Said lesser-known dish is chazuke—think of it as Japan’s version of your morning cereal but more awesome in every way. It’s made by pouring green tea or dashi (Japanese soup stock) over cooked rice and adding all kinds of toppings. While it’s easy to make with leftover rice at home, if you have none to use try eating at Dashi-chazuke EN. Like the name implies, it’s a chain that specializes in chazuke poured with dashi. The stores are small, and the counter-style eating might seem fast-foody. But make no mistake, it’s a healthier, classier, but still well-priced place. You can find their stores around Tokyo and even in other big cities.
When you enter, get a ticket for your order from the machine at the front of the store. It works like your typical vending machine, which if you don’t know how to operate you clearly haven’t been in Japan long (see our Tokyo newbie dining guide). The English and Japanese name of the dish appears on the buttons, so don’t be intimidated and order away. All items are less than 1,000 yen, but you can choose to get two kinds of chazuke for 1,000 yen. In the latter case you get the “half and half” ticket and tell the waiter which two you want. When you hand off your ticket to a waiter you can also place a drink order.
After a not-short-but-not-long wait, they’ll bring your order which looks like this:
All orders come with pickled veggies and tofu drizzled with sesame miso sauce. The small teapot holds the dashi, which you can pour over the chazuke to your liking. I happened to order the Fisherman’s Soy-Marinated Raw Tuna that day. The fish was nice and fresh, and the other toppings definitely convinced me I was sticking to a healthy diet. The dashi itself was great—it was flavorful and light. The whole meal leaves you filled and satisfied, but it is in no way hard on the stomach.