So, Japan. I've been talking about it for weeks. I've been dreaming about it for most of my life. Martin and I are sort of obsessed, watching vlogs, sending eachother links (and checking the news for Hakone which is experiencing a slightly-worrying Level 2 Earthquake alert)
One nagging thing that has always stayed on my mind, and come up in conversations when we dreamt of Japan, was not liking the food. I really wanted to try lots of stuff but I hate fish, kind of the basis of most Japanese foods. I'm not going to benefit from trying the finest sushi in that same way Martin is relishing. I also am really sensitive to flavour and there's some stuff that I just do. not. like.
I know I'm not the only one, as Carrie of Wish Wish Wish articulated following her visit to Japan and I didn't want the fear-of-not-liking-stuff to ruin my 'experience of the culture'.
Not only that, but there is a lot of East Asian food that I love, but the trick is finding it. Like with everything else about this trip, I did a heck of a lot of research (as well as some tasting at our favourite Japanese & Sushi restaurant in Notts) and made sure to remember some of the Japanese foods I won't be scared to eat!
1.Agedashi Tofu (Pictured)
This is a little appetizer which, as the name might suggest, is Tofu. It's soft tofu on the inside, and delicious and crispy on the outside. It sits in a little broth which does contain Fish broth, but I can totally deal with and enjoy it, and I generally cannot even sit at the same table as fish comfortably.
I've heard that this is served at little bars called Izakaya which I'm desperate to visit, Yakitori is just a marinated chicken kebab, which seems pretty safe to me.
3. Gyoza (pictured)
They sell these in two of my favourite restaurants and I order them every time. I've made them a few times, too. Gyoza is just a dumpling, fried on one side and steamed the rest of the way. It's generally just chicken or pork and some places do vegetarian, so these are generally a safe option. The worst that could happen is that you order prawn by accident, which I find is the kind of sea food fussy people have the least issue with.
4. Anything 'Tori'
'Tori' is chicken, woohoo! (Tori Katsu Don is the very same as that Chicken Katsu Curry they do at Wagamamas, though the sauce is a richer, more barbecue flavour than the takeaway-curry flavour of Wagamama's.)
Probably more prevalent than Tori Katsu Don is Tonkasu. This is simply a pork cutlet in breadcrumbs on a bed of rice served with sauce. The sauce is generally separate (in my experience) which is perfect for people super sensitive to flavour.
Teppanyaki is just a way of cooking meat, so generally, you can order 'Chicken' or 'pork' etc. It tends to be something that will come with rice or noodles.
This varies from Ramen places that make it all from scratch, or from the little noodle pots in convenience stores. Yup, they're convenience food but they are a classic! in Japan they have a museum dedicated to the magic that is Cup Noodle and an entire museum dedicated to ramen in general. In the case of ramen, I'm probably going to just try and indicate someone else's that looks 'safe'. It can be made with fish broth, but I've had it before and in my experience you can't really taste it.
Pictured is Agedashi Tofu with Rice, Gyoza and Stir Fried Vegetables. I hope this post was helpful & feel free to share any other dishes I should check out in the comments!