Five Foods to Budget for in Japan
Each country has its own unique set of flavors, textures, and enjoyable combinations of food. Japan is no exception. When your staples are rice and seafood, other meats can be a rarity in Japan. This makes things like eggs, Katsu and steak quite valuable assets. The following are five dishes that are worth the effort to budget simply because there is nothing else like them anywhere else in the world. Don’t miss out!
Item number one: a steak dinner. Japan is known for the rich buttery flavor of its beef. These succulent cuts of high-grade beef are known as Wagyu. The marbling that goes into these graded pieces of beef are what give it its high range of flavor, butter-like texture, and an experience like no other. “Wa” means “Japan” and “Gyu” means “cow”. While Kobe beef is the most well-known type of wagyu outside of Japan, there are actually many different kinds of Japanese beef. Don’t miss out!
*Only Spain boasts better beef than Japan. These are specialty breeds and cuts that have been manicured over hundreds of years with special techniques that are only available to the Connoisseur. We mere mortals are lucky to be getting our hands on a cut. Since Japan saves the best for its own people, being in Japan is the best place to get this.
Item number two: Katsu is the Japanese version of German schnitzel. Both foods are deep-fried pieces of meat pounded extremely thin, covered in breadcrumbs, and then deep-fried. Making them beyond delicious. It doesn’t hurt that both get covered in scrumptious gravy and sided with things like french fries. All of this makes them a high-calorie but oh so worth it dinner or lunch.
*If you’re having trouble finding a katsu on a menu, feel free to try to translate from English into Japanese. Or, look for the fried section and then look for the words in English if the restaurant provides an English menu.
Item number three: Curry is another one of those things that you can’t really get anywhere else. Though all of Asia has its own flavor and derivatives of curry, Japan has a unique one all to itself. Unlike Korean or Taiwanese curries, Japan’s usually does not have a coconut base, is not usually runny, and is often not put over rice. It also doesn’t contain a lot of vegetables or fruit. So in that sense it’s a lot like Indian curries: mostly spices, potatoes and whatever makes the creamy base. The difference here is that Japanese curries are extremely mild in comparison to their Indian counterparts. One could even go as far as to say that it’s nothing like any curry you’ve ever tried from anywhere else in Asia. That’s what makes this the third most important thing to get on your list when you go to Japan.
Item number four: The bento box. These lunch-style meals can contain an array of different side items, main dishes, sweets and savories. The one thing that you don’t want to miss out on is actually buying one. They are inexpensive in and of themselves. Choosing what it is that you are looking for, enjoying the aspects of difference possible combinations of side items and main entrees, all wrapped up in a pretty little box to take with you on your picnic lunch or back to your hotel, makes these an extra special treat.
*The variety of Bento is endless, so even if you are a vegetarian this is an option for you.
Item number five: Ramen is not the Top Ramen that you have tasted here in America. It’s a downright delicacy in Japan. Much like German beers, ramen houses in Japan have their own individual taste. Each place makes unique combinations of flavors and styles. And there is something to be said for the ramen noodles themselves. Even when exported, the ramen here is nothing like Japan. More than the flavors, the types of bowls, the eggs and meats, the noodles are something you can get nowhere else. I would fly to Japan just to have another bowl of ramen. It’s that good, making this the number one thing that we recommend you budget for on your Japanese trip.
*Ramen is the only thing “cheap” thing on this list. A typical bowl of ramen will run you less than $10 even at dinner time. This is highly worth it.
What are the top five things you would splurge to eat in Japan? Don’t froget to budget them in! Comment below.