Commentary: A guide to eating Japanese in Fredericton

Naru and Tokyo Ramen are two places in Fredericton that Saki Kato recommends for eating Japanese food. (Alex Dascalu/AQ)

Saki Kato is a St. Thomas University student from Japan who loves Japanese food. She wants more people to eat Japanese food and learn about it. This guide focuses on the best places in her eyes to get authentic Japanese food and what to eat once you’re there.


North Americans are familiar with sushi, but there are many more delicious Japanese dishes. The other name for Japanese food is washoku and it was registered as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity by UNESCO in 2013. In Fredericton, food lovers can eat not only sushi, but also other kinds of Japanese food. Here are some new dishes to try, where you can find them and some other things to know about this cuisine.

Where to go


Naru, a Japanese sushi restaurant on Queen Street, offers a wide variety of Japanese food. If you want to experience real Japanese food in Fredericton, it’s the best place to visit. The chef makes sushi in an open kitchen, so customers are able to see how sushi is cooked. The atmosphere of the restaurant is calm and chic. The chopsticks there are made from stainless steel, so it’s Korean style, not Japanese. There are cheaper lunch menus too, so people can eat delicious food at a reasonable price. In Japan, normal sushi is raw fish with sour rice called sumeshi, but at Naru, people can sample creative sushi.

Tokyo Ramen

When customers enter the restaurant, the waiter says “Irasshaimase!” which means welcome in Japanese. This Forest Hill location offers not only ramen but also Japanese bowl dishes. The restaurant uses soft and chewy homemade noodles. An eating space in the back has a Japanese rug called tatami which makes customers feel as if they’ve arrived in Japan. I visited this restaurant when I felt homesick and I was impressed with the taste. It’s very close to Japanese ramen.

What to eat

Enjoy the season, eat tempura

Tempura is a traditional Japanese dish consisting of seafood and vegetables. They’re fried in a batter made from eggs, water and flour. You can dip it in a sauce called tentsuyu, a salted dipping sauce, or salt it. I recommend you eat shrimp tempura because the coating is crispy, the shrimp is fluffy and it tastes delicious. If you put tempura on rice, it’s called tendon. Crispy tempura and warm rice go well together. If you put tempura on soba, it’s called tempura soba. If you want to try Japanese-style tempura in Fredericton, it’s worth a visit to Naru.

Sukiyaki: Loved by all generations

Sukiyaki is a Japanese-style hotpot dish. The main ingredients are beef, tofu, long green onion, shirataki noodles and crown daisy. They are simmered in salty-sweet sauce. When people eat it, they dip beef into a raw egg. The sweet sauce and raw egg taste good together. Using the leftover of hotpot is called shime. While I’ve never seen this dish in Fredericton, you can make it. The salty-sweet sauce is made with soy sauce, sugar and mirin, a Japanese sweet rice wine which you can buy at the Friendship Convenience Store on Albert Street.

Ramen: The dish you can’t stop eating

Ramen, a noodle dish, is one of the most popular Japanese meals for young and old. The noodle is made from flour, egg, water, salt and other ingredients. There are four major ramen soup flavours: soy sauce, miso, salt and pork bone. In my hometown of Sapporo, a city in Hokkaido, Japan, miso ramen is the most famous. The taste of miso is salty, and it’s made from fermented soybeans. The soup is commonly topped with grilled pork, boiled egg, long green onion and seaweed. If you want to try it, you should visit Tokyo Ramen on Forest Hill Road. They make wonderful ramen.

What to say

People say “itadakimasu” before eating to show their gratitude to people who cook the dishes. It also means that every food has life and says thanks to all of them for giving their life. After eating, people thank the people who work hard to prepare the dishes by saying “gochisousama.”

Most restaurants in Japan offer wet towels before eating and it’s used for wiping hands. There are some people who wipe their face but it’s bad manners so you shouldn’t.

When people eat noodles, they sip the noodles. By doing so, you can enjoy the flavour of noodles. Some hate to hear the sound, but it is allowed and common in Japan.