If you have a 9-to-5 job, there comes a time where you are so overwhelmed and drained from work that the last thing you want to think about is what to cook for dinner. Lucky for us, Japan has an amazing variety of instant foods that are cheap, fast, and tasty instant foods. Not only are these products appetizing, but they also make a great souvenir for friends overseas. We rounded up a list of the most delicious instant foods that you need to stock up in your pantry as soon as possible.

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1.Ochazuke – Nagatanien

If you like tea and also like rice, you’re bound to get hooked with ochazuke. Ochazuke is a traditional Japanese dish made with a bowl of rice with hot brewed tea poured over it. While this isn’t a difficult dish to make in general, you should definitely purchase Nagatanien’s ochazuke seasoning to speed up the process. All you need to prepare is some leftover rice, a cup of hot water and you’re all set. If you want to jazz up your ochazuke just add some grilled salmon flakes or Japanese pickles. Whenever I have the late night munchies, this is the food that I gravitate towards as it’s quick, low in calories, and filling enough to hold me over until morning.

2. Olive Oil Drenched in Mackerel – Seven Eleven

Using mackerel caught from the Sanriku offshore and extra virgin oil produced in Spain with a pinch of salt, this is one tasty appetizer. This canned mackerel is so tasty, you should always have one stocked in your kitchen. Add some chopped vegetables and you can make a super fancy salad or add the canned mackerel to your pasta sauce to upgrade your same old pasta recipe. Sold under ¥200, you really can’t ask more for an
instant food. Beware, this product is sold exclusively at Seven Eleven.

3. Honey & Mustard Glazed Bacon – K&K

K&K’s canned foods are known for being on the pricey side and it’s no different with the honey and mustard glazed thick bacon pieces. Costing over ¥400, you may be reluctant to try their product at first, but I guarantee you, it’s worth every bite. With an addicting sweet and slightly sour flavor, it’s hard not get completely obsessed with this instant food. If you’re into booze you’re in luck, this appetizer goes well with both beer and wine.

4. Hieshoushirazu-san Series Raw Ginger Samgyetang – Nagatanien

Hieshoushirazu-san means someone who isn’t sensitive to cold in Japanese. Nagatanien created a lineup of product targeting people who are sensitive to cold. Do you constantly find yourself bundled up in layers of clothes? Or perhaps you know someone that seems to always be shivering. Every product in the lineup contains fresh ginger which will stimulate your blood circulation and keep you warm on those cold nights. It is said that eating ginger raw is the best way to maximize the benefits of eating a ginger. Samgyetang is Korea’s answer to Campbell’s chicken noodle soup. It’s a dish that has been passed down for generations and is believed to be able to prevent sickness and rejuvenate the body. Containing only 76 calories, this is the soup to eat if you ever find yourself wide awake on a cold frosty night.

5. Instant Miso Soup – Nagatanien

Recreating an identical flavor to homemade miso soup, instant miso soups have long been a staple for me. I always like to carry them around when I travel, as they are a great cure for a hangover or an upset stomach. While there are myriad of instant miso soup options out there, this one is my personal favorite as it comes in 6 different toppings. If you want something with less sodium, opt for their “genen” version, which means low in salt in Japanese.

6.U.F.O. Yakisoba – Nissin

When it comes to instant noodles, Nissin is at the top of its game. All the best instant ramen are from Nissin and it’s no different with yakisoba either. The ultra-rich sauce, chewy noodles and dried cabbage pieces all come together and create a divine savory flavor. The process of making yakisoba is slightly different from making an instant ramen. Once you fill up the container with hot water, you need to drain water from the pre-cut holes on the lid.

7. Pre-packaged Curries – MUJI

It may seem a little weird to buy curry from your favorite retail store, but it is surprisingly one of MUJI’s best selling products. Boasting a wide selection of curry, you can find milder curry such as Japanese-style curry to hot and spicy Indian-style curry. With such an extensive lineup, you can switch up your curry options depending on your mood. Put your curry in a nice looking ceramic bowl and you’ll feel like you’re eating at a restaurant. One cool fact about MUJI’s pre-packaged curry is that they do not use any artificial coloring or chemical condiments in their curry.

8. Sato no Gohan – Sato Foods

If you’ve ever made rice without a rice cooker, you would know how hard it is to make not-burned, decent and fluffy rice. And if you want to make rice on a stove for a single serving, things get a little messier, measuring the amount of rice and water, and eyeing the stove for around 40 minutes? I mean who’s got time for that? This instant rice comes in a single serving and is perfect for anyone with a hectic lifestyle a.k.a you. Pop these in a microwave or put them in a pot of boiling water and you’ve got yourself a rice that tastes as if it was served straight from the rice cooker. Using rice produced from Niigata (One of the most major rice producing prefectures in Japan) the taste of Sato no Gohan is consistently high quality.

9.Cellophane Noodles Tantanmen – Acecook

Instant cellophane noodles have long been popular by the Japanese. They’re easy to make, available in various flavors, and low in calories. Most instant noodles such as ramen and yakisoba come in high calories, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up on eating instant noodles. Ditch your instant ramen and choose cellophane noodles instead. You can satisfy your noodle cravings without consuming half the amount of calories that come with instant ramen. If you’re looking for an alternative for something tasty and heavy like ramen, try eating Acecook’s cellophane noodles in tantanmen flavor. Based on Chinese dandan noodles, these noodles are slightly spicy and packed with umami. The whiff of Sichuan pepper is absolutely mouth-watering and will make you ask for seconds.

10. Knorr Soup DELI Whole One-Minute Tomato Soup Pasta – Ajinomoto

If you’re big on tomatoes, you’re in for a treat. Using a whole tomato in this soup pasta, it definitely tastes like you’re eating fresh tomatoes picked from your grandmother’s garden. This soup has a thick texture and tastes more acid than the tomato sauce in your average pasta, so if you’re not a fan of fresh tomatoes, the flavor of this soup pasta may not be right up your alley. To spice up the tomato soup pasta, add some parmesan cheese or mozzarella cheese. Another popular way to eat this soup pasta is by putting it on top of a piece of bread.

Top Image @syasara