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Everything posted by okinawaChris

  1. Sanrensho - Thanks for the information. The English version of the Tokyo Sushi Academy is not working for me. Is there a contact e-mail listed on their website you could provide so I may contact the school? Thanks...
  2. Well I've been back in the states for almost a year now after my 3-year stint in beautiful Okinawa. I've been developing a Kushiyaki/Yakitori concept for development here in the states and I have most of the plan laid out. The concept will feature cooking over bincho, Jidori Chicken and utilizing specialty salts and sauces either from Japan or of Japanese origin. While my background is the Restaurant/Culinary business, the missing ingredient is actual training time in a yakitori concept in Japan. While there is the obvious benefit of this training to perfect needed skills for operational efficiency, the marketing angle can't be overlooked as well which brings me to my question. Does anyone know of a culinary school that may feature a course on Yakitori or even better would be to volunteer to work as an apprentice in an actual Yakitori restaurant to "learn the ropes". Any help or advice would be as always greatly appreciated. Thanks!
  3. Come on down! There are plenty of A&W's in Okinawa but I would stick with the Onion Rings and not their burgers which are sub-par at best. Their Chili-Cheese Fries do remind of home though! I agree with Kris about Freshness Burger. I visited one in Shinjuku during a recent trip up to Tokyo and really enjoyed it. They are very similiar in size to MOS but the quality of toppings seemed higher. They also had a superior bun. It seems like MOS is heading more into the mainstream fast-food sector with rigid uniformity while Freshness Burger was like going to your neighborhood buger joint where everything was homemade. Kua'Aina is good but I just find their prices to be too high for what you get but it is a cool theme. Now that I figured out their "taste" secret I can make them at home! But as my time in Japan comes to a close, I'll rest easy knowing that I'll soon be in the epicenter of hamburgerdom.....California! I look forward to waiting in the drive-through of the greatest burger chain in the world....In-n-Out! It makes leaving bearable somehow There was A&W in Bali!!??? Crap! I'd have made a special trip if I had known, but I never left Ubud... The A&Ws in Japan are all in Okinawa. They do have onion rings, and root beer, so I guess it's time I visited Okinawa! They're opening new ones all the time, so you never know when it might happen! Maybe I'll hit Mos Burger after I go to the gym today (bringing this back on topic). I can burn all those burger calories more efficiently if I eat after I exercise! ←
  4. Your best bet for Southern Style BBQ would actually be at the Hard Rock Cafe for their "Pig Sandwich". I had it at their Osaka CityWalk location a few months ago and it was quite authentic. http://www.hardrock.com/locations/cafes/sm...se.aspx?lc=TOKY As for pizza, the local style Japanese pizza is usually made with a cracker-thin crust very similiar to NYC Style. The problem will come in regards to the toppings and sauce....corn & mayo! If you have access to any of the US Bases around Tokyo you'll be able to get some tastes of home at their various restaurants. There is a place called David's Deli which lists Pastrami & Corned Beef as specialites. It is in Mita and you can find it online at another website. Also, Nathan's famous opened up in Harajuku with authentic Coney Island Hot Dogs.
  5. I'll be heading up to Tokyo next month for the FoodEx Show and would like to visit one of the Food Amusement Parks for some professional research. My time will be short so I'll have to pick only one. I've heard about the Curry Museum in Yokohama as well as Gyoza Stadium. Are there any others? What would be the concensus of the best one to visit. On another note, I am planning on also going to Tonki for their tonkatsu. Is it still the best in Tokyo? Is it difficult to locate for someone not too familiar with the city? I may also hot Inakaya if funds hold out ;-)
  6. This is by far our favorite dressing. A creamy style sesame dressing but at 900 JPY per bottle, it is a bit expensive.
  7. Speaking of miso-based sauce, I had some great lamb with a red miso sauce on my last visit to our favorite yakiniku parlor. To make a miso sauce for yakiniku, do you simply marinate in red miso paste or are there other ingredients mixed in? Any pictures of what type of red miso to buy in the market would be appreciated as well!
