What to Eat in Yokohama, Food and Drink, Dishes

What to Eat in Yokohama, Food and Drink, Dishes

When it comes to culinary delights, Yokohama, the second-largest city in Japan, is a tantalizing tapestry of diverse flavors. Just like its eclectic architecture and vibrant culture, Yokohama’s food and drink scene reflects a unique blend of traditional and modern, local and global influences. Here’s a guide to the must-try food and drink in Yokohama.

Yokohama-Style Ramen

Your gastronomic adventure in Yokohama must begin with its most famous dish, Yokohama-style ramen, also known as Iekei ramen. This dish, originated in Yokohama, is characterized by its rich, soy-based broth, thick, straight noodles, and toppings like roast pork, spinach, and seaweed. The most renowned place to try this local favorite is Yoshimuraya, the birthplace of Iekei ramen, but there are many other ramen shops throughout the city serving their variations of this hearty dish.

chinatown 4585892 1280

Chinese Cuisine in Yokohama Chinatown

Yokohama’s Chinatown, the largest in Japan, is a paradise for food lovers. Here, you can indulge in an array of Chinese dishes. Try steamed buns (nikuman), dumplings (gyoza), and the local favorite, Peking Duck. The eight treasure rice (bā bǎo fàn), a dish made with glutinous rice and eight different kinds of ingredients like meat, seafood, mushrooms, and nuts, is another must-try.

Seafood

Given its location along Tokyo Bay, Yokohama offers a bounty of fresh seafood. Sushi, sashimi, and seafood bowls (kaisendon) featuring the catch of the day can be found in many restaurants around the city. For an immersive seafood experience, visit the Yokohama Fish Market, where you can select your seafood to be cooked on the spot.

Japanese Curry

Though curry is often associated with Indian cuisine, the Japanese version has a unique flavor profile and is a beloved dish in Yokohama. The city is home to the Yokohama Curry Museum, which offers a variety of curry types to choose from. Whether you prefer your curry mild or spicy, with rice or udon, you’re in for a treat.

Street Food

Street food is an essential part of Yokohama’s culinary landscape. A stroll through the city’s bustling streets will lead you to vendors selling delicacies like takoyaki (octopus balls), yakitori (grilled skewered chicken), and taiyaki (fish-shaped cakes filled with sweet red bean paste). These affordable bites are perfect for on-the-go eating and offer a taste of local life.

Craft Beer

Yokohama has a thriving craft beer scene, with numerous breweries and taprooms spread across the city. The Yokohama Beer Festival, held annually, showcases a wide range of locally brewed beers. Visit the Yokohama Brewery or the Thrash Zone for a taste of local craft brews. If you’re a fan of darker beers, you’ll enjoy the city’s signature style, the Yokohama Lager, known for its rich, malty flavor.

Sweets and Desserts

Yokohama’s dessert scene is as diverse as its savory offerings. Visit the Yokohama Motomachi shopping street to try out the city’s famous “Motomachi Shokudo” pancakes. For a taste of Western-Japanese fusion, try the “Yokohama Roll,” a Swiss roll cake filled with custard cream, a local adaptation of the classic Swiss roll.

tea 1040653 1280

Green Tea and Sake

Your culinary exploration of Yokohama would be incomplete without sampling traditional Japanese beverages. Green tea, known as “ocha” in Japan, is a staple in the local diet and culture. Visit a traditional tea house and partake in a tea ceremony, where you’ll learn the art of preparing and drinking tea.

Sake, a rice wine, is another quintessential Japanese beverage. Yokohama has several sake breweries that offer tours and tastings. The Yokohama Sake Festival, held annually, showcases a variety of sakes from across the country. Whether you prefer the crisp, dry taste of Junmai sake or the sweet, full-bodied flavor of Daiginjo, there’s a sake to suit every palate.

Vegetarian and Vegan Options

While traditional Japanese cuisine is often seafood and meat-centric, vegetarian and vegan options are increasingly available in Yokohama. Veggie Yokohama is a popular choice, offering a variety of plant-based dishes, from tofu steaks to vegan ramen. Many temples also serve “shojin ryori,” a type of Buddhist cuisine that is entirely plant-based.

International Cuisine

Yokohama’s food scene is not just limited to Japanese and Chinese cuisine. Thanks to its history as one of the first Japanese ports open to foreign trade, the city boasts a variety of international cuisines. From authentic Italian pizzerias in the Yamate district, a neighborhood known for its western-style houses, to Indian curry houses and French bakeries, Yokohama offers a world of flavors.

Dining Experiences

Beyond the food itself, Yokohama offers unique dining experiences. For a combination of food and entertainment, visit the Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum, which replicates a retro, Showa era streetscape and features ramen shops from different regions of Japan.

Another unique experience is dining at the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse, a historical building that now houses a variety of restaurants and shops. With a view of the bay, it’s a great place to enjoy a meal while soaking in the city’s atmosphere.

From hearty ramen bowls to delicate pastries, craft beers to traditional sake, Yokohama’s food and drink scene caters to every palate and preference. The city’s rich culinary tapestry is a reflection of its history and culture, making food not just a sensory delight, but a gateway to understanding the city better. So get ready to embark on a gastronomic journey in Yokohama, one delicious bite and sip at a time.