Edited by Holly Stark
Kobe is a great destination for food lovers. There’s a great mixture of flavors, fusion food and cool cafes. From hidden food stalls serving fast food to the array of hipster cafes and classy waterside restaurants, choosing where to eat in Kobe is an endless and ever-growing task. With the city blooming as a foodie haven, the vibe and food situation of Kobe is thriving. Being a major Japanese city, there is no shortage of amazing food in Kobe. Kobe Beef is without a doubt the showstopper of the food scene in this sophisticated city, but the fun doesn’t stop there. Not a fan of beef? Have no fear, Kobe has plenty of other options too, so you are sure to find something that will suit your taste buds. For those who want to experience the best of the city’s culinary scene without confusion, check out this roundup of must eat food in Kobe and the very culture of the city. Check out some of the must-try restaurants in Kobe, sweet shops serving tasty goods, unusual spots conjuring up the unknown and traditional and delve into my Kobe food guide to start your trip on a high!
Photo Credit: Food Newsfeed
A trip to Kobe could never be complete without a true Kobe food experience; which means visiting a Kobe beef restaurant. A huge part of the Kobe experience, sampling the marbled beef or wagyu is something you must do if you’re a meat-eater in the city. That being said, for those on a tight budget, there are options to get your fix while leaving a few yen over to enjoy some of the other things Kobe has to offer. Wondering where to eat Kobe beef in Kobe? Want to make sure you’re heading to a haven of grilled greatness? Stop by Kobe Nikusho Ichiya; home to some of the best food in Kobe without a high price tag. This Kobe beef restaurant is both classy and affordable. Try the Roast Beef Rice Bowl, topped with delicious flavorsome beef, which has been roasted and covered in a special four-sauce blend.
A Kobe hidden gem in the vibrant Sannomiya District, Baam Somdet serves up delicious Thai food. With a generous and hearty menu, classic decor, and Thai music, this is as good and as Thai cuisine in Kobe gets. The centrally located spot has a great ambiance and is perfect if you’re seeking Thai eats while traveling around Japan. The iconic stir fry dishes and their signature Popia Sotto spring rolls will make you remember the place every time you think about your visit to the city. Make a night of it at the restaurant bar, choose from Japanese sake (Nihonshu), Japanese spirits (Shochu), a big list of wines, colorful cocktails or beer. Seeking good food in Kobe and a fun night in a busy central area? Don’t miss the Thai restaurant of Baam Somdet.
Photo Credit: Kobe Finder
Tucked away down a small side street off the Motomachi shopping arcade is Mama’s Selection Motomachi Cake; a local family-owned business that has been established in Kobe for over 70 years. It started as a cream puff store that was sold in wagons after World War 2. The spot is a must-visit for anyone with a sweet tooth and is especially popular with locals. Part of the store’s success lies in its very reasonable pricing. As well as delicious sweet offerings, the store has a relaxing atmosphere and modern decor. There is a spacious indoor seating area as well as tables and chairs outside where you can do a spot of people watching. Their most iconic and popular cake is the Zakuro; a fluffy sponge cake made from egg yolks. Filled with cream and topped with a strawberry and icing sugar, the sweet treat has been loved for many generations. Alternatively, try the St Marc; a mouth-watering chocolate and whipped-cream cake.
Photo Credit: Food Network
Japan’s connection with vegetarianism can be traced back to the 13th century, when Zen Buddhist monks spread a form of cuisine called shojinryori; which is the practice of using only seasonal vegetables, tofu and seeds in cooking. The practice aligned with their beliefs and way of living which avoided harm to all beings and meant maintaining a clear-conscience. Wondering where to eat tofu in Kobe? Check out Umenohana. Dive into an unthinkable array of artfully crafted veggie dishes such as grilled tofu lollipops drizzled with black sesame and miso sauce, or crispy pumpkin cutlets. For an ambitious and interactive experience, try cooking your own sheets of tofu curd (known as yuba) at your own table. Enjoy the Kobe food experience all with views of the charming Kobe waterfront.
Photo Credit: The Woks of Life
Both delicious and spicy; when I first tried spicy tofu, I really wasn’t expecting it. For brave foodies, spicy tofu is a must-try. Whether cut into small cubes in soup or fried, tofu is a really popular ingredient in Japanese cuisine. Among them is mapo tofu or spicy tofu; a dish of Chinese origin adopted by Japan. The dish, which is not for the faint-hearted, consists of diced tofu mixed with a spicy sauce of fermented black beans, ground pork and red pepper. True mapo tofu is powerfully spicy with both conventional “heat” spiciness and the characteristic “mala” numbing spiciness flavour of Sichuan cuisine. The dish is often described by chefs using seven specific adjectives: numbing, hot spicy, hot temperature, fresh, tender, aromatic, and flaky. A must-eat food in Kobe for spice lovers, the dish is best found in the Nankinmachi Chinatown district. Check out Shisen Saikan, where many people get hooked on their special mapo tofu.
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