Tabehodai and nomihodai 食べ・飲み放題
Feast like the Japanese!
If there were ever a list of must-know words in order to enjoy a great evening out in Japan, no doubt nomihodai and tabehodai would be on that list! Meaning "all-you-can-drink" and "all-you-can-eat" respectively, these are two much loved Japanese pastimes!
Feast at low prices
Tabehodai is written as 食べ放題 and nomihodai as 飲み放題 in Japanese. Two words to look out for in the busy Japanese streets at night! Offers can be for an hour, two, or occasionally even three. A nomihodai usually costs a little less than a tabehodai, with the average price for two hours ranging from 800 to 2,000 yen ($7 to $18). Some offers combine both options, and you can eat and drink as much as you like (usually from a special limited menu) for an average of 3,000 yen for two hours, with a surplus of 500-800 yen ($4.50 - $7) for an additional hour.
Also read : Eating cheaply in Japan
These low-priced offers attract all kinds of crowds. From groups of salarymen meet up after a night of work at a nearby izakaya for a tabehodai, to groups of young students taking advantage of a great deal for a night out they can afford on their budgets.
A wide range
Nomihodai tend to offer the same type of drinks menu (draft beer, highballs, Japanese spirits), however a tabehodai can offer a wide range of foods for all tastes. The menu usually includes standard Japanese izakaya dishes such as karaage, yakitori or takoyaki. This basic all-you-can-eat offer, which can be found everywhere, is often complemented by more specialized offers. So for a yakiniku (grilled meat barbecue) tabehodai there could be chicken, pork, or beef (usually the most expensive) menus to choose from, or a combination of all three.
Apart from the mainstream offers, In Japan you can find more unusual tabehodai offers. There are pizza, dessert, or even pancake tabehodai offers! For the most curious and courageous diners, there is even a natto tabehodai, that famously pungent Japanese dish made from fermented soybeans...