culture Entertainment travel

Japanese fast food [the three dishes you must try] + what to do if you can’t make it to Japan

Noodle Dish japan fast food roamilicious

Japan still has a delectable array of its own native styles of fast food that are often served in stalls at festivals, markets, or fairs.

Japan is a country that has most western fast food places, or at least an imitation of them available, including burger joints, chicken restaurants, crepe stores, and family restaurants. However, Japan still has a delectable array of its own native styles of fast food that are often served in stalls at festivals, markets, or fairs.

Similar to western cultures, these foods are often fried, and some of the most popular dishes will have the word ‘yaki’ meaning fried or barbequed somewhere in its name.

The Fast Food Trinity: Okonomiyaki, Takoyaki and Yakisoba

The most popular foods that may also be available in western Japanese restaurants are Okonomiyaki, Takoyaki, and Yakisoba. These three foods can be considered the trinity of Japanese fast food in the way pizza, burgers, and fried chicken can be seen as their western counterparts.

These three dishes are almost always present in the many Japanese festivals as well as at stalls in outdoor markets or shopping areas.


Okonomiyaki is the battered Japanese pancake made primarily from shredded cabbage and a variety of other fillings. The finished product is often topped with aonori, which is green seaweed powder, katsuobushi, which is dried shaved bonito flakes, and the special okonomiyaki sauce, which is similar in color and consistency to barbeque sauce. Okonomiyaki is one of the specialty dishes in two areas in Japan, Hiroshima, and Osaka and differs quite a bit in cooking style between the two cities.


Takoyaki means fried octopus or octopus balls. They essentially delicious balls of crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside batter with a small piece of octopus in the middle. Takoyaki is always topped with Japanese mayo and a special sauce.

Yakisoba is a fried noodle dish that can often be found in stalls specializing in its sale. The soba noodles, in this case, made from wheat flour are stir-fried with special sauce and a combination of cabbage, carrots, and usually small pieces of chopped pork.

Noodle Dish japan roamilicious

Convenient Store Meals in Japan

For students and office workers looking for a quick and simple meal, the convenience store is the usual stop. They are equipped with many fast food dishes special to Japan, including the onigiri, which is a triangular-shaped rice ball with a filling in the middle, example fillings include tuna and umeboshi, which is pickled plum.

Convenience stores also have bento boxes with simple lunches that usually consists of rice and a main meat dish or noodles.

Those looking for a bread snack will often be well served by convenience stores, which will offer an array of special bread such as curry bread, melon bread, and sometimes even six-inch rolls filled with yakisoba called yakisoba-pan or yakisoba bread.

Travel alternative – order a subscription box

One thing I’m glad to have discovered is Bokksu. The subscription box is available for just under $45 per month and includes upscale snacks directly from the makers in Japan. I really enjoyed being able to taste these Japanese snacks. Many were both sweet and savory. Think items like red bean doughnuts, seaweed tempura and Japanese green tea just to name a few. And the packaging is so cute.


If you can’t make it to Japan order this “taste box” for a box of goodies that are unique to Japan!


I can’t wait until I can visit Japan and try some of these delicious fast food type meals. Nothing like the fast food we have here. Which one of these yummy Japanese fast food dishes would you try first if you were to visit Japan?

About the author

Malika Bowling

Malika is the author of several books including Culinary Atlanta: Guide to the Best Restaurants, Markets, Breweries and More! and the founder of Roamilicious. She is also a Digital Marketing and Social Media Consultant. Follow us @Roamilicious on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest for the content not shared on the blog. And don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter (subscribe box below) and never miss a contest, giveaway or the latest must visit restaurant!