San Mateo, CA

Japanese Spots in San Mateo That Are Worth Visiting


Nijiya Market San Mateo

I know this spot is not a restaurant, but its such a hidden gem and a piece of japan tucked away in the city of San Mateo. Whenever, I come here I always find myself visiting a part of Japan when I am inside! Here are some of the reasons why you need to make a visit to this Japanese market next time you are in town!

1. Bentos: Bentos are Japanese lunch boxes that you could usually fine in Japanese convenience stores all across Japan! I love how Nijiya Market offers a wide selection of Japanese Bentos, Side Dishes, and even Onigiri (Japanese Rice Balls). This place is your one stop shop for quick and easy meals for lunch or for a long day after work where you don’t feel like cooking, so you take home a bento to go. Some of my favorite bento’s include, their grilled salmon, yakisoba, sushi bentos.

2. NIKU-NO-HI (MEAT DAY): If you live nearby in San Mateo, you should definitely pay a visit to Nijiya Market on the 29th OF EVERY MONTH. Why? Because it is meat day and Nijiya Market normally offers 20% off on all of their meat selections, including the premium prices! Why on the 29th you ask? In Japanese Niku can also translate to Ni (2) Kyu (9)! Cool huh? (NOTE: Please check to see if Meat Day still happens during COVID period, as I have not been able to go to Nijiya Market since COVID)

3. Japanese Snacks and Drinks: If you love Japanese snacks and drinks, you will never get bored or tired of visiting Nijiya Market. This market always carries a wide selection of Japanese snacks that are imported straight from Japan! You can always find exclusive Japanese Pocky flavors, Kit Kat Flavors, Fun Japanese drinks and alcoholic beverages. The list simply goes on and you will have a blast searching through everything.

LOCATION: 1956 S El Camino Real San Mateo, CA 94403

Karaage Burger

I love this place because it’s affordable and delicious! If you love Japanese fried chicken, you will definitely love it in burger form! Here are some of my favorite menu items to order if you ever visit!

1. Karaage Deluxe: This is my favorite karaage burger on the menu! I am a huge fan of Japanese fried chicken so I order this one almost every time. It is made with Japanese fried chicken (also known as karaage), bacon, cabbage, tomatoes, and their house KB sauce.

2. Megazilla?!?!: If you’re up for a challenge, don’t skip out on this burger because it is MASSIVE. You can practically share this burger with like 3 people because of its huge size! It is made up of karaage (fried chicken), menchi katsu (fried beef patty), tonkatsu (fried pork cutlet), and bulgogi (Korean spicy pork), bacon, fried egg, their in-house KB sauce, tonkatsu sauce, tomatoes, red onions, and cabbage. I feel like it’s a 1 to 2 pound burger!

3. Nori Fries: If you’re into seasoned fries, try them nori style! Perfectly roasted seaweed flakes give these fries a one of a kind flavor! I always order this! You can also get Nori Tots as well for those who are extreme tot lovers!

4. Matcha Milkshake: If you love yourself some milkshakes, I highly recommend trying something different and ordering the matcha milkshake! It is a little treat to pair with your friends and huge burger!

LOCATION: 670 E 3rd Ave San Mateo, CA 94401

Takahashi Market

If you have not had a chance to visit Takahashi Market in San Mateo, this is your sign to go now! If you are familiar with spam musubi’s you will LOVE what they do at Takahashi Market. This market has so many musubi’s and for an affordable price as well! Ot only do they have good and affordable food, this market is a piece of history in San Mateo as it started back in 1906 by Issei immigrant, Tokutaro Takahashi. This family-owned market has served the Bay Area community for four generations and still going strong! Here is a list of items to order:

1. Mix Musubi Tray: This tray holds 4 orders of musubis cut into 24 pieces! It’s a huge order but you also get to try a variety of musubis. I normally order the Salmon Musubi, Unagi Musubi, Mochiko Chicken Musubi, and the Kalbi Musubi. But honestly, out of the 10+ selections, you have so many good options to choose from!

2. Kalua Pork: Every time I miss visiting Hawaii, I come to Takahashi Market to order the Kalua Pork and it comes in the 10oz or 20oz. If I order the 20oz, I normally can share it with someone and have leftovers for later! It is a lot of food.

LOCATION: 221 S Claremont St San Mateo, CA 94401

Taichi Bowls

This is a new Japanese spot in San Mateo that offers specialty rice bowls that are made with quality ingredients and are extremely delicious! It

1. Smoked Berkshire Katsudon: WOW. I have had many katsudons in Japan and throughout my growing years in Japan, but this smoked Berkshire katsudon was simply amazing! It is made with smoky fried Berkshire pork katsu, eggs, onion, signature "warishita" sauce, koshihikari rice and it is topped shichimi flakes. If you have the option, please do me a solid and add the melted cheese. I NEVER knew adding cheese to a katsudon would be good until I had it here. Trust me, add the cheese, and you’ll be cheesin as you eat this katsudon bowl.

2. Premium Washu Gyudon: I am a fan of gyudon because I love the thinly sliced beef and the sauce it is marinated with that usually tops rice. This premium washu gydon is made with a blend of washu and angus belly beef, onion, ginger, house made gyudon sauce, koshihikari rice, and pairs really well with poached egg or melted cheese. I prefer to get the poached egg for this bowl though!

3. Fried Oysters: If you love fried oysters, I highly recommend getting them here are Taichi Bowls! If I am not mistaken, you have the option to order the fried oysters with your Katsudon or Gyudon in a combo meal set! So if you are extra hungry, order your rice bowls with the fried oysters!

LOCATION: 38 E 4th St San Mateo, CA 94401

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Huge foodie traveling all over the Bay Area, city-to-city, eating at restaurants and recommending my favorites. Yes, I eat a lot, and YES, I will travel for food! Hungry tummy coming to a city near you. :)

San Francisco, CA

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