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Any food recommendations in Japan for non -seafood eaters?

Any food recommendations in Japan for non -seafood eaters?

Aug 25th, 2007, 11:42 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 6,036
Any food recommendations in Japan for non -seafood eaters?

My husband and I are off to Japan in October for a week. We will be spending 2 nights in Tokyo, 4 nights in Kyoto and 1 night in Nagoya (we are flying out of Nagoya). We are very excited, as this is our first trip to both Japan and Asia. However, the food has us just a little nervous. Unfortunately we are very picky eaters. Sad but true. I don't eat any seafood and rarely stray too far away from chicken and (well done) beef. It won't keep us from having a great time but I'm hoping for some advice. Can anyone share any food recommendations for us? Maybe specific things to look for? I don't want to have to eat McDonald's everyday!

Thanks much!
tcreath is offline  
Aug 25th, 2007, 12:08 PM
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Believe it or not I don't eat any seafood either and I have no problem eating in Japan. Lots of chicken, meat, pork, vegetables. It's true there is a lot of seafood(just like here in Hawaii) but really I find it no problem whatsoever.

My DW on the other hand absolutely loves seafood so I get to eat it vicariously through her. Take a look at this site for some ideas


Try some oyako donburi(chicken)for a pleasant surprise sometime.

I once remember a time when sushi was just rice and sashimi was the raw fish. My how that has changed.


hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Aug 25th, 2007, 12:16 PM
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There is a list of meat dishes here:

You'll also find links to recipes for each dish, so that you can see what is in it.

# Chicken Tatsuta
# Goya Chanpuru (goya and pork stir-fry)
** Gyoza (dumpling)
# Ginger Pork
** Katsu-don
# Niku-dango (meat ball)
# Niku-itame (pork stir-fry)
# Niku-jyaga (meat and potato)
# Niku-man (steamed cake with meat filling)
# Kushiage - Japanese Kabob
# Oyako-don (chicken and egg rice bowl)
# Roast chicken (Japanese-style)
# Roll Cabbage
# Shumai (steamed dumplings)
# Subuta (sweet and sour pork)
# Sukiyaki
# Tonkatsu (deep fried pork)
# Tonkatsu Fillet (deep fried pork)
# Yakitori (grilled chicken)
# Yakiniku (Japanese BBQ)

Tonkatsu and katsu-don can be found in Japanese restaurants worldwide. Also yakitori and yakiniku.


Also shabu shabu, which is beef with vegetables (cabbage) soup, and you cook at your table.

I think it is yakiniku where they serve raw beef, sliced very thin, and you grill it at the table. Yummy and fun. Try the chi-ku (cheek).
mrwunrfl is online now  
Aug 25th, 2007, 03:40 PM
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KMLoke is offline  
Aug 25th, 2007, 04:42 PM
Join Date: Aug 2007
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I lived in Japan for 4 years. There are many places to eat that are "safe". Yakitori restaurants are great (steak, chicken, liver, vegetables on a stick). Yakiniku (Korean Barbeque) restaurants are also easy to find in Tokyo. If you stay in a Ryokin (Japanese Inn) in Kyoto, the food will be very traditional Japanese (my guess is you won't like it - my wife hated it). In Tokyo, there are many "American" restaurants - some very expensive. The steak restaurant in the Roppongi Grand Hyatt is very good - but expensive. If you want a reasonably priced (as Japanese prices go) "American" meal in Tokyo, there is the best Cajun resaraunt in the world in Roppongi. It has a little bit of a "Japanese feel" to it. The owner is Indian, grew up in New Orleans but speaks Japanese. He is a charachter and will spend time at your table talking. The restaurant is call Bourbon Street and is located in the Roppongi area. It is a little hard to find, but a hotel concierge should be able to help you. If you go - tell the owner (his name is Sohan - you won't miss him - he is very large) that Harry recommended the restaurant to him.

Have a great trip - you will have lots of fun.

CapHaz is offline  
Aug 25th, 2007, 11:26 PM
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I'm a seafood lover. I thought that Japan would be paradise.

It's a little off the mark and a little bland, for my tastes.

I'm so ashamed to admit it, but upon arriving at LAX, I sprinted to McD's.
JRP is offline  
Aug 26th, 2007, 02:50 PM
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Are we related? I also prefer chicken and well done beef. In fact, I LOVE well done beef. I do also like shrimp (cooked) and fish (fillets, cooked).

