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Guide Eating Local—A Guide to Tokyo Specialities

Take a tour of Japanese culture while discovering Tokyo's local specialty foods

Known as the culinary capital of the world, Tokyo is a haven for foodies. And while sushi and ramen top the list, make sure to try some of the local specialties of the area. With everything from Japanese-style savory pancakes to candied rice crackers, you can explore the taste of Tokyo in every bite.

Tips

  • Bring cash—many smaller restaurants don't accept credit cards
  • Arrive early or go during off-hours to avoid long lines at popular restaurants
  • Don't rub your chopsticks together; it's seen as an insult to the establishment

Monjayaki savory pancakes

Get hands-on and make your own Japanese-style savory pancake called monjayaki. This dish is made of chopped vegetables and meat (or fish), with toppings like cheese or bacon. Also known as the Tokyo-style okonomiyaki, monjayaki is a runnier variation of this Japanese pancake.

Fukagawa meshi clam rice

Grab a bite of Tokyo-style fast food for fishermen in Fukagawa. Fukagawa meshi is a dish dating back to the Edo period (1603-1867) and consists of rice topped with a miso-based stew of locally-sourced clams and chopped leeks. Try Fukagawa meshi in spring when the clams are in season.

Yanagawa nabe hot pot

Warm up with a bowl of yanagawa nabe (hot pot). This winter special is made with loach, burdock shavings and egg. Loach is a fish that's been popularly used in Japanese cuisine since the Edo period.

Kaminari okoshi rice puff

If you want something sweet, head to Asakusa for kaminari okoshi. Kaminari okoshi are a sweet rice puff snack made by mixing crispy rice with sugar and syrup. Kaminari okoshi are a popular omiyage (souvenir), and you can find a number of shops near Sensoji Temple selling it.

Ningyoyaki mini cakes

From Tokyo's old doll-making town, try ningyoyaki—fried doll cakes. These small cakes make a great snack or omiyage. Ningyoyaki come in a variety of shapes including birds, pagodas, and Doraemon. They are usually filled with a sweet red bean paste, but you can also find some filled with flavors like chocolate or custard.

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