Stop Ordering These 10 Basic Dishes At Japanese Restaurants, Try These 10 Instead

Stop Ordering These 10 Basic Dishes At Japanese Restaurants, Try These 10 Instead

If you've taken a liking to Japanese cuisine, we're here to tell you that there's more to it than meets the eye. Instead of ordering the same California Roll and edamame combo, why not try something different? Japanese cuisine is rich and expansive - there are so many unique and delicious dishes for you to try! Here are 10 basic dishes we suggest you stop ordering so that you can try these 10 next time instead.

1. California Roll

Did you know the California Roll isn't traditionally Japanese and is actually an American invention? While it is a tasty and popular roll you can easily find at any Japanese restaurant in the US, maybe it's time to jump outside your comfort zone to explore more authentic flavours.

California-Shrimp-Roll-6050079 1280Image by douglas miller from Pixabay

2. Teriyaki Chicken

Another dish often found in westernized Japanese restaurants, teriyaki chicken is a fan favourite that actually isn't something you'd find much in Japan. The sauce is much sweeter and heavier in America, and is made to please Western palates. 

Tomoyo-S-Vhuc3Z2O8Vq-UnsplashPhoto by Tomoyo S on Unsplash

3. Tempura Ice Cream

While tempura is a traditional Japanese technique, the tempura ice cream you might find at some Japanese restaurants in America, is not. It's more of a novelty dessert item! Maybe it's worth trying some more traditional and unique desserts like mochi or dorayaki.

Ice-Cream-7160486 1280Image by Lidiya Filatova from Pixabay

4. Spicy Tuna Roll

Spicy Tuna Rolls are up there as one of the most popular rolls to order, and while it's true that they're super tasty, they don't exactly showcase the natural flavours of the fish. Oftentimes, the spicy mayo sauce is too heavy, overshadowing the quality and flavour of the seafood.

Sushi-2608314 1280Image by Tesa Robbins from Pixabay


5. Philadelphia Roll

No roll is more American than the ones with cream cheese in it! The Philadelphia Roll is another example of an Americanized sushi option that isn't found traditionally in Japanese sushi cuisine. The flavour is a bit overpowering, transforming the fresh fish into something else entirely.

Sushi-5313172 1280Image by petrovhey from Pixabay

6. Chicken Yakisoba

Chicken yakisoba is a common Japanese-style fried noodle dish that you can easily find on the menu. Its flavours appeal to a wide variety of audiences, making it clear why it's a popular pick. But next time, maybe it's time to try some lesser-known but equally delicious noodle dishes like soba!

Yakisoba-2470654 1280Image by Van Machado from Pixabay

7. Dragon Roll

Topped with avocado and eel sauce, The Dragon Roll is arguably one of the most ordered specialty rolls around (maybe because it's got such a cool name!). This American-style sushi definitely packs a punch in the flavour department, but it's definitely more about the visual appeal than the traditional sushi flavours.

1024Px-Dragon Roll (16213715013)Prayitno / Thank you for (12 millions +) view from Los Angeles, USA on Wikimedia Commons

8. Edamame with Salt

Edamame is a beloved starter thanks to its simplicity. However, we might argue, maybe it's a little too simple? It's a dish so common, it might be preventing some customers from exploring other more unique appetizers.

Crystal-Jo-Ukt3X B5Pqs-UnsplashPhoto by Crystal Jo on Unsplash

9. Gyoza

Gyoza are Japanese pan-fried dumplings that are delicious, but can easily be found in many other Asian cuisines too with slight variations. If you want to get to know Japanese cuisine a bit more, it might be more worth ordering something you've never tried before.

Reeet-Jank-Yhsejvrqw58-UnsplashPhoto by REEET JANK on Unsplash

10. Katsu Don

Katsu Don is a bowl of steaming rice topped with breaded pork cutlet, egg, and onions. It's a comfort staple in Japan that you definitely should try once! But instead of ordering it over and over again, we encourage trying other types of donburis - there are so many to try, from beef to unagi!