  8. We talked about ton-toro quite a while back, but we had some for dinner last night and this stuff is so tender! Before cooking ← Does Ton-Toro come from the loin section? It looks wonderfully marbled....the sure sign of flavor!
  9. Thanks again for the further clarification. Looks like I'll be spending my time at the FoodEx show after all. As for restaurants while I'm there....I plan to get to Tonki to sample some of their famous Tonkatsu. I would also like input from the group concerning if Inakaya is worth the expense...I'll be traveling solo so I'll have to find a dining companion. I'm also planning on hitting one of the Food Amusement Parks while in Tokyo for some research. Any advice as to Gyoza Stadium or the Curry one in Yokohama?
  10. Thanks so much Hiroyuki! I'm looking forward to hearing their response....
  11. It wasn't the sauce the marinates the beef prior to grilling....it was a sauce you made yourself from the four condiments and is meant for dipping the cooked items. I would have to describe it as a Very Sweet Soy Sauce with the same consistency. Possibly Soy mixed with Mirin but I didn't detect any alcohol in it. I hope this isn't too vague. I should have asked what it was on my previous visit but my lack of Japanese may have confused the matter.
  12. Last night we went to our favorite local, All You Can Eat Yakiniku parlor and had a great time. The dipping sauce you make yourself really sets off the flavors of the grilled meats. I always thought the four bottles on the tabletop were plain Soy Sauce, Rice Vinegar, Minced Garlic and Red Miso. On this particular visit I happened to try each individually to see what they really were. The Miso and Garlic were correct, but the others I had wrong. The one I thought was vinegar is what I believe to be lemon juice. The other one has me stumped. It was a very sweet soy based sauce with a caramel color. Is there "sweet" soy available in the markets or does this sauce go by another name. Here is the link to the restaurant we went to: http://www.tokukei.com/ Thanks again in advance for any insight!
  13. A restaurant and bakery idea....what a novel concept! Sorry to be a SA, but the basics of the industry are simple. Lowest Possible Costs + Highest Possible Volume = $$$$ The "Passion for Food" angle generally leads to one-off restaurants that may or may not last 6 months. The big money in the industry comes from Fast-Food, Fast Casual and the like. A typical Applebee's makes more money per square foot that Per Se or ADNY...it's just the way it is. So from a business perspective the less fashionable operations are the better option for the maximum ROI. This is what a true VC would be looking for....
  14. Corti Bros. is a fine foods retailer based in Sacramento. They have a long history and an excellent reputation. I've personally shopped at their market and you'll be fine ordering from them online.
  15. Interesting article from the Washington Post. I am interested if the perception is true that appearance of the fruit is equal or even more important than the flavor in Japanese culture. Here is a link to a picture of the showroom of the Sembikiya Fruit Store in Tokyo mentioned in the article. It looks more like a high-end jewelry shop than a store selling fruit.....then again at over 10,000 JPY for a melon I guess they have their design right! http://www.sembikiya.co.jp/nu_pro/nu_honten.html EDITED to change the link, the fruit store is the second picture down. Click on it to see it larger.
  16. I just got back from my first visit to Osaka & Kyoto. As it was a family trip celebrating my daughter's 6th birthday, we didn't hit up too many memorable dining experiences, instead going more for the quick service variety. The one meal that was excellent was for Kyoto style Tonkatsu at Katsukura on the 11th floor of the Isetan Department store in the JR Kyoto Station. This was by far the best Tonkatsu I've had in Japan and the restaurant has their act together. Tender flavorful Tonkatsu, designer interior, house-made Tonkatsu Sauce, great ceramic plateware, excellent Yuzu dressing and an average of JPY1200 per person made it quite a deal. Very popular, but our wait wasn't too long to get into the small dining room. While not expensive or overly high-end, it would make a memorable addition for this type of Japanese cuisine.
  17. Thanks Kris....that's just what I needed! I'll head to the store tomorrow to pick up a bag. I'll let you know how it turns out. Is this brand "No Wash"?
