Ohhhh my god, ohmygod, OH MAI GOD, I’m in heaven! Can I just show you all the amazing food I’ve been eating? I feel like I’m going through a food revolution, a food renaissance, a food rebirth, if you will. I’m seeing the world in a whole new, food-fueled light!
Why? Well, because the Japanese do food like no other. It’s ALWAYS tasty, always expertly prepared, and always served up quickly. We arrived in Tokyo, and I immediately dragged my friends to a conveyor sushi place.
Conveyor Belt Sushi
I love these places, because you can essentially order whatever you want, and the sushi is delivered right to you! It’s super convenient, and the sushi is miles better quality than what you get in California. Sure, you can get good quality sushi in California…if you want to pay for it. Each plate, with two pieces of nigiri, was about $1.20, which is really impressive. In California, it’s more like $4-8 for 2 pieces of nigiri, otherwise known as how I loose all my money on your average Tuesday night. The quality here is so good, and so affordable, this is honestly one of the greatest things I miss about Japan when I’m not here, and it will ruin you for all other sushi.
Convenience store breakfasts are life, and very delicious to boot. My favorite meal, so far, is a flan-like pudding, water, tomatoes, and a Pizza-man. This is basically a steamed bun, but filled with cheese and pizza sauce. Need I say more? It’s a glorious smash between Asian cuisine and pizza, in a holy matrimony no one but the Japanese could have invented. I think it’s limited edition, but I highly recommend trying it. Only to be found at Family Mart!
Ramen, 2 Ways
Two types of tonkotsu ramen (pork based broth), but with two very different, very tasty results. The first we had in Ikebukuro, and it was the tastiest, most delicious broth with succulent, juicy meat, and a soft boiled egg to die for (and remember how much I hate those kinds of eggs?)
The second place we went to was by the university off of the Takadanobachi exit on the Yamanote line. This place served the same kind of ramen, but in a really unique and tasty way! The broth was very thick, not clear at all, and packed with savory, salty pork flavor. If you don’t like thicker broths, this is not for you, but I absolutely LOVED it.
The next day we set off for Nikko, which was awesome, and on the way back stopped for lunch at a very touristy-loking restaurant. I expected it to be bland, tourist food, and we couldn’t find anything that looked better, but I was really shocked! This dish is very simple- breaded and fried pork cooked with eggs and onions in a sweet and savory broth. I’ve made it before on this blog! But man- the sauce, though simple, was PACKED with flavor, and the pork was really tender! I have to re-try this recipe when I come back home, because I don’t think I met the mark with my recipe. I need to try harder!
Sashimi Rice Bowl
We went to Tsukiji Fish Market for breakfast the next day, and I about died trying the fresh fish. We had a Toro sampler- regular tuna, medium fatty, fatty, and minced fatty tuna, as well as a bowl of salmon sashimi. I cried a little bit after eating the fatty tuna, it just melted in your mouth so perfectly. It was amazing, and we are coming back to eat more before we leave in a week. If you like sashimi, you HAVE to go to Tsukiji, although it’s being torn down for the Olympics at the end of this year. 100% worth it for the best fish you’ll ever have.
I’ve heard a lot about this place, so I really wanted to go! Luckily, after the Robot Restaurant, it was open and had room for all of us, so I quickly ordered the standard for curry- fried pork cutlet with their basic curry. Apparently, this place is really popular because they can make the spicy levels really, really high, which is really unusual for Japanese curry! I’m not a big spice lover, and the regular curry was just right- spicier than normal, but not burning pain. It was really yummy!
Melon-Soda Float and Fries
This was an obligatory American stop at McDonalds, mostly to try this cool float! It was fun, and delicious! And the fries were good. McDonalds has some cool seasonal specialties in Japan, so I really wanted to try what they had for the summer. I love how Japan gets a lot of seasonal specialties- for example, right now peach flavored everything is all the rage for summer, as well as melon. I love peach, so I’ve been riding that train very happily.
AYCE Shabu Shabu in Gion
It was a long and busy day, so we decided to find an all-you-can-eat shabu shabu place. We got half and half shabu shabu and sukiyaki. The sukiyaki half was my favorite, but both were good! We were barely there for an hour before we had to tap out, but at about $22 per person for endless meat, soup, and vegetables, we felt pretty happy. Shabu Shabu is aptly named, because when you swish the meat through the broth it’s supposed to make that sound- shabu shabu. I didn’t notice it, to be honest, but that might be because I was too busy stuffing my face as fast as possible.
Tempura Curry Udon
Just had this for dinner! Basically the best of both worlds- curry AND udon together, with some shrimp tempura! This was a really filling and delicious meal, and I was soooo happy after eating it. We found this restaurant on a side street off the main drag of Gion, and it was really beautifully located right by a little stream. We got to sit out there with a great view of the water and the pretty trees lining the street- it was a nice end to a very active day (we hiked up to Kurama Onsen.)
And that’s all for now! I hope you enjoyed reading about my food exploits. We have a few more days in Kyoto, and then off to Hiroshima and Osaka, before heading back to Tokyo. Only 8 days left! I am a little distraught- I really don’t want to go home. I love everything here so much and am having so much fun with my friends!
News: I’ve got a Twitter now! Follow me @yumpenguinsnack for food updates 🙂
Stay tuned for more updates about what I’m eating- talk to you later! 🙂