The trends in Japan tend to change so rapidly, it can feel overwhelming to keep up with them all. Planning a trip to Japan and don’t want to miss out on the action? Don’t sweat— We’ve got you covered! We’ve compiled a list of current trending foods in Japan, and where to find them, so you don’t have to!
1. Tapioca (Bubble) Tea and Cheese Tea!
Although Bubble Tea has been available in Japan since the 90’s, it is currently experiencing a strong revival of popularity, thanks to popular Taiwanese chains such as The Alley, Gong Cha, and 春⽔堂. What is the reason for this sudden resurgence? Aside from some clever 1 marketing aimed to make products more “Instagram-worthy”, some experts believe that the decadent combination of milk tea and chewy tapioca balls somewhat resembles traditional Japanese mochi sweets (wagashi), and therefore, it is generally favored over coffee based drinks such as frapuccinos.
Cheese Tea is said to be the next trend on the verge of breaking into the Japanese food scene, a tapioca drink topped with a cream cheese foam, for a slightly heavier take on the popular drink. Give it a try at the Japanese-owned Pearl Lady!
2. Japanese-Style Souffle Pancakes!
Made with a light batter folded with fluffy egg white meringue, and carefully cooked over low heat to perfection, this popular Japanese-style pancake practically jiggles when it arrives at your table. At a first glance, these puffed souffle pancakes look enormous and you might even 2 find yourself wondering if you’ve ordered too much food — but in fact they are light and airy, and make a great brunch! These pancakes taste amazing with lemon curd, or a berry compote.
The perfect snack for anyone in your travel group with a sweet tooth, we recommend you visit one of the many “A Happy Pancake” restaurants in Tokyo, or “Flipper’s” in Shimokitazawa, for a proper introduction to this decadent dessert.
3. Korean Arirang Cheese Hotdog!
Over recent years, K-POP and Korean culture have taken the world by storm, and Japan is no exception to the craze! Popular with teenage girls, Korean trends tend to make their way 3 across the ocean to Japan, and spread across the country relatively quickly. Sparking many food review videos on YouTube, and step-by-step recipe guides on the popular Japanese cooking website “Cookpad”, this cheesy snack has earned a reputation as an up and coming “must try” staple at many outdoor food stalls.
Feeling adventurous? Try the rainbow cheese-dog in Shin Okubo, or keep your eyes peeled for the Cheese Hotdog stand on Takeshita Street—the busy main-street of fashion hub, Harajuku.
4. UFO Chicken Fondue!?
Continuing with the trend of making food more “Instagram-worthy”, another popular dish originating from Korea, is hitting the radar of savvy foodies in Tokyo — UFO Fondue. In this sinful dish, the diner melts cheese in the center of a hot plate, and dips their fried chicken straight into the cheese. In particular., it is the stretching tail of cheese left behind as you devour your chicken, that the Japanese consider to be an “Instagram-worthy” shot. 4 Available in Tokyo’s Korea-Town, Shin-Okubo, this might make a pleasant reward after a day of walking around and exploring the city.
5. Light Bulb Drinks!
Many of the major Japanese festivals that happen throughout the year will bring with them a large congregation of public food stalls — often serving traditional favorites such as skewered chicken (yakitori) or deep fried octopus (takoyaki).
But recently there has been a surge of smaller “trendy” stalls introducing new and interesting gimmicks that make atmosphere feel a little less “traditional” and more “futuristic.” On a hot summer night, after the sun has set, these glow-in-the-dark light-bulb sodas are both refreshing and mesmerizing — not to mention, they look great in photos too.
Not sure where to find the next outdoor event? Why not take a look at this calendar here!
If you’re looking for some unique, well-presented, “Instagram-worthy”, and memorable places to snack during your trip to Japan, definitely put these items on your radar! The trends in Japan are fluid and ever-changing, so keep your eyes peeled, you may be the first to discover a new up-and-coming trend as it happens!
Here at TripJunction we also offer special food tours for visitors who would like to make the most of their short time in Japan. Interested in anything in particular? Why not learn from the best, and spend the day with a local tour guide?
We hope this gives you inspiration for your next trip to Japan!