5 Japanese dishes the locals love in Tokyo

As the vibrant capital of Japan, Tokyo attracts visitors from all over the world who delight in finding the best hidden ramen place or sushi joint. However, it is all too possible to dine on sashimi and ramen for the entire trip.

Read also: Have you been to Tokyo’s hedgehog bar?

Here are five alternative foods to try as well.

#1 Gyukatsu

The deep-fried beef-cutlet version of pork katsu, gyukatsu looks the same at first glance, with its breadcrumb-crusted exterior.

However, the main difference is that it’s served with a small hotplate so you can grill it yourself. It is often served with rice, cabbage, and three dips: salt, soy sauce, and mustard.

#2 Seared tuna cheek

Most people flock to the fish market to eat sashimi, but seared tuna cheek is also popular among the locals. It is easy to mistake it for beef because of its reddish brown appearance and texture, since the flesh of the cheek is tougher. However, the fish taste and the smoothness sets it apart, with the searing process adding a distinctive smoky flavour.

Read also: The best izakaya in Tokyo

#3 Bacon wrapped glutinous rice

Served on a stick, the bacon wrapped glutinous rice is a satisfying snack. Commonly found around festivals, the bacon is wrapped around the rice and then grilled, which keeps the whole snack from falling apart. It’s a great savoury treat to counter hunger pains – and easy to eat.

#4 Katsu sando

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Have you ever had a Japanese pork cutlet sandwich? 🥪 It's made with fried panko-crusted pork cutlets and a tangy Katsu sauce. Want to find out what's in the katsu sauce? Read on for the recipe from Sunday Supper contributor @TaraMCTable! Ingredients Katsu Sando: 4 boneless pork cutlets Salt & pepper to taste 1/4 cup AP flour 2 eggs 1 1/2 cup panko Vegetable oil for frying 1/2 napa cabbage thinly sliced 4 square white sandwich bread slices crust removed Katsu sauce: 2 Tbsps. ketchup 1 1/2 Tbsps. Worcestershire sauce 1 Tbsp. Oyster sauce 1 Tbsp. mayonnaise 2 1/4 tsps. granulated sugar 2 tsps. soy sauce Pinch garlic powder Instructions To make Katsu Sando: Pound each cutlet to desired thickness, between 1/4-3/4 " thick. Season both sides of cutlet with salt and pepper. Place flour in wide bowl, beat together eggs in another bowl, and place panko in third bowl. Coat cutlet thoroughly in flour, then egg. Allow excess to drip off, then coat on all sides with panko. Repeat with remainder. Fill large pan with 1/4 inch of oil and place over medium heat. Once hot, add coated cutlets in batches and fry until golden and cooked through, 2-5 minutes per side depending on thickness. Transfer to towel-lined plate. Repeat with remainder. Brush one side of each slice bread with Katsu sauce. Cover with layer of cabbage. Top half with fried pork cutlets and cover with other half of slices, cabbage facing towards pork. Cut each sandwich in half. Serve Katsu Sando immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to a day. To make the Katsu Sauce: In a medium bowl, whisk together ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, oyster sauce, mayonnaise, sugar, soy sauce, and garlic powder until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. #sundaysupper #katsusando #katsusauce #sandwiches #sandwichs #sandwichlover #foodlover #foodblogfeed #feedyoursoull #lunchideas #lunchboxideas #lunchtime #lunchbag

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Katsu sando is basically a pork-cutlet sandwich, but also so much more. It features the perfect ratio of white bread, barbecue sauce and tender pork cutlet – where the pork cutlet is always bigger than the combined thickness of the white bread.

It’s fluffy, crunchy, meaty, and juicy, all at the same time. While most katsu sando versions feature pork, there are also beef versions popping up.

Read also: A guide to Tokyo’s small bar scene

#5 Melon pan

A melon bread that is not unlike Hong Kong’s Pineapple Bun, it got its name because of its similar appearance to the rock melon or cantaloupe fruit – not because it contains any melon.

You can find the bread being sold on the street on its own, or with a filling of your choice such as cream, ice cream, or even fruit. While sweet on sweet might sound too much, the crispy crust and the soft cream is a perfect match.

STYLE by South China Morning Post

Award-winning STYLE is Hong Kong's best monthly guide to the world of culture and luxury. Targeting high-spending, high-living elite demographics, in-depth articles cover fashion, art, travel, luxury goods and much more.

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