Tayawee-Supan-Gpvx2Czdu Q-UnsplashPhoto by Tayawee Supan on Unsplash


1. Unagi Don

Speaking of dons, one you absolutely need to try is the iconic and luxurious unagi don - grilled eel! Glazed with a sweet and savory sauce that perfectly complements the bed of steamed rice, this dish is a must try. Everything tastes so balanced and the delicate texture and rich flavour of the eel is excellently highlighted.

Xavier-Chng-Lvksnxfycii-UnsplashPhoto by Xavier Chng on Unsplash

2. Chikuzenni

That's definitely a difficult word to say, but it's worth experiencing the bit of embarrassment butchering the word while ordering to try it! Chikuzenni is a traditional Japanese braised dish that's made with a variety of ingredients like chicken, root vegetables, and shiitake mushrooms. Flavoured by its soy sauce-based broth, this is one hearty dish that will warm your soul.

Chikuzen-Nipelican on Wikimedia Commons

3. Omurice

Part omelet, part fried rice, what's not to love? A comforting meal that'll taste just like mom's cooking, omurice has taken the world by storm thanks to its delicious taste and fun preparation. If you ever get a chance to watch a chef prepare this dish, you'll be in awe of their skill. Who knew cooking eggs could be a talent?

Omurice By TaimeikenKanesue on Wikimedia Commons

4. Nikujaga

Made with meat (typically beef), potatoes, onions, and sometimes carrots, Nikujaga is the epitome of a heartwarming stew. Simmered in sweetened soy sauce, you'll be surprised by how flavourful the dish is. The Japanese definitely have a knack for balancing simplicity with depth!

Braised Pork And Potatoes (3089327692)Yumi Kimura from Yokohama, JAPAN on Wikimedia Commons

5. Hamachi Kama

Hamachi Kama is grilled yellowtail collar, a luxurious dish that's renowned for its tender, fatty meat. Often served with a side of soy sauce for dipping, this is one simple dish that'll show you the power of natural flavours.

1024Px-Hamachi KamaRightCowLeftCoast on Wikimedia Commons

6. Takoyaki

One of Japan's most popular street snacks, takoyaki is a must try! Made from a flour-based batter that's stuffed with octopus, tempura scraps, pickled ginger, and green onion, it's topped off with a delightful takoyaki sauce and mayonnaise. It's an "explode in your mouth" kind of flavour that you can devour in just one bite!

Brunno-Tozzo-Gaic2Whxm5A-UnsplashPhoto by Brunno Tozzo on Unsplash


7. Yakiniku

Yakiniku simply translates to "grilled meat." Also known as Japanese BBQ, this is more so an experience than just a meal. It involves grilling bite-sized pieces of meat at your table, cooking and sharing the food together with friends and family. It's such a fun dining experience that's topped off with delicious cuts of meat!

Prastika-Herlianti-9Fe-Okuedqq-UnsplashPhoto by Prastika Herlianti on Unsplash

8. Kaisendon

If you're a seafood lover, look no further than Kaisendon for your perfect meal. This is every seafood lover's dream - just imagine a bowl of steaming rice topped with a generous assortment of fresh sashimi. It can include anything from fish, shrimp, sea urchin, and even crab! It's colourful, pretty to look at, and so fresh to eat. 

Cloris-Ying-Azqfzi 5Lsk-UnsplashPhoto by Cloris Ying on Unsplash

9. Okonomiyaki

Okonomiyaki is a type of Japanese pancake, and no, we're not talking about the maple syrup and whipped cream kind. This is Japan's take on a savory pancake, literally translating into "grilled as you like it." With so many customizable options, you can include your preferred combination of ingredients, from seafood, meat, or vegetables. 

Ibmoon-Kim- B7Crtkuwjq-UnsplashPhoto by ibmoon Kim on Unsplash

10. Udon Sukiyaki

Combining the best of both udon and the classic Sukiyaki hot pot, this dish is everything you want in a filling and satisfying meal. Featuring thick and chewy udon noodles, they're thrown in a savory soy sauced-based broth that's loaded with beef, tofu, and vegetables. 

1712075040759.pngsailko on Wikimedia Commons