I have made it no secret that Tokyo is one of my favorite places in the world. It is a Japanese city that is filled with the latest innovations, an undying energy and a rich culture. Plus, there are so many quirky things to do there, and a lot of them are centered around the food scene.
1. Dine in a Jail Cell
Most people would avoid (at all costs) dining in a jail cell, but Alcatraz ER will give you an offbeat dining experience of a lifetime. This restaurant is designed as a jail and each cell or prison represents a dining area for a group. Staff that are well dressed in nurse uniforms tend to the call of the bang of a metal rod against the cells bars.
Brave diners (like myself!) will nosh on things like blue curry served in a urine tin or drink cocktails out of dummy’s head. Can you ever imagine eating sausage in the shape of bowel movement; well this place has more quirkiness to offer than you can imagine. A must have experience even you prefer not to visit again.
2. Eat Grilled Salamander in Piss Alley
Piss Alley, also known as Omoide Yokocho (or Memory Lane), is best described as the restaurant version of Golden Gai, a section that squeezes in over 200 miniature bars into a network of six narrow alleys. Piss Alley is a small area filled with quaint yakitori restaurants, and a few drinking holes, most with just a handful of seats.
If you are an adventurous eater head over to Asadachi, a name that translates to Morning Wood, where you will get the privilege of tasting Grilled Salamander.
Visitors who love to challenge their eating habits visit this restaurant for the most bizarre meal. Here you can also try pig testicles, frog shasimi, raw pig testicles and snake liquor. Yum!
3. Eat Dinner with Robots
From the moment you enter The Robot Restaurant lounge to the time you depart, you will feel like you are diving into the colors of neon that bounce off the mirrors. There are dramatic fights between bikini clad girls riding atop robots, the sound of the cast playing the charismatic drums and visitors are given a glow-stick to cheer during all the action.
This place is more dedicated to a flashy show than on food, but you can order a sushi bento box or caramel popcorn to dine on while you are entertained. Plus, flowing beer and a few drinks are available, but the core attraction is the captivating chaos of the show.
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4. Get Your Meal From a Vending Machine
You heard right — eat a meal from a vending machine! You can barely walk a block in Tokyo without passing by a vending machine.
Though most are filled with an array of beverages, many will have food products that can easily make a meal. The list includes special items like flying fish soup, eggs, hot dogs, hamburgers, sushi, ramen and so on.
My afternoon lunch of warm corn soup was surprisingly tasty!
5. Indulge in a Massive Matcha Dessert
Offbeat food in Tokyo is not limited to main meals, but extends to sweet desserts too, and some of the most popular is made from matcha, a green tea.
Desserts like ice-cream, mousse, cream, jelly and many more variations are available. But, I say if you are going to do it go big! I ordered this this quadruple layered matcha gateaux chocolate parfait that was topped with an entire piece of cake!
Yes, I ate the whole thing! #noshame
6. Sip Coffee at a Cat Cafe
Tokyo is filled with quirky things to do and going to a cat cafe ranks really high on that list. Calico Cat Cafe in Shinjuku gives you the opportunity to play with unique feline breeds while sipping on a cup of coffee. So odd that it’s definitely worth a spot on your bucket list.
If you prefer, you can also play with cute hedgehogs at a cafe in Roppongi!
7. Eat Chankonabe (Sumo Wrestlers Stew)
Chankonabe is the nutritious stew that sumo wrestlers eat daily as part of their bulking up diet. It is a hearty dish that is relatively healthy, low in fat, high in protein and filled with tons of veggies. There are many Chankonabe restaurants in Tokyo, conveniently located close to the sumo stables where the wrestlers practice and live.
But, Yoshiba is the most unique because it is located in an old sumo stable with a sumo dohyo (ring) right in the center of the dining room.
Read More > Eat Chankonabe in Tokyo. Sumo Wrestler’s Stew.
8. Get Served by a Space Ship
The menu at Uobei is common to see in many Tokyo restaurants, but the speciality lies in their ordering and serving system. Being completely dedicated to hi-tech modern era, customers are seated upon their place in a long row and are made to make orders through buttons available, then suddenly a space ship arrives and delivers the food. The taste and ambience is worth paying the money and the experience visitors gain makes an everlasting impression as no humans are involved in the entire restaurant process!
These Tokyo food experiences are some of the most unusual in the world. Bon Appetit!