Dishes to Die for: A Taste of Tokyo

By: Katie Manning

March 3, 2013

It’s undeniable, and perhaps unsurprising for the largest city in the world, that Tokyo is a utopia for food-lovers. The capital of Japan has been awarded more Michelin stars than any other city, by far, and its street food is simply incredible. In recognition of the array of culinary skills on offer, we’ve picked out a few of our favourite dishes and delicacies to eat on touchdown in Tokyo”¦

Umi Budo

Uni Budo | TokyoUmi Budo © Jetalone

Sea Grapes’ might not sound like the most appetising dish on the planet, but these tiny jewels (otherwise known as green caviar) are succulent, highly nutritious and native to the Okinawa region of Japan. We warn you, however, this speciality seaweed can be mightily addictive”¦


Tonkatsu | Tokyo

Tonkatsu © Mike Saechang

Breaded, deep-fried pork cutlet. There’s not one word of that description that we’re not on board with. Tonkatsu, well done, should be crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, smothered in a sweet, sticky sauce and served with shredded cabbage.


Wagyu | Tokyo

Wagyu burgers © Jordan Sim

Don’t be put off by the intense marbling that you’ll find in all forms of Wagyu beef – as well as being high in Omega-3 and 6, this is meat like you’ve never tasted before.  Have it any which way – if it’s Wagyu, it will be butter-soft and seriously delicious.


Takoyaki | Tokyo

Takoyaki © Matt Biddulph

One of our favourite Tokyo snacks has to be Takoyaki. These grilled or fried balls of octopus, pickled ginger and spring onions, are best served hot and straight from the pan of one of the many local street vendors.


Okonomiyaki | Tokyo

Okonomiyaki © avlxyz

Okonomiyaki, loosely translated as something along the lines of “˜as you like’ and “˜grilled’, this fat savoury pancake can contain pretty much any ingredient you want, but, much like an omelette, certain combinations tend to be more popular. We suggest being creative”¦


Warabimochi1©Charles_Haynes.jpgWarabimochi © Charles Haynes 

Although this is quite different from the original “˜mochi’ (made with pudding rice), Warabimochi is where our heart truly lies. Not only does it look fantastic, but this jelly-like sweet snack, (rolled in kinako soy powder), is heavenly to taste. 


Kabayaki | Tokyo

Kabayaki © littlesam. Image used under license from

We think Kabayaki, unagi eel that’s been filleted, butterflied, dipped in a sweet soy sauce and then grilled, is one of our favourite Tokyo dishes – the intense smoky flavour is delicious and it’s super nutritious to boot!


Katie Manning

Katie is an author for the Virgin Atlantic blog. Despite her urban London residency, Katie can often be found exploring far-flung corners of the globe in search of exciting new experiences and stories. A self-confessed night-owl, she makes it her mission to search out the best cocktail bars and live music venues on each and every expedition. Follow Katie @kt_saramanning

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