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Yakitori, chicken grilled on skewers (the less adventurous type should take care in ordering — yakitori chefs pride themselves on using every available part of the chicken), is the fast food of Japanese cuisine. The skewered chicken is lightly dipped in barbecue sauce and grilled. Some restaurants may also grill various vegetables. Cold beer is […]

Western Dining

You’ve traveled halfway around the world, you’re cranky and tired, you need something comforting. Lo and behold, there it is: the Golden Arches. Yes, they do have McDonald’s in Tokyo (in our experience, it’s the cheapest orange juice in town). And Kentucky Fried Chicken. And a host of other popular chains. Be warned, however, that […]


Unagi is eel, and can be had as sushi, grilled, or broiled. Unagi is considered by many Japanese to be health food. Grilled unagi is often consumed on the hottest days of the year for its ability to revitalize strength. Unagi is also served in sushi form. Restaurants that specialize in unagi can be identified […]


Tonkatsu is a breaded and fried pork cutlet, generally no more than two centimeters thick. It is served with a sauce reminiscent of Worcestershire sauce or a spicy mustard. Some restaurants fancy the dish up a bit by placing cheese or other ingredients (including, rumor has it, a chocolate bar) between slices of the meat […]


Essentially, a teppanyaki restaurant is a Japanese steakhouse with American roots. While you don’t always get the Westernized showmanship of a Benihana’s, this type of restaurant does focus on preparation and presentation. Steaks are cooked on a hot grill and served immediately.


Tempura are foods that have been deep fried after being dipped in a batter. The result is light and delicate (and incredibly hot — be prepared). Good tempura is not greasy. Tempura is fried food that doesn’t leave you feeling like you need a long nap. Though generally consumed without additional seasonings, some prefer a […]

Sushi and Sashimi

Sushi and its kissing cousin, sashimi, are the most well-known of Japanese foods. While many people feel uncomfortable with the idea of eating raw fish, this squeamishness disappears after a first encounter with meguro (tuna). Sashimi is just the seafood while sushi can have a variety of other ingredients, along with rice. Traditionally a finger […]


Sukiyaki is imilar to shabu-shabu, except the broth is made of soy sauce and sake. This noodle-based dish is popular in Japan and the United States. Traditionally, diners take what they want from the pot, and dip the food in raw egg before consuming (this step can be skipped, if you desire). As with other […]


From the invigorating miso soup to the various broths, soups comprise a major component of the Japanese diets. Soups are served in small covered bowls. Rather than using spoons, diners drink the broth directly from the bowl and use chopsticks to eat solid foods. Miso soup, a staple of the Japanese breakfast, generally has a […]


Shabu-shabu is familiar to Western diners, though it is part of the nabemono-style of cooking. As with other nabe meals, the shabu-shabu experience is characterized by a cooking pot on the table, with customers choosing their own ingedients and cooking them on the spot. Diners dip thinly slieced meats such as beef or chicken in […]