30 Scrumptious Japanese Side Dishes


Quick Answer: Best Japanese Side Dishes

Some of the most enticing Japanese side dishes are – Salads like Japanese Potato Salad, Spicy Bean Sprout Salad, Japanese Spinach Salad; Vegetarian delights like Natto, Teriyaki Tofu, Japanese Grilled Eggplant, Japanese Turnips with Miso; Japanese specialties like Pickled Daikon Radish, Japanese Chicken Wings, Ramen Eggs, Japanese Simmered Squash, Spinach Ohitashi, Ham Katsu, and many more.

Here are 30 scrumptious Japanese side dishes that are bound to mesmerize you with their unique appeal.

Each of these dishes delivers on your plates a piece of the delicious Japanese culinary culture and will give you the utmost gluttonous satisfaction.

I stumbled onto Japanese cuisine by chance and have stayed by my will. With the help of a chef I know, online insights from Japanese chef bloggers, and books, I have put together this list of the side dishes that Japanese people take pride in.

So let’s get to it.

RecipesTotal Calories
Total Time Taken
Japanese Potato Salad
Pickled Daikon Radish
Teriyaki Tofu
Japanese Chicken Wings
Spicy Bean Sprout Salad
Japanese Grilled Eggplant ‘
Ramen EggNA140
Japanese Fried Rice
Japanese Turnips with Miso
Cold Tofu
Japanese Spinach Salad
Japanese Simmered Squash
Kani Salad
Japanese Green Beans
Japanese Cabbage Pancakes
Japanese Coleslaw7410
Spinach Ohitashi
Cucumber and Chicken Marinated in Chili Oil
Broccoli Blanched with Sesame Oil
Japanese Rolled Omelette
Ham Katsu24030
Crab Salad18310
Green Bean Shiraae
Agedashi Tofu

1. Japanese Potato Salad

Total calories (per 100g): 74
Total preparation time: 30 minutes

Potato Salads are obviously an indispensable part of any cuisine and the Japanese menu isn’t an exception.

Though the Japanese Potato Salad derives inspiration from the western recipe of this dish but it imparts a unique flavor that resonates with the Japanese flavor profile.

This potato salad is semi-mashed and flavored with Japanese mayo, hot mustard, and rice vinegar.

Colorful and creamy, this dish is a crowd pleaser!

Here is an easy recipe by Ochikeron

2. Pickled Daikon Radish

Total calories (per 100g): 64
Total preparation time: 40 minutes

Known as Takuan in Japanese restaurants; you might remember this from ordering sushi— it is the yellow sliced radish present in them.

Pickled Daikon Radish is prepared by marinating sliced crunchy radishes in rice vinegar, chili pepper, sugar, sake, and salt.

It has flavor-boosting qualities and can easily be made at home.

As a side, this recipe perfectly partners up with sweet and umami dishes.

Check out this recipe by Kitchen Princess Bamboo

3. Natto

Total calories (per 100g): 175
Total preparation time: 45 minutes

It is a traditional Japanese dish that is served with rice for breakfast because of its nutritional and filling qualities.

Natto is fermented soybeans with a slightly firm outside and soft interior. It fermented by using healthy bacteria named Bacillus subtilis, after being steam cooked.

It is slimy and hard to handle but it tastes wholesome when garnished with kizami nori or wasabi.

Here is an easy recipe by Future Neighbor

4. Teriyaki Tofu

Total calories (per 100g): 156
Total preparation time: 40 minutes

This vegan delight doesn’t compromise on taste.

For this side dish, the tofu pieces are baked till they are crispy and then served, usually with rice, after being laced with sweet and savory teriyaki sauce.

The tofu is made flavorful by soaking it in soy sauce and then adding cornstarch and pepper before baking it.

Serve it with steamed veggies along with rice.

Check out this recipe by Eating Vegan with Me

5. Japanese Chicken Wings

Total preparation time: 50 minutes

This side dish is a total banger and will become your favorite in no time!

Chicken wings are absolute essentials in watch parties and this Japanese version of it is here to make the experience more flavorsome.

Japanese Chicken Wings have a thin crispy coating and are smothered in a sweet and savory sauce. Its flavor profile is inspired by garlic, ginger, and pepper present in it.

Here is an easy recipe by No Recipes

6. Spicy Bean Sprout Salad

Total preparation time: 10 minutes

This is served as a complimentary dish in Japanese restaurants and pairs excellently with ramen.

Spicy Bean Sprout Salad pleases those who have the hots for heat and is made in a spicy sauce made with sesame oil.

It is seasoned by Shichimi Togarashi, which is the infamous Japanese seven spices, that adds a delectable aroma and flavors.

Use Ichimi Togarashi for more spiciness.

