One of the things that international travelers look forward the most visiting Japan is food experience.

There are DMs flooding my inbox non-stop asking about the best food to enjoy in various cities of Japan. While it is easy to identify each region’s meibutsu (popular gourmet/specialties) , things get a little shrouded in mystery when it comes to Tokyo, the world’s largest and busiest megacity.

Why? The reason is simple. Tokyo has everything.

After living here for more than 3 years, I can attest to this. There’s nothing I need in my life that I cannot find in Tokyo. Especially so when it comes to food choices. In fact, Tokyo has so much and too much that we are beyond spoilt for choice. One can get a headache just from staring at the dizzying array of dining options standing in front of the restaurant directory in a shopping mall.

While first timers usually make a beeline for famous ramen chains and standing sushi bars, with long queue often spotted, I must bring to your attention that Tokyo’s food culture is so much more than just a piping bowl of Tonkotsu noodle and Edomae-style sushi.

You might be aware at the fact that Tokyo has the most Michelin-starred restaurants in the world, boasting a whopping 200 Michelin-starred restaurants for year 2023. And rightfully so, such accolades makes Tokyo the very city that prides itself with world class gourmet cultures.

That’s right, Tokyo is a melting pot of affordable street eats, traditional culinary cultures, international fares and creative artisan cuisines–all at once.

This is evident in the latest food event held in Ariake: Tokyo Tokyo Delicious Museum.

Featured in this 3-day large scale event include prestigious Michelin Guide restaurants, famous local dining brands as well as the undiscovered gems. It was a very special chance to encounter a precious taste of famous chef’s creations in a casual and friendly manner, for many of these restaurants are so popular it usually requires weeks, if not months of advance reservations.

I was blown away by just how it felt like a global event, with not just popular Japanese cuisines but international fares such as Italian, Spanish, French, Chinese and much more.

I had the honor to have an intimate experience with 3 different food booths, and briefly interviewed their chefs. Let me share it with you foodies!


(The outlook of Minami-Aoyama branch)

Arguably one of the most famous yakiniku restaurants in the metropolis, Yoroniku is paradise for meat lovers, especially when it comes to wagyu beef!

I have been to their Minami Aoyama branch twice in the past, and was really excited to revisit the taste of it again at the event.

I asked Hayakawa san, the head chef of Ebisu branch if it is really difficult to make a reservation these days, and he told me that since international tourism resumed, 80% of their customers have been foreign travelers, thanks to their easy booking system available in English. In fact, since travelers often secure their booking way in advance, now local customers are having a hard time getting a spot, he chuckled.

The menu highlight was Wagyu Sukiyaki Rice Bowl with a generous amount of freshly shaved truffle, topped with a glistening egg yolk–an incredibly luxurious dish savored in such a fun and casual atmosphere. I gobbled it down all standing up, and ready for my next tantalizing adventure.


2. La Brianza

Located in Roppongi, this Michelin Guide restaurant reincarnated as an amiable pop up space in Ariake, where you can take a peek into the kitchen while the prestigious chef would personally serve you a bowl of freshly tossed pasta.

When asked about his decision to go the Italian route, Chef Okuno revealed that both his father and brother are actually in the field of Japanese cuisine. Decided that he would walk a different path, Chef Okuno moved to Italy and trained at various regions before returning to Japan to open his own restaurant. At La Brianza, efforts are made with careful selection of local produce to support local community, and only the highest quality of safe ingredients are used.

The first bite into the pesto sauce laden “maltagliati”–literally means “badly cut” in Italian, my eyes lit up. How could these square, dumpling-skin looking flat sheets taste so rich on its own and delightful in its springy texture? I thanked Chef Okuno and promised that I would one day visit his restaurant for a proper dining experience.


3. Bar Portillo

Chef Victor welcomed me at this booth with a charming big smile. He looks as exotic in his blonde hair as the colossal plate of paella placed in front of me.

“Yes, I am half Spanish and half Japanese!” he confessed upon my inquiry. Similar to Chef Okuno, Chef Victor followed his father’s footsteps to bridge Spain and Japan with his reinvention of classic Spanish affair right in the heart of Nakameguro.

He served me a plate of Paella Mixta, which was like a dance party in my mouth bursting with flavors. If I wasn’t so filled with all the yummy treats so far, I would have totally gone for the Iberico ham and perhaps even their signature smokey basque cheesecake as well.

You can expect to taste these tantalizing dishes and more, at their bistro at Nakameguro!

These are all existing F&B outlets in the city center of Tokyo, so event though the event is over now, whoever visit Tokyo in the near future can still reserve a spot at the restaurant that caught your attention!

Other booths:

Featured in the event are other traditional Edo favorites such as grilled eel by GINZA Nyorosuke, Kachidoki soba Yoshida and more.

Did you know that Tokyo has its own winery, too?

I feel incredibly lucky to be able to call Tokyo my home, for I think Tokyo is indeed a world class city when it comes to delicious food experiences. Not only you can find literally almost everything under the sky in this inspiring city, all the people who made their names here are undoubtedly not only lucky, but surely people who have an undying passion, and work incredibly hard to thrive in such a competitive megacity.

Hopefully the next time we taste something unforgettable in Tokyo, remember the team behind who gift us such a pleasant experience, and whenever we can, extend our support to them!

For now, enjoy delicious Tokyo!