What’s There to Eat?

Guest Post By: Erika Chaffin, a Senior studying Marketing and Japanese. She is a Global Business Center Study Abroad Scholarship Recipient, and she studied abroad through Foster Exchange at Kobe University in Kobe, Japan, during Spring Quarter and Summer Quarter 2022.

Getting decent food in Seattle can be quite expensive, but Japan is another story! With a bowl of ramen averaging 700 yen wherever you go (roughly $7), a delicious parfait costing just as much, and a simple scrumptious meal at a local restaurant that totals less than 1000 yen ($10), it’s hard to not eat out every day!

One of the first nights after moving into my dorm room, a friend and I went to a nearby ramen shop. At many small establishments like the one we went to, you insert money into a vending-machine-like contraption, push the button of the order you want (for example, shoyu ramen or shio ramen), and present the ticket to the counter. From there, they’ll make your order and hand it to you when it’s ready! At this particular restaurant, they asked us how we wanted our chicken and were given two options. We were slightly confused with this question, as chicken should be thoroughly cooked, right? Well apparently, there’s a technique you can use when cooking chicken to safely eat it raw! It was an interesting experience eating raw chicken, and I honestly wouldn’t mind trying it again in the future.

Another amazing must-try food when visiting Japan is a parfait! While parfaits may be found in select restaurants in America, they can be found on the dessert menu in almost every dinery in Japan! The variety is amazing, too, depending on where you go. During my sightseeing travels in Hokkaido, I was able to try a delicious apple pie parfait at a local café! There are also plastic displays of the various parfaits in restaurant windows easily visible in shopping areas that make the options very tempting to onlookers! If I had a party of 5-10 people with me, I would have definitely wanted to try the party-size parfait that was displayed in the window of a restaurant I walked by.

One of the places I’ll miss eating at the most was a place called “Big Boy,” a restaurant that was just a seven-minute walk from the dorm I stayed at. It was a burger place, though slightly different than the American-style hamburger, which in Japan is pronounced ハンバーガー (hanbaagaa). The Japanese-style dish is pronounced ハンバーグ (hanbaagu) and is essentially a beef patty with diced onion, garlic, and spices mixed into it on a plate with special sauce to accompany the meal. “Big Boy” served these surprisingly filling meals for a cheap price (around $6-8), and every bite was delicious! You could also pay slightly more and get unlimited amounts of rice, curry, soup, and salad to go with your meal, which I think is definitely worth the price. If you’re ever in Japan, you’ll be satisfied with your meals wherever you eat, as many places are affordable and serve amazing food, so definitely get your fill on Japanese cuisine!