These Tasty Japanese Finger Foods Will Bring Guests Back For More

These Tasty Japanese Finger Foods Will Bring Guests Back For More



Call them appetizers, finger foods or starters, there's something about small plates that makes them popular the world over. Typically served in multiples, these mini-dishes are convenient and bring an element of variety and surprise. We see them in different regional forms, from antipasto in Italy to Spanish tapas to Chinese dim sum.

Japanese food has its own version, known as Otsumami, or Sakana. Typically eaten alongside drinks at Izakaya bars, this family of finger foods is a full-on savoury adventure. We've collected a few of these dishes for you to try at home. They're fun to cook and even more fun to eat. 

Skewered chicken finger food

These Sansho Pepper Yakitori with Spicy Furikake get their name from Sansho pepper, which is a citrus-flavoured spice made from Japanese pepper plants. Szechuan or lemon pepper will do in a pinch, but it's best to try and find the real deal if possible. It combines with black and organic sesame seed, ginger and other peppers to make a spicy seasoning. Sansho pepper also goes into a separate glaze for the Yakitori (skewered chicken). Don't be put off by the seemingly complex ingredients list. This will deliver a restaurant-quality Japanese classic in under 25 minutes.


For another Japanese take on chicken, check out these Spicy Japanese Izakaya Style Grilled Wings. These are sweet, thanks to the use of brown sugar and mirin, while a sprinkle of our Homemade Wasabi Furikake Seasoning and ground ginger brings the spice. Marinating the chicken is the key to unlocking the flavour in this recipe, which delivers a deep umami taste to the table.


Rice balls

Rice balls are a popular form of Japanese finger food, and they make great appetizers for party guests. These Shiitake & Bacon Rice Balls with Spicy Ginger Sauce will be a hit at your get-together. Our Sriracha Seasoning brings a hot, tangy flavour to an umami-packed combination of thick-cut bacon and shiitake mushrooms. 


Alternatively (or perhaps additionally), roll out these Fried Chicken Rice Balls with Creamy Plum Vinegar Ginger Sauce to impress party guests. These panko-breaded balls pack juicy marinated chicken inside bok choy-lined rice to create a flavour bomb that you can dip in a sweet-tangy sauce. This Japanese bar food classic will become a crunchy, flavour-filled favourite at parties. 


Talking of flavour bombs, our Umami Bomb recipe takes the humble mushroom to a whole new level. Button mushrooms are the base for this simple stuffed mushroom surprise, but the filling is what makes this dish sing. It blends salty Parmesan cheese with other ingredients ranging from fish sauce and paprika to the earthy-sweet flavour of caraway seed to create a rich, layered filling. The cheese browns with panko bread crumbs in the oven for an irresistible crunch. 


Skewered seafood

Japan's island geography gives it a unique relationship with seafood that comes out in its sushi dishes and snacks like tempura and grilled fish. Miso Shrimp and Shishito Pepper Yakitori is a classic Izakaya bar snack, featuring skewered shrimp washed in a sweet glaze. The glaze uses white miso, a fermented grain and soy bean paste with a light, salty-sweet flavour that lends a layer of umami saltiness to the glaze. 


The other ingredient in this dish are the shishito peppers that nestle alongside the shrimp on the skewers. These sweet, citrus-flavoured peppers are mostly mild (although a spicy one shows up every so often), and their thin skins blister and char easily on the griddle for a stunning appearance and taste on the skewer. Safety tip: Poke a hole in each pepper before you skewer it to let the steam out.

A trip to Japan is expensive, and while serving up these dishes at home won't enable you to enjoy its rich cultural delights in person, you can at least pretend that you're in an Izakaya bar somewhere, sampling some of the snacks that help to make Japanese cuisine so renowned around the world. 

Still hungry? Try these other small plate recipes:

Shopping List
    Shopping List

    Personal List

      Shopping List



      View Recipe>>


        Shopping List
        Go To Meal Planner