kobe food in kobe japan

The Ultimate Guide to the Best Food In Kobe Japan : What to try and where to eat it

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Kobe, nestled between the mountains and sea, is full of delightful flavors. From world-famous beef to Chinese street eats in Nankinmachi Chinatown, there’s a diverse range of cuisines packed into this humble port town.

With so many options for what delicious food in Kobe to eat, I’ve created this handy guide of the city’s must-try dishes and the best places to sample them. Read on for a mouthwatering tour through Kobe’s vibrant food scene!

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The Ultimate Guide to the Best Food In Kobe Japan : What to try and where to eat it

No time to read it all? Here’s a Quick Highlight:

  • Splurge on genuine Kobe beef at specialty steakhouses around the city like Steakland Kobe and Wakkoqu
  • Sample akashiyaki (octopus dumplings) at Takoan or Tachibana
  • Pan-fried gyoza with signature misodare (miso dipping sauce) is a Kobe tradition—try it at places like Hyōtan and Akaman
  • Hearty sobameshi (mixed fried soba and rice) is a local favorite for lunches—look for it on the menus of okonomiyaki joints like Hakusan Okonomiyaki
  • Fans of seafood must order takomeshi (octopus rice) at spots like Takoan and in izakaya pubs
  • Indulge in deep-fried comfort with korokke (croquette) stuffed with Kobe beef from Moriyasho Ten
  • Explore Chinatown for authentic chuka ryori (Japanese-Chinese cuisine) like Xiaolongbao dumplings at Yunyun or classic pork buns from Rōshōki
  • Book a Food tour in Kobe with a knowledgeable local who will take you to  all the top spots to eat in Kobe

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Read on for more details about all the must-eat Kobe foods, with insider tips on the best spots to sample them around the city

Related: best things to do in Kobe if you only have one day.

Tips For Eating in Kobe

  • Make reservations in advance, especially at popular steak restaurants, to avoid long wait times
  • Have cash on hand as many local establishments may not accept credit cards
  • Check restaurant websites and social media for up-to-date hours and days closed
  • Downloading Google Translate (12 other apps you need for Japan)  can help navigate Japanese-only menus
  • Tipping is not expected  (& things you need to know before going to japan)
  • Street food stands close earlier than proper sit-down restaurants, usually around 8-9pm
  • Izakaya pubs make great late night dining options, with many open until 1-2am
  • Grocery store basement floors are packed with grab-and-go prepared food perfect for picnics
  • Department store basements also have extensive food halls with tasty eats and gift items

The Ultimate Guide to the Best Food In Kobe Japan : What to try and where to try it

Splurge On A Steak Dinner With Genuine Kobe Beef

There’s nothing more iconic to eat in Kobe than genuine, locally-raised in Hyogo prefecture (Waguy beef) Kobe beef. Derived from purebred Tajima cattle and adhering to strict regulations, this melt-in-your-mouth wagyu competes for the title of best beef in Japan. Though certainly not a budget affair, Kobe beef delivers a truly exceptional dining experience. To make the most of your time in Kobe, Book a Food Tour that include a Kobe Beef Experience.

food in kobe

Where to Eat Kobe Beef In Kobe Japan: Kobe Best Restaurants for Kobe beef Restaurants in Kobe

Here are my Kobe beef and Kobe restaurants in Kobe I recommend:

Famous food in kobe and best kobe restaurants in kobe

Tor Road Steak Aoyama – Cozier neighborhood teppanyaki joint specializing in local beef

hours (12-9pm; closed Wednesdays) 

Coco Tran — Aesthetic Travel Blog By Film Photographer Coco Tran https://cocotran.com/food-in-kobe/

Wakkoqu – High-end teppanyaki steakhouse with a wide selection of upper-tier cuts and a dazzling tableside cooking performance

hours (11:45am-9pm, closed Tuesdays);

address:  2 Chome-2-9 Nakamachi, Chuo Ward, Kobe, Hyogo 650-0046

Steakland Kobe – ourist-friendly teppanyaki restaurant where skilled chefs grill premium steaks right at your table

hours (11am-9pm);

address: 3 Chome-11-9 Shimoyamatedori, Chuo Ward, Kobe, Hyogo 650-0011 

Tip: Budget options for a taste of Kobe beef include finding it as part of mixed fried rice dishes (sobameshi) at local okonomiyaki joints or on croquettes (korokke) at vendors around town

Akashiyak: restaurants in kobe japan for Kobe-Style Octopus Dumplings

Similar to Osaka’s famous takoyaki balls, akashiyaki hails from neighboring Akashi city. The batter is lighter and eggy yet still contains delicious bits of chopped octopus. Typically served in sets of 10 and lightly dipped in dashi broth, these petite dumplings make an ideal snack.

Where to Sample Akashiyaki In Kobe

Mitsuha – Combined with kushikatsu (fried skewers) at this restaurant on Motomachidori street

Takoan – Also try their octopus rice side dishes with the meal combo here

Coco Tran — Aesthetic Travel Blog By Film Photographer Coco Tran https://cocotran.com/food-in-kobe/
Toakan

Tachibana – Perfect for popping in during your lunch break

Tip: Keep an eye out when exploring Kobe as akashiyaki is commonly found at street food carts around major tourist areas!

Misodare Gyoza: Kobe japan restaurant for Pan-Fried Dumplings in Signature Sauce

Kobe puts its own spin on Chinese potstickers, known as gyoza, by creating misodare sauce for dipping. The velvety mixture contains a clever combo of miso paste, vinegar, soy sauce, and chili oil. After frying up crispy fried dumplings, dunk them in this moreish sauce for the full Kobe gyoza experience.