Check out this simple recipe by Just One Cookbook

7. Japanese Grilled Eggplant ‘

Total calories (per 100g): 72
Total preparation time: 20 minutes

This is one of the best manners in which eggplants can be prepared.

A staple side dish in Japan, Grilled Eggplant offers a combination of irresistible flavors and texture.

Traditionally the eggplants are sautéed and not grilled but grilling adds a charred taste to the mild sweetness of the eggplants.

With a sweet and savory glaze, like that of miso, this dish comes to life!

Here is a quick recipe by Marcia Oechsner

8. Ramen Egg

Total preparation time: 140 minutes

Ramen Eggs are easy to make and are like flavor bombs.

It has an immense amount of umami-ness; this side dish thrives with salty and sweet flavors which makes it quintessential for Ramen Bowls.

Locally known as Ajitsuke Tamago, this soft-boiled egg is popular for having a custardy yolk. These are marinated overnight in soy-based sauce.

These can also be added to sandwiches or salad.

Check out this easy recipe by Seonkyoung Longest

9. Japanese Fried Rice

Total calories (per 100g): 137
Total preparation time: 15 minutes

This is a beloved dish in Japan where people lovingly call Yakimshi.

Japanese Fried Rice is an appreciated side dish that is known for its savory flavors. It is made in a wok with soy sauce and a lot of butter which gives it its profound taste.

Onion, garlic, sesame oil, white pepper, eggs, and salt are some of the other usual ingredients used in the recipe.

Here is a yummy recipe by No recipes

10. Japanese Turnips with Miso

Total preparation time: 25 minutes

Japanese Turnips are those cute round and white turnips that you might have seen in the vegetable market.

They are quite easy to prepare and can be put together in no time. Throw them in for cooking with some green veggies and they come out delightful.

But with the addition of miso butter, they just turn more flavorful and make for a simple yet elegant side dish.

Check out this recipe by Epicurious

11. Cold Tofu

Total calories (per 100g): 49
Total preparation time: 5 minutes

A perfect summer side dish.

Soft and velvety tofu is chilled and served cold with a drizzle of spicy sauce made by mixing soy sauce, sesame oil, spicy bean paste, garlic, and green onions.

Pair it with a cold beer and enjoy!

DIY recipe—

12. Japanese Spinach Salad

Total calories (per 100g): 213
Total preparation time: 15 minutes

This side dish is delicious enough to eat often and healthy enough to indulge in guilt-free!

Traditionally known as Gomae, the Japanese Spinach Salad is whipped up using sesame dressing in no time making it a convenient side dish.

DIY recipe—

13. Japanese Simmered Squash

Total calories (per 100g): 45.5
Total preparation time: 40 minutes

Prepared with Japanese winter squash known as ‘Kabocha’, this side dish mainly derives its flavors from sugar, soy sauce, and mirin used in its recipe.

The simmering enhances its natural sweet and nutty flavor which makes this dish quite inviting.

DIY recipe—

14. Kani Salad

Total calories (per 100g): 100
Total preparation time: 15 minutes

A popular item in Japanese steakhouses, Kani salad is a mouth-watering side dish.

It is fashioned from savory imitation crab sticks and ripe, sweet mangoes pieces beautifully enveloped in a creamy mayo dressing.

Top it with some panko and enjoy a crunchy treat!

DIY recipe—

15. Japanese Green Beans

Total calories (per 100g): 31
Total preparation time: 20 minutes

This scrumptious side dish only requires a few ingredients to become the appetizing delicacy that it is.

Tossed in a sweet sesame dressing, the green beans are blanched to prepare this classic Japanese salad.

Refreshing and robust with flavors, this side dish is tummy satisfying.

DIY recipe—

16. Japanese Cabbage Pancakes

Total calories (per 100g): 255.8
Total preparation time: 30 minutes

This dish is an excellent option for breakfast.

Okonomiyaki is a traditional cabbage pancake that is prepared by using Dashi powder which denotes seafood stock.

These savory pancakes have shrimps and bacon which elevates the whole pancake experience.

DIY recipe—

17. Japanese Coleslaw

Total calories (per 100g): 74
Total preparation time: 10 minutes

There is no cuisine without its own version of coleslaw.

Japanese Coleslaw is crafted from shredded cabbage and carrots dressed in rice vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, and sesame or canola oil.

Top it with dried bonito flakes and sesame seeds and serve!

DIY recipe—

18. Spinach Ohitashi

Total preparation time: 15 minutes

If you are into Japanese cuisine, you must have heard about this side dish.

Spinach Ohitashi is a classic Japanese dish that is cooked in the ‘ohitashi’ cooking style which imbibes into the spinach subtle and umami flavors.

