These Restaurants Have Gone International But You Can Only Get These Dishes in Japan
Make sure to try them when you're in Japan!
Japan usually gets all the good stuff, whether it’s unique flavors of candy bars, coffee, and sodas; character cafes; and cute soda bottle designs. Even its homegrown restaurants have some unique offerings, the likes of which you won’t see in their international branches. Here are just a few Japan-only dishes and food items from familiar Japanese restaurants.
Yoshinoya is famous for its beef bowls, and their menu has expanded to include other meals. This year, they’re making their rice bowls more accessible with their lineup of canned meals, featuring six flavors: their regular beef bowl, yakiniku beef, yakitori chicken, pork, ginger pork, and salted grilled mackerel. The meals come with brown rice to make for a healthier meal, and actually require zero cooking.
Aside from being great to eat on the go, these canned meals were also designed with emergencies in mind; you can store them in case a natural disaster strikes and have these nourishing meals to sustain you.
The canned meals are available online here.
Osaka Ohsho, whose name apparently translates to “the king of gyoza in Osaka,” doesn’t shy away from quirky food presentations and inventive ways to dress up their menu. So it’s no surprise that they came up with the Gyoza Dog, which features their famous gyoza lined up in a hot dog bun. The plain Gyoza Dog contains eight pieces of gyoza, while the Dotonbori and Cheese, Dotonbori and Wasabi, and Wasabi and Cheese flavors. And if all that’s not enough, you can even get the King, a 12-gyoza monstrosity topped with Dotonbori yakisoba sauce, cheese, and wasabi. If you don’t think you can manage all the carbs, then go for the Gyoza Dog with only three pieces of gyoza.
The Gyoza Dog is available only at Osaka Ohsho’s Dotonbori branch.
From time to time, the popular ramen restaurant releases limited-edition ramen flavors, such as the Hakata Black Curry Ramen, which won an in-house ramen development competition in 2014, and the Iron Man (Team Paitan) and Captain America (Team Chintan) ramen, a collaboration with Marvel that came out in honor of Captain America: Civil War in 2016.
This month, Ippudo released the “Men in Black” ramen in selected stores. The limited-edition ramen came out just in time for the release of the film Men in Black: International, and it features a black broth made with burnt garlic and a lot of black pepper.
It’s only available until June 30, so you could have a chance to sample it if you’ll be visiting Japan before then.
Japanese restaurants are gradually being more inclusive and welcoming toward Muslim diners, and curry chain CoCo Ichibanya is no exception. They opened their first halal-certified branch in Akihabara in Tokyo, with a second one opening in Shinjuku. This major move was made to anticipate the dining needs of Muslim visitors who will come to Japan for the 2020 Olympics.
Given that they’re available in Japan only, with some being released for only a brief time, these exclusives are a good argument for sampling certain chains when you’re in Japan even though they’re already familiar names on our shores.