The Restaurant Experience

Beyond Sushi: 5 Awesome Dishes To Try When Visiting A Japanese Restaurant

Sushi is often thought of as the typical Japanese dish. But sushi is only one type of Japanese food. This cuisine has so much more to offer. The next time you go out to a Japanese restaurant, turn past the sushi page in the menu, and opt for one of these awesome dishes instead.

1. Ramen

You may have had ramen that was prepared from a little foil bag you bought at the grocery store. This is tasty, but real ramen from a restaurant is so much better. It is made with delicious miso broth, rice noodles, and an array of toppings like hardboiled eggs, bean sprouts, green onions, and mushrooms. You eat the solid ingredients and slurp the broth with a special spoon.

2. Yakitori

Yakitori is a chicken dish. The chicken is split in half, skewered, and either broiled or grilled. This is a very approachable dish for those who may not have as adventurous of a palate. The chicken is seasoned with traditional Japanese spices and herbs, so it has a decidedly Asian flavor, but it is still broiled chicken.

3. Udon

This is another soup that is popular in Japanese cuisine. It is similar to ramen, but it is made with thicker noodles and a richer, darker broth. The soup is often topped with lots of fresh herbs, like chives, along with sliced green onions and sometimes squid.

4. Gyudon

If you enjoy rice, this is a dish that you really should try. It's a simple dish at its heart — a combination of beef and onions in a sweet dashi sauce with lots or mirin, which is a rice-based sake. Some restaurants may add a cracked, raw egg to the top of the dish. Some add ginger for a little kick, and others add a mixture of hot and sweet peppers.

5. Katsudon

This is a more modern Japanese one, and a dish that will appeal to most American palates. It essentially consists of rice topped with a breaded pork chop and egg. The chicken is sometimes topped with a sauce called katsu sauce, which is really a fancy tomato sauce similar to ketchup. 

It's hard to go wrong with any of the dishes above! If you have any questions about them, you should ask the server. Most are happy to discuss the restaurant's menu options and will help you settle on a delicious dish if asked.