Japanese cuisine is known for containing certain dishes that many westerners find hard to stomach, delicious as they may be. That includes sashimi (raw fish!) and natto (fermented soybeans!).

But what about the flip-side of the coin? Which western foods make Japanese people want to barf? The results may surprise you – or perhaps not. Here’s a list!

The following information comes courtesy of this thread on reddit. What western foods do Japanese people typically have a problem with?

  • Delicious, white gold

The first offender is SUGAR. Overly sugary foods, breakfast cereals, and cake icing topped the list of things that makes Japanese eaters want to spew. In general, the Japanese do seem to have less of a sweet-tooth compared to westerners. There’s a clear difference in the taste between, say, Japanese chocolate and British chocolate. While British chocolate tastes like sweet, creamy heaven, Japanese chocolate is a lot more bitter and deeply flavourful. Japanese people also report being horrified by the sweet green tea that is available for sale in the U.S. (green tea is never sweet in Japan! Never!) Perhaps eating less sugar in general is the secret to the Japanese people’s slim waistlines?

▼ Sweet nectar of the gods…

FlickrStuart McKinnon

  • What have you done to it!?

Japanese people really don’t like it when you take their staple foodstuff (rice) and contaminate it with sugar (see above) in the way we Brits do with rice pudding. To us, it’s a nostalgic childhood treat; sweet, easy to eat and nice and chewy, too. But to Japanese people it’s just total desecration of something that deserves respect – you should see Japanese people’s faces when they watch a westerner pour soy sauce over their rice. Sorry, Japan!

▼ Rice? Good! Pudding? Good! What’s not to like?


  • That’s not dessert…

Here’s another British classic that makes Japanese people want to vom (so much hate for British food! It’s good, we swear!). We’re talking about black pudding of course, also known by the much less appealing monicker of blood pudding. Basically a sausage made with fat and blood, and usually eaten as part of a full English breakfast along with fried tomatoes, eggs, beans, bacon, mushrooms, sausages and toast. (Mm, fattening.) It seems that, while Japanese people are more than willing to scarf down massive quantities of slimy fermented soybeans at breakfast time, they turn their noses up at a bit of blood.

▼ Can you spot the black pudding? Hint: it’s black

FlickrAndrew Fogg

  • Why am I eating medicine?

Next up on our list of offenders is licorice! Redditor ITS_A_GUNDAAM explains why:

“Married to a Japanese man. He hates licorice. Overly sweet cakes and stuff he’ll suck it up, but licorice is the only food I’ve seen him eat that made him puke. He hates licorice the same way I hate eating shiokara (pickled and salted fish guts). There’s a reason for that; the licorice root is used in traditional Asian medicines, so to him eating licorice is like eating castor oil.”

  • The root of all evil

Interestingly, the licorice hate brings us nicely to our next culinary nasty: root beer. Japanese people famously hate root beer because, to them, it tastes like medicine (some people even think it ‘tastes’ like a shippu – a medical compress often used for muscular injuries). We’ve actually covered this before in quite some detail, but if you’re in the tl;dr club, check out this video below of Japanese people trying root beer for the first time. Heh heh.

  • Two apples, please. Nude.

Finally, it seems that Japanese people can’t stand eating fruit skins! One time this writer went to a pick your own nashi pear farm in Kansai and was amazed at how everyone brought little personal knives along with them to de-skin the pears before eating. (But the skin is the best part of a pear!) When it comes to fruit, it seems Japanese people will peel anything (apples, plums, grapes…) despite the fact that the skin of a fruit contains all the best nutrients. Whether it’s simply habit or out of fear of pesticides or germs, we’re not sure, but it does seem that recently more and more people are starting to come around to the idea of chowing down on fruit skins these days.

▼ They just don’t seem to find fruit skins that app-peeling. (Sorry.)


What do you think of this list? Are these foods gross or yum?

Source: Reddit
Main Image: FlickrEric May