Where to Find Misodare Gyoza Around Kobe

Ganso-Gyozaen – The OG inventor still serving platters of pan-fried perfection after 70+ years

Coco Tran — Aesthetic Travel Blog By Film Photographer Coco Tran https://cocotran.com/food-in-kobe/

Gyoza Daigaku – Tiny Chinatown spot churning out salty, pan-fried potstickers

Hyōtan – Two local branches keeping the misodare tradition alive

Akaman – Similar set up and dipping sauce approach with two locations around town

Tip: Can’t decide between pan-fried or soup dumplings? Order the full gyoza experience with a mixed platter to sample multiple cooking methods!

Sobameshi: kobe japan restaurants for Soba & Rice

Economical yet deeply gratifying, sobameshi combines soft soba noodles and white rice all chopped up and stir fried together. Toppings like beef tendons (bokkake suji) make the rice dish a true Kobe specialty. Best of all, sobameshi appears on the menus of okonomiyaki eateries across town.

Where to Track Down Hearty Sobameshi Bowls

Hakusan Okonomiyaki – Scallop sobameshi comes sizzling hot in the skillet

Hakusan Okonomiyaki

Nagata Tanku Suji – Various styles beyond the classic bokkake suji sobameshi

Okonomiyaki Spots Around Town – Many joints offer their own spin on this local favorite

Tip: In a rush? Okonomiyaki chefs can whip up quick takeaway containers of sobameshi for busy sightseers on the go!

Takomeshi: Rice Studded With Octopus

Kobe’s seaside access means no shortage of stellar seafood, including tako (octopus). Takomeshi features chopped up pieces of parboiled octopus incorporated right into the rice as it steams. The result is incredibly aromatic and the firm, almost squeaky texture of the octopus is a delightfully fun contrast against fluffy white rice.

Where to Seek Out Takomeshi Around Kobe

Takoan Restaurant – Octopus rice appears frequently alongside other octo-centric dishes

Daimaru Department Store Basement Floor – Grab handy octopus-filled onigiri rice balls to go

Local Izakaya Pubs – Look for claypot versions in cozy neighborhood watering holes

Tip: Adding a raw egg yolk to your takomeshi bowl makes for some serious Japanese comfort food at its finest!

Korokke: Japanese Croquettes Stuffed With Kobe Beef

Beloved across Japan, korokke features mashed potato and other ingredients shaped into patties, breaded and deep fried. The Kobe twist? Substituting diced local beef inside instead for the ultimate fried delicacy. A popular item at butcher shops, keep an eye out for korokke on street food carts too!

Top Spots in Kobe For Sampling Korokke 

Moriyasho Ten – The beef potato korokke is a local legend at this butcher shop institution

Kobe Croquette – Specialty shop preparing multiple styles of korokke and katsu fried cutlets

Department Store Basements – Grab some to-go croquettes from food hall vendors

Tip: Can’t decide between korokke or Kobe beef? Restaurants like Steakland Kobe allow diners to add a few croquettes to any steak order!

Kobe Street Eats in Nankinmachi Chinatown: What to eat in kobe chinatown

As one of Japan’s three largest Chinatowns, Nankinmachi packs major Chinese flavor influence into its bustling pedestrian streets. The cuisine here seamlessly fuses both cultures into chuka ryori such as ramen and gyoza. Food stalls keep the night market atmosphere pumping into the wee hours as Kobe locals mix and mingle under glowing red lanterns.

Must-Try Chinese Dishes Around Nankinmachi

Rōshōki – Over a century of perfecting irresistible soup dumplings and pork buns

Yunyun – Their signature sheng jian bao pan-fried pork buns draw lines around the block

Street Food Stalls – Skewered meats, tempting fried squid, bubble tea, and more tempting treats line the narrow streets

Restaurants – Take a seat to dive deeper into regional Chinese fare from spicy Sichuan spreads to Cantonese dim sum

Tip: Wash down the fiery Sichuan mala flavors at restaurants like Chuanchuan Xiangu with chilled glasses of Chinese rice wine or baijiu!

Finish Off With Famous Kobe Custard Pudding

While not exactly a “dish”, no foodie guide to Kobe would be complete without mentioning its famous mousse-like custard pudding. This dreamy dessert features light and silky smooth texture without being overly sweet. Sold in tiny tubs at convenience stores all over the city, custard pudding makes the ultimate way to end your eating explorations of Kobe on a sweet note!

Where To Pick Up This Famous Sweet Souvenir in kobe

7-Eleven – Yes, the humble convenience chain store carries this cult classic Kobe item

Supermarkets – Look for packaged cups in the custard and chilled dessert sections

Antenna Shops – Specialty souvenir outposts like Kobe Kitano Ijinkan stock up for tourists

Tip: While any chilled custard pudding in Kobe tends to be top-notch, the OG is said to be the “Queen’s” brand beloved by European visitors from the city’s port history days!

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Let Your Tastebuds Explore More Delicious Kobe!

With such diversity across neighborhoods like Chinatown and so many local specialties on offer, deciding what to eat in Kobe can be challenging. Hopefully this breakdown of the city’s must-try dishes provides plenty of tasty inspiration for your upcoming travels!

When planning your visit to Japan, consider extending beyond just Tokyo and Osaka to explore lesser-known gems like Kobe. Though often overlooked, this laidback port town overflows with culinary delights from creamy custard to melt-in-your-mouth beef. Let your tastebuds discover all the flavors this underrated destination has to offer!

What dish are you most excited to try in Kobe? Share your foodie thoughts in the comments below

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