Nomtip:
This tiny restaurant seats 18, so expect a line and for it to be busy. We got there just after they opened, and only waited about 5 mins to get in.

The Verdict:

Go!!! It’s been 3 months, and I’m still dreaming of the day I get to eat this again.

Directions to Tatsunoya

7-chōme-4-5 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku City, Tōkyō-to 160-0023, Japan

3. Dinner

Yakitori Alley, Memory Lane

Meat – good. Meat on a stick – even better. Enter yakitori (aka grilled meat on a stick).  Yakitori Alley is a strip full of tiny restaurants that just serve yakitori. These restaurants seat about 6-12 people (but often have a 2nd floor that could seat another 6-12). You can get a variety of protein, and spend hours eating meat and drinking beer, ending the night with a pile of sticks in front of you.

What we ate:

Two items that I was surprised that I loved as much as I did was the chicken meatballs and chicken skin.

Nomtip:
Wear something that you’re not going to wear again on the trip. Being in a tiny restaurant, sitting in front of an open grill, in an enclosed space – you’re going to be yakitori hot-boxed.

The Verdict:

A must visit if it’s your first time in Tokyo. I have never experienced this anywhere else in the world, it’s very quintessential Japan.

Directions to Yakitori Alley, Memory Lane

Japan, 〒160-0023 Tōkyō-to, Shinjuku City, 新宿区Nishishinjuku, 1-chōme−4, 西新宿オーク

BONUS Nomtip:
One of the best places to eat is at 7-11. I know, what? But it’s a known fact that you can eat well and for cheap there. One of my favorite things that I ate in ALL OF Japan was onigiri (about 100 Yen or $1.20 CDN) from 7-11. These little triangles come in a variety of fillings (salmon, tuna, pickled plum, and my favorite – spicy shrimp mayo). The filling is wrapped in rice, and seaweed on the outside (the most brilliant wrapping keeps the seaweed fresh and crispy until you eat it). I’d happily eat onigiri for any meal, all day, every day. A definite must try in Japan!

Trip Summary

I hope you enjoyed my top 3 meals from Tokyo. It’s a good itinerary if you’re limited on time and just want to hit the best places (well, according to me). These 3 alone makes me want to go back to experience it all over again.

Have a suggestion? Comment below to provide any additional tips!

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Kelly N
Kelly N.

Local Calgarian. Eating enthusiast (obvi). Pro vacationer (to eat). Side hustles as a barre and yoga instructor (to keep the eating in check). Follow me on Instagram @iamkellyngo

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