How To Enjoy Japanese Oden Like a Pro! | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan
japanese oden

How To Enjoy Japanese Oden Like a Pro!

By Guidable Writers Oct 21, 2022

Oden, a type of Japanese nabemono (one-pot dishes) is the perfect meal to enjoy during autumn and winter. You might have seen oden at the counter of the convenience store and wondered what it is and how best to enjoy it. Read this article to find out!

Ordering Your Japanese Oden

Convenience stores in Japan (konbini) such as 711, Family mart,.. typically sell oden from the end of September to the end of March. Of course, the period will vary depending on the location of the store and the area you’re living in. 

Generally, every konbini in Japan sells oden. Some have a self-service counter while others have staff to assist you. 

Family Marts in Japan usually offer self-service oden counter

Self-service oden is a perfect way to enjoy it if you feel somewhat intimidated by ordering in Japanese. You take a cup or a bowl first, depending on how hungry you are. The cup can hold more than it seems, but go for a bowl if you’re really hungry. Then, use the tongs and select your favorites. Finally, use the large spoon to take the broth out of the pot and add it to your oden. Don’t fill it too much! Just enough to cover all of the pieces inside. Finally, cover the container and bring it to the counter for payment. 

Other grocery stores will have the staff ready to support you. Get in line and just say “oden” when it’s your turn. Second, you’ll be asked what size bowl you prefer. Consider your options and then start to select the pieces you like. The prices and names of what item are always listed, so don’t be afraid to point at whatever you want. Next, they’re going to ask you what sauce you want. We’re going to get to sauces soon! 

The staff of 711 will assist you kindly!

If you loved the convenience store oden, trying it at the oden-ya (oden restaurant) is a must! Expect a different taste, as most of the pieces are made at the restaurant. If you come across a restaurant or street vendor selling oden, here are a few tips for ordering. 

If you don’t know what it’s called, pointing works fine. If you’re not sure what to order, consider asking for the ‘osusume‘ to get a suggestion from the staff. Some restaurants can also sell a set of oden. This is a perfect way to try out new things that you would not usually buy yourself.

Here’s a Tokyo Timeout list of the top oden restaurants in Tokyo.

How To Enjoy Japanese Oden Like a Pro!

Now you’ve come home from the konbini with a warm bowl of oden, or you’re sitting in a traditional restaurant with a homemade bowl ready to go. How can you enjoy this Japanese traditional food like a pro? First of all, we have to discuss sauces! The most typical dip sauce is karashi, a mildly spicy Japanese mustard. Another common dip sauce is yuzu kosho, a paste made with yuzu fruit and chili peppers. 

Some people also enjoy soy sauce and miso dip with oden. Dipping sauces are given to you in packs from the convenience store, and in the restaurant they are served in the restaurant with your oden

Choose a piece from your bowl with your chopsticks in your hand. Dip it gently in the sauce, but be careful, the sauces have a pretty strong flavor. Finally, enjoy the warmth from the soup envelope you and banish away the cold.

Check out the most common types of oden!

And now, how are you going to wash your steaming oden bowl down? Sake is the ideal match for this winter pot. If you’re in an oden restaurant, some cold or hot sake is the Guidable team’s recommendation for an unforgettable oden experience! 

japanese oden

Image credits: the writer

Let us know your favourite sauce to accompany your oden!

Related articles:

Want to know more about oden? Check out this article:

Common Types of Oden: Japan’s Favourite Nabemono