In Japan, my one consistent food complaint was bland food. Sorry to anyone who loves the food there. I was always thinking this needs salt, pepper or spice.

To give some perspective, at home I NEVER salt or pepper anything at the table. I eat only mild food when I go for an Indian meal. I don't salt anything heavily when cooking. I get low salt versions of chicken broth. Fritos corn chips are extremely salty to me.

My SO also thinks food in Japan is bland (been there many times). SO never salts anything and finds many things too salty (likes way less salt than I do).

We did eat some McD's in Japan from desperation for something with seasoning (they do lightly salt fries there). I even ate the onions on the cheeseburgers there ( not knowing how to ask to leave them off in Japanese and to be polite). I HATE the onions on McD's here and won't even pick them off and eat the burger from the strong taste they leave. I eat McD's at home approx 1 time a YEAR (when travelling and it's the only convenient thing near a hotel). So, I am no fan of McD's (or fast food in general).

Next time I go, I have sworn to take a shaker of salt pepper mix and some cocktail dip (love Cross & Blackwell) when I arrive - for those lovely, big, fried shrimp that are available everywhere (on top a bowl of noodles in broth or by themselves). They were so perfect and almost too bland to force down.

My Japan food observations -

Salad comes dressed, no choice (creamy something? or very mild vinegarette)

No pepper/salt on dining tables

Many eateries have pretty displays of fake plastic food (it's an art IMO) - it helps when ordering. The food I got looked EXACTLY like the display food - arranged exactly like it.

Meals often come in "sets". Meaning what is displayed comes together. No switching items allowed from what I was able to tell.

Soy is not served on the table in bottles (like Chinese eateries here).
If at all, it comes in tiny bowls for dipping specific things (like sliced raw fish). People do not drown things in it or soak rice with it like I often see here.

Wasting food was not something I saw Japanese doing in Japan. People ate everything they ordered.

There are french style pastry shops in a variety of places that have really good "french-ish" pastries, some very acceptable pre-made wrapped sandwiches (some a little odd - like sliced hard boiled eggs on top). We loved these places when we wanted a familiar breakfast.

Some big department stores have lots of pre-made food. The only problem is that while it is freshly made daily, it is not generally hot. It is designed to take home and reheat. If your hotel room has a microwave (we didn't have one), it might be good for a convenient meal.

There are lots of vending machines with interesting drinks. I liked the hot chocolate (not very sweet by US standards, yet warming on a cold day).

By the way, in very large grocery stores, there are often foreign food areas that have US items like Oreos, Lay's chips, condiments, chocolate bars, cocktail dip, etc. Nice if you get desperate for a taste of home.

Before I get flamed, I KNOW it is polite to eat food exactly as the chef has prepared it in Japan. However, a discrete shake of salt/pepper mix will not end the world. And take away food (available at many eateries) that I eat in my hotel room is mine to do with as I please.

I loved Japan. I did eat Japanese food. I am only giving you advice (based on my experience)on things that might be welcome for a fellow picky eater.

Have a great trip. And try the local food, it's interesting.
Aug 26th, 2007, 03:56 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 6,036
Thank you all for your helpful replies and for not telling me to stay home if I'm worried about the food (something that happens frequently on the Europe board)!

I'm excited about visiting but am a little nervous about the food, so the links and advice will be very helpful. I don't want to offend anyone by not liking what I ordered so I have been known, in the past, to discreetly wrap food up in my napkin and stick it in my purse to throw away later...something I have done in both Florence and Paris! So I think its safer to find things that I am more familiar with. I am interested in trying the local cuisine and hopefully we will have some memorable meals.

Thanks again!
tcreath is offline  
Sep 5th, 2007, 07:03 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 1,836

You can also find Italian restaurants--pasta and pizza seem to be quite popular. Curry shops are mostly meat-based. Tempura usually have fish or prawns, but you can get veggie version. Or try robatayaki (skewer grill) restaurants or Izakaya (Japanese equivalent of tapas bar). I saw sevral soup bar chains called Tokyo Soup Kitchen(!) which seem to be a popular take-out/eat-in place.

I presume it's more of a food preference, rather than allergies. Many Japanese food use broth made from fish.
W9London is offline  
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