5 Unique Japanese Food Many Foreigners Try to Avoid

Nov 18, 2018

Each country has its unique foods based on its culture, the same can be said for Japan as well.
Because of the peculiar appearance, taste or smell, sometimes they are avoided by people from overseas.

It is very fun to get to know them because you are able to understand the culture behind them and maybe not be so scared of these food the next time you are in Japan or while you are still here.
This article introduces 5 most peculiar Japanese foods which are avoided by foreigners.

1. Natto (Fermented Soybeans)



It is one of the most common Japanese food which is symbolized as a unique food in Japan.
In Japanese traditional style of breakfast, it is often served as one of the side dishes.
Because of its strong smell and unique appearance, which gets sticky when you mix it by chopsticks, it is often avoided by foreigners.
In fact, not only foreigners but some Japanese people also do not like it.
It is, however, sold at almost all super markets in Japan, and it is also sometimes served at Japanese hotels as one of the side dishes for


2. Octopus



It is often eaten in Japan, but there are very few other countries in the world where people eat it as well.
It is also known as “devil fish”, in English, and often treated as one of the very bad and strange creature in the world.
The situation is, however, different in Japan; it is not seen as a “devil fish” in Japanese people’s eyes.
On the contrary, it is known as a very smart creature.
In addition to that, it contains many nutrients.
It is very often eaten as sushi and sashimi in Japan, and  in many other ways in the Japanese Cuisine.


3. Pickled Plum



Although it is believed to have come from China, it is a very familiar food to people in Japan.
Many foreigners avoided it because of the sour taste.

A lunch box meal which has one piece of pickled plum placed on the center of white rice is called “Hinomaru Bento” in Japanese.
“Hinomaru” means the red circle which resembles the sun, and it symbolize the Japanese flag.
“Bento” means lunch box.
Because the lunch box with pickled plum put on white rice resembles the flag, it is called “Hinomaru Bento”.


4. Raw Horse Meat



Raw Horse meat is one of the most peculiar foods in Japan, due to the fact that it is mostly eaten in Japan.
Raw food itself is not so common for people overseas.

It is, however, eaten only in certain regions, and it is difficult to find at super markets except in those regions.
One of the most region where it is very popular is in the Kumamoto prefecture. It has the largest production volume and consumption amount of horse meat.
Raw Horse meat can be one of strangest sight for people overseas because horses are often seen has close companions.


5. Soft Roe

Soft Roe is seen has as an expensive food in Japan. Soft Roe or milt(milt being particularly male) are fish sperms, and there are many fishes that their milt are eaten.
These are: cod, monkfish, blowfish, and salmon.
The eating of the milt of a blowfish is particularly seen as very strange from the perspective of people overseas, because it has poison.
The poison of blowfish is tetrodotoxin, and it is known as a very strong poison as it can kill people.
Therefore, blowfish is not eaten overseas because of this, and it is often a surprise to see it eaten in Japan.

Due to the poison, the cook who prepares blowfish needs a license in Japan, it is a special food and can only be eaten at certain restaurants.


If you are interested in these unique Japanese foods, make sure to try it while you are in Japan.

Aika Kaise / Japan

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