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Goin’ Japanesque!

7 Japanese Foods Associated with the Coming of Summer + 11 Helpful Tips

Once the rainy season is over, it will be summer in Japan! We have selected 7 foods that make Japanese think of the summer. There are some that have been around for a while and some that are new! You will be sure to learn of the real Japan. 


1. Garigari-kun


Garigari-kun, with the impressionable mascot. It is almost in any supermarket during the summer. It is an enduring best seller that is still being sold over 30 years since it first hit the market. Any Japanese knows of this classic popsicle which is only 60 yen. 


Tip 1
There are many many flavors. Soda, cola, strawberry, grape… the simplicity of the flavors is a really nice touch! 

Our recommendation is soda! So nostalgic… 

Tip 2
Sometimes there are the words “当たり Atari” written on the stick! If you win the atari, you get another one for free. 


2. Nagashi Somen (Flowing Somen)


Nagashi somen seems to cool you down just looking at it. Everyone eats the somen noodles flowing over the bamboo. This is almost an event in itself! 

Some are this long…Does it mean that it tastes better when it’s longer? lol


Tip 3
In Japan, kits like these can be purchased to enjoy nagashi somen at home. This is also fun so it’s definitely worth a try! 


Tip 4
The newest buzz is the curry somen! A major Japanese curry company is trying to make a hit product by suggesting a new way of eating. It is getting a lot of buzz in the media and we can feel it is going to be a major hit in Japan this year. 


3. BBQ

BBQs are the same in any country. We hope you didn’t really think that… 

Tip 5
In Tokyo, there are places where you can have a BBQ-like experience indoors.:“Tachigui” 4 Choices for Yakiniku & Yakitori: The Tachigui Style Spreading Beyond Soba!


4. Hiyashi Chuka (Cold Chinese Style Noodles)


“冷やし中華始めました Hiyashi chuka hajimemashita” (We have started Chinese cold noodles for the season). Seeing this banner makes Japanese feel like summer has come. The sour soup and garnish and noodles are a best match and give you a great appetite even in the summer heat. If you like ramen, this may be something you would like. 


Tip 6
The conbini (convenience store) hiyashi chuka is good! Try it! 


5. Kakigori (Shaved Ice)


Kakigori (shaved ice) is always sold by vendors during summer festivals. We recommended simple flavors for the Garigari-kun, but here…


Tip 7
Kakigori topped with matcha (green tea) , azuki (red bean) and ice cream. This is really delicious! We will post an article for the shop later. 

Update: 3 Shops for Eating High-Quality ‘Fluffy’ Shaved Ice


6. Hiyayakko (Cold Tofu) 


A classic menu item from a Japanese izakaya. Drizzle a little shoyu, and garnishes such as ginger, scallions, and bonito flakes make it excellent. 


Tip 8
If you buy tofu, you can easily enjoy this dish at home. 2 blocks is 79 yen so if you are pressed for money to buy food, go for the tofu! 


7. Unagi (Eel) 



Tip 9
In Japan, since the Nara period, there has been a custom to eat unagi (eel) to reinvigorate oneself. People eat if particularly on the “Doyou no ushi no hi (The Midsummer night day of the Ox)”. For 2015, this day falls on 7/24 and 8/5. For these days, many Japanese rush to buy unagi and it sells like crazy. It goes really well with the sauce and gets you eating more rice. 


Tip 10
If you liked the unagi, then we really want you to try the hitsumabushi.
It is unagi cut into small pieces, with the scallions, seaweed and wasabi added as garnish, and it is eaten with seasoned broth poured over it. The sting of the wasabi that comes to your nose is refreshing. See, it’s like wabisabi, lol. 


Tip 11
There has been a saying since the old times that eating unagi and umeboshi (pickled plum) is not good. It seems that there is no scientific reasoning behind this, but since it is a myth(?) that has often been heard since old times, we are listing it here just so you are closer to becoming a Japan expert. 

We have listed foods as cheap as under 100 yen, to those that can be bought at conbini, to luxury foods. How did you like it? :)

Related: 11 Events + Items that Remind Japanese of Summer

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