It is prepared in a dashi-based sauce.

DIY recipe—

19. Cucumber and Chicken Marinated in Chili Oil

Total preparation time: 15 minutes

This side dish perfectly combines protein with flavor.

Refreshing cucumbers are cut into pieces and marinated with steamed chicken in La yu (chili oil) marinade.

Drop some extra virgin olive oil to curtail the heat of this dish. It is the ultimate side dish for summers.

DIY recipe—

20. Broccoli Blanched with Sesame Oil

Total preparation time: 15 minutes

This easy side dish falls in the efficient food category as it requires less time and ingredients plus it can be prepared ahead.

Excellent for weekday meals, the broccoli is blanched in salt water and sesame oil which makes it inculcate its flavors.

DIY recipe>

21. Japanese Rolled Omelette

Total calories (per 100g): 151
Total preparation time: 15 minutes

Japanese Rolled Omlette, traditionally known as Tamagoyaki, is a soft and pillow-like omelette that is a very popular breakfast side dish.

Whisked and seasoned with mirin, soy sauce, sugar, and salt, these omelettes turn out to be fluffy and have a sweet and savory flavor.

DIY recipe—

22. Ham Katsu

Total calories (per 100g): 240
Total preparation time: 30 minutes

Ham Katsu is a popular Japanese ham cutlet that gorgeously pairs with Onigirazu (Japanese rice ball).

Thinly sliced ham is covered in breadcrumbs and fried to create these thin and crispy cutlets which have a satisfying savory flavor.

DIY recipe—

23. Crab Salad

Total calories (per 100g): 183
Total preparation time: 10 minutes

Packed with enticing flavors and fulfilling textures, this salad makes for a satisfying lunch side dish.

Imitation crab is tossed with crunchy veggies and herbs in a creamy and simple mayo dressing.

Old bay seasonings and lemon juice contribute their flavors generously to this dish.

DIY recipe—

24. Green Bean Shiraae

Total preparation time: 30 minutes

Shiraae is yet another classic Japanese side dish made with mashed tofu and vegetables.

The green beans in this recipe are first blanched with soy sauce and then tossed in the mixture of mashed tofu, miso, toasted sesame seeds, and a sprinkle of sugar.

DIY recipe>

25. Menma

Total calories (per 100g): 40
Total preparation time: 40 minutes

Menma is an iconic Japanese dish that is usually used as a topping for ramen.

These are lactate fermented bamboo shoots— seasoned by using soy sauce, sugar, salt, and sesame oil.

It pairs up well with rice as a side dish.

DIY recipe—

26. Gari

Total calories (per 100g): 357
Total preparation time: 45 minutes

Gari is the Japanese name of the pickled sushi ginger.

It is made from young ginger that is sliced and kept in a mix of sugar, vinegar, and salt.

It is an absolute hit because of its sweet yet savory flavor with a kick of spiciness.

DIY recipe—

27. Agedashi Tofu

Total calories (per 100g): 95
Total preparation time: 30 minutes

Agedashi Tofu is a savory delight made by deploying soft tofu pieces in potato starch and deep-frying them.

These crispy tofu pieces are then served in a delectable Tsuyu sauce made with dashi, soy sauce, and mirin which enhances the flavors of the tofu.

DIY recipe—

28. Ikayaki

Total calories (per 100g): 147
Total preparation time: 30 minutes

A popular Japanese street food.

It is made from squid— the squid is grilled until it is tender and then serenaded by a lip-smacking sauce crafted from soy sauce and other condiments.

Pair it with Japanese sake for a pleasing ‘summer-in-Japan’ experience.

DIY recipe—

29. Kiritanpo

Total calories (per 100g): 210
Total preparation time: 15 minutes

Kiritanpo is prepared from cooked rice which is pounded till perfectly mashed and then given a cylindrical shape.

Then these rice cylinders are either toasted and served with sweet miso or added to nabe (which is a special hot pot Japanese dish).

DIY recipe—

30. Gyoza

Total calories (per 100g): 124
Total preparation time: 45 minutes

Gyoza is an authentic Japanese dumpling that makes for a perfect side dish in a heart-warming dinner.

It is made in a skillet and has juicy fillings. Its covering is slightly crunchy on one side while the other side remains soft.

DIY recipe—

The Bottom Line

We hope this wholesome guide took you to the drool-worthy land of Japanese side dishes.

If you have any tips or suggestions, please let us know below.

Do share this with your family and friends.

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About Betty Ellis

Betty is a food researcher who spends most of her time analyzing the nutritional aspects of various foods. She also researches methods to enhance taste, as well as how to store certain types of foods. She enjoys cooking for herself and her three dogs even though she doesn't have a lot of free time outside work.