I have just been on holiday in Japan, I was only there for a week, since it was part of a trip where I also attended a wedding in Thailand, so a lot of flying back and forth and a lot of eating amazing food. We were mostly in the Tokyo area, so a lot of the different food featured in this blog post is from Tokyo. Japan has as most people know, a very different food culture and they really make amazing food, it’s impossible to try everything in a week, but here are some of my highlights…well and there also was a few low points for example octopus balls, little round octopus dough balls called Tokoyaki, read all about in this post, and all about what to eat when you are in Japan.
Cake!!!!! I wanna start with cake because even though it maybe looks more like something you would find in Paris, it right there in Tokyo, and the Japanese appreciate these little pieces of art, just as much as the french people does. So we went to Isetan, an amazing department store, in the basement they have som many different kinds of cakes, that you could ever dream of, this one was a raspberry and chocolate cake, that i wolfed down in about 30 seconds or less, yummy. You can also get bento boxes there, where you mix your own, my recommendation is to bring it all to the beautiful Goyen national park and eat it there, we were so lucky that the cherry blossom was peaking at that time, so we had an amazing experience.
And now for something a bit more Japanese: Tempura. Tempura is mostly vegetables and seafood I batter, deep fried, do I need to say more? It tasted so great, and was something I ate a lot on this trip, but be aware, after visiting one of these tempura places, you will smell of deep fried food until you shower and wash your clothes, but it’s worth it of course.
No way you are going to Japan without visiting a Yakitori bar, this one was right in the middle of Shinjuku, just before we went to see the famous Robot Show. This place only served Yakitori, wich is skewered and grilled meat and vegetables, this one was three kinds of chicken: Skin (oh so good), chicken thigh and chicken breast. For me it was kind of weird that this is the only thing they had, but it’s mostly like that in Japan, they have one thing on the menu and then they are damn good at it. And these Yakitori bars are amazing, filled with Japanese businessmen, drinking sake, smoking cigarettes and yelling all over the place, whats not to like? 🙂
Now you probably think what the f…utch is this? Wel it was my snacks before going to see the Robot Show, the most insane experience ever, a MUST try if you ever find yourself in Tokyo. The menu was green candy floss, sparkling canned chardonnay and tequila jello shots, I also ate caramel popcorn, but it didn’t made it to the picture. So you can say that the menu was just as tacky as the show, it couldn’t be better 🙂
The purple ice cream is made of taro, wich is a root used a lot in the Asian kitchen, the lovely glazed pieces with sesame seeds are actual taro, both was delicious and can be found on the street corners in Tokyo.
Wagyu beef, excellent meat, in our case we went to one of these places where you grill your food at your own table, and consume it with lot’s of beer and sake. This was really a great evening, and the whole idea of cooking you food at the table is very popular in Tokyo, so make sure to make a reservation, it was really hard for us to get a table. As side orders for the meat, we got differents kinds of omelet (more Korean, than Japanese), with all kinds of vegetables, cheese and kimchi, so delicious.
Have you ever heard of Taiyaki? The ultimate street food dessert. it’s like a waffle, shaped like a fish, filled with custard!!! I’m just gonna let it sink in… I had one with vanilla cream and one with cherry custard…best day of my life…or well you know, you get the point, it was good.
Udon noodle are thick silky noodles, and they are so so good We had the Noodle at a place called Udon Mentsu-Dan, where you order your noodle first and you go get your beer and tempura afterwards. A very low key place, with a good atmosphere.
Next amazing thing on the menu was Okonomiyaki, it’s kind of pancake-omelette thing, we went to a place in Shibuya called Sakuratei, its a place where you have to make it yourself, most places there is a chef cooking it for you, but it thought it could be fun to make it myself, and be aware if you do, again your clothes will smell the rest of the day, fortunately, all most every place in Japan make you smell of food, so nobody really notice. But you order from the menu and then you get this bowl, mine was with cheese, ham, cabbage. pickled daikon, pickled ginger, egg and something crispy I’m not sure what really was . Then you mix it all fry it on the hot plate, grease it with the sweet syrup kind of thing there is on the table, serve it with lots of Japanese mayo on it, and try to eat it without looking like an idiot 🙂
Ahh Sushi, no Japan without sushi….or?? I only got it once on my trip, and was actually our splurge evening where we went to Keio Plaza Hotel and ate at their Sushi restaurant, and I’m just going, to be honest here, it was in my opinion not worth is, if you are going to eat Sushi in Tokyo, go to the fish market, it is much cheaper, probably the freshest in the city, and you can pick just the sushi you like, no need for eating sea urchin, like there was on my plate, if you don’t want to (if you want to, go for it).
While we are one the Fishmarket subject, then i would like to highlight some of the other things they had out there: sesame ice cream, something everybody should try, it tastes so good. The rest of the things I ate out there I have no idea what was, but it was ehhh… well can you say squid on a stick?? It was all kinds of squid mixed with dough and vegetables, cooked and put on a stick, some of them tasted very fishy, some the ones with the corn was great, and a good little afternoon snack.
Maybe your thinking now, this does not look very delicious, but damn it was!!! Another amazing thing about Japan is that they expect everything is of really good quality, even the dessert you buy drunk in the middle of the night at 7eleven. This is a chocolate mousse with whipped cream and topped with a creme brulee and a brownie, it was like going to heaven…or you know just your own little dessert paradise. I had to buy one the next day, just to be sure it was really that good, and it was.
And for the best Ramen and Gyoza, often sold as the only two things on the menu, but with lots of different variations. I had it several times on our trip and the quality is always amazing, and it just tastes so good. The ramen broth usually comes as a chicken broth or one with bonito, if your no too crazy about the fishy taste you find in most Japanese food, get the one with the chicken base, but you should definitely try the other one too.
And now back to the famous squid balls. In the area around Hozomon gate sensoji temple, there are so much street food and I wanted to try it all, especially these squid balls I had read about, and they do look delicious, bu they were not for me, when I took a bite of them they were filled with chewy octopus arms and fishy liquid, maybe they were just not good at the place we bought some, if I ever go to Japan again I will try them at another place, and the teriyaki chicken and soba noodles were so good, so everything was perfect 🙂
This was all for now of my Japan food guide, hope you enjoyed reading it, and remember you are always welcome to ask questions.