Everywhere you can read that Tokyo is probably the city in the world which hosts the largest amount of restaurants. And I believe it is true!
As we were about to spend a full week in the Japanese capital we decided to try as many street food places as possible: not only because it is fun to search for the narrow and hidden streets, but also because the food is said to be good!
1- Memory Lane, also known as Piss Alley is one of the most famous places, meaning that it is the street that I read the most articles about. You have to go to Shinjuku station and then look for Omoide Yokocho! We asked a police officer in the train station and he explained how to get there easily.
When you see this sign, you made it to the right place 🙂
We went there on a sunday night, the place was packed! It was really hard to find a sit since every establishment has little amount of sits. It seemed that most of them could welcome up to 10 guests maximum.
There are mainly yakitori places. Since you can order little amount of food, we wanted to try two different places. That was not a smart choice: we saw the stores exchanging their stock when a place was running out of something. So you eat the same thing and you pay a table charge twice!
This is the menu at the first place where we stopped. We got a set but then I got disappointed because out of the 5, I did not enjoy 2 of them.
As you can see, drinks are pretty expensive. Eating there turned being not that cheap!
You will have both meat and veggies in your plate: the green peppers were really good. Also loved their chicken balls (which I used to be not fond of…)
The space is small which makes it easy to speak with people around you: both locals and tourists! Below, I took a picture of a typical booth in Piss Alley.
2- In the heart of Golden Gai, we were so glad we found this place: Dongara Gassyan! We went to Golden Gai to grab drinks before diner and the thing is, this seems to be the only place which provides food in the area!
It’s very recognizable from the outside thanks to the large orange sign.
They do have an English menu and don’t practice exxagerated prices:
Luckily, I loooooooved the fried chicken balls, their signature dish. So tasty! If I didn’t have a small stomach, I would have eaten dozens!!!! Overall the food was good, we met an adorable Japanese couple but I would not go there If I were on a diet.
3- While I was preparing my week in Tokyo, I read many articles about what to do and where to go. Thanks to an article in Time magazine, I heard of Ebisu! The neighborhood was close by our first hotel in Shibuya. We got the JR train til Ebisu and the main entry is only a few steps away.
When you see this sign, you made it to the temple of street food!
Ebisu is very different from Piss Alley since it’s not only yakitori. If you go to their website, you’ll find an exhaustive list of their stores and you can easily translate with Google. This page has been very helpful to me!
We tried two different places, but this time, it was a good idea.
The first one, was a South Korean / Spanish tapas place. Unexpected right? The “tables” were set on old plastic beer cases and if you needed to call your waiter, you are given a honk!
We spoke with Carlos, our Peruvian waiter who helped a lot in the decision making! My boyfriend adores spicy food so Korean food was a good option to him.
The night we went there (Tuesday in the middle of the week), the place was overcrowded. It was really hard to find a table. The smell spreading out of the place “Love & Peace Japan” made us feel like waiting a bit.
We had probably one of the best souvenirs there: the food was absolutely fantastic. I met two adorable Japanese girls and we talked a lot about the difference of our cultures whereas my boyfriend was hitting it off with his drunk neighboor!
4- Yurakucho Sanchoku Inshokugai doesn’t seem as famous as the previous ones. However, it’s the only place where we went twice! It was close to our second hotel in Ginza and turned to be an affordable option in this neighborhood.
The eateries are located just below the train rails and you’ll find several options.
First time we went, we had delicious fried dumplings and a ramen. The chef was adorable and we had this warm welcoming has you get when you visit friends.
The second time, we went to an Izakaya place: again it was awesome! We met young kids who were trying their massage stick on my boyfriend’s head and also a group on executives working for a French company. We had a lot of fun! The food was good and so was the beer. 😉
5- I had the best suhi of my life in TSUKIJI market! I read some famous addresses in other blogs and also on tripadvisor before leaving. However, I really have a problem with being in lines for hours. As a consequence, we just went to a place which was empty. I had no issue with the quality of the product since we are in THE PLACE TO BE for fresh fish.
I can not tell the name in English, I’ll just put a picture of the outdoor and I do recommend 3 thousand times to try this place. I never thought I would enjoy raw shrimp or saint jacques… Seriously, everything was to die for.
6- Unfortunately I did not get a chance to eat at Nonbei Yokocho, first day I arrived in Tokyo, but I also found it to be a great option to grab a drink. I had a great Moscow Mule at “Tight”.
Not only we had great food but we met amazing people while experiencing street food. All our friends who knew Japan were surprised to find out how many locals we met. My best advice would be to try few of them, you won’t regret it!
Have you experienced street food while travelling? Is it an option you would consider in Japan?
To check our trip at a glance, hit here!