  18. Thanks Helen for the reply. I'm not worried about the price, simply looking for information/pictures of suggested brands. I think the markets here carry most of the mainland/national brands so any information will help.
  19. okinawaChris


    Cooks working in restaurants that used to serve Mexican-style meals to American servicemen experimented with taco ingredients in an attempt to create a dish more appealing to local tastes and came up with an idea of spreading minced meat over rice. It is said that the first taco rice meals were served in the Kin Town area outside Camp Hansen. from this site they also have a lot of information omn other Okinawan dishes ← I was first told about Taco Rice when I came to Okinawa over two years ago by an old ex-pat educator that has been here forever. It took me a few months to try but I have been a fan ever since. There is just something about the combination of flavors and textures that make the dish so appealing. One other thing to try on a visit here is the Okinawan tacos. The taco shell is made like a crepe with Masa (corn) flour added. The shells are fried to order and come out with a crewy texture....excellent! The home of Taco Rice is King Taco with various branches on the island. They claim to have invented the dish in 1946.... One last thing, I believe ToraKris posted about a place here called TacoSoba. Well the original shop is right down the street from where I live but has been closed for a week or two now. Hopefully they are only on vacation. If they reopen I'll submit a review.
  20. I have a simple question concerning rice purchased in the local markets. Due to having Commissary privileges here, I normally buy medium-grain California rice and pocket the savings. But going out to restaurants has raised my rice awareness and I'm looking for something more. The rice I need would be medium grain and used in meals as a side item or on something like Curry Rice. I went to my local market but the choices (and prices) were daunting. Also, not being able to read the information on the packages doesn't help as well! Could someone forward some pictures of suggested rice packages/bags so I can track it down at the store. Oh, I use a rice cooker to cook the rice....not stovetop. Thanks in advance! One other thing....some of my employees mentioned placing a piece of Binchotan charcoal into the rice cooker during the cooking process. They stated it would give the rice a great flavor. Is this true? What does the charcoal do to the rice??
  21. Thank you Jason for the clarification! With my focus on restaurant franchise concepts, equipment and supplies it looks like I should be spending the bulk of my time at Hoteres in Big Sight. How far are the two shows away from each other? I'll be in the Azabu area during my visit.
  22. I've made my reservations and will be attending the FoodEx Japan show next March in Tokyo. Has anyone attended the show in the past? Any tips, advice and "not to miss" aspects of the show? It should be fun to visit as it is the largest Restaurant/Hospitality show in Asia. The show is at Tokyo Big Sight in March.
  23. To me, Kaitenzushi = speed. A quick, inexpensive meal option where you can begin eating as soon as you are seated. From an operational perspective, it's a great set-up. I love the Dim Sum palaces of Hong Kong and even Los Angeles for the same reason, you eat as soon as you sit and you get to pick what you want. But the drawbacks are obvious in managing food costs through waste while saving on labor costs through reduced staff needed due to a self-service. Also, the amount you can charge is less because the customer won't expect to pay too much for the limited service provided. The only true way to make it work is through volume. At least in this part of Japan, Kaitenzushi are always large places that need rapid turn times of their seating to make a profit. The novelty factor will wear off and then it will survive or not depending on the quality served and the loyalty built up with the guests. It's an obvious risk that all opening restaurants face. For me after all the years in the business, I would choose something a bit easier to operate and open. If I was in the states right now, I would be contacting Muginoho USA and buying a Beard Papa franchise as soon as possible. Simple operation, cult status and a great product....what else could you want!
  24. Being located in the part of Japan with the largest population of Americans, I can tell you that the Curry Shops are by far the most popular local cuisine frequented. You can't throw a piece of Fukujin-zuke in a local CoCo Ichibanya without hitting one of us! Now obviously the cuisine served at a curry shop is not in the same stratosphere of a Ryokan meal, but it does offer a glimpse into what the average, working Japanese people eat day-in and day-out. If done right, with a leaning towards western tastes, Japanese Curry Houses could be very popular stateside. As for the delights of Roppongi, I didn't even know there was food there that wasn't in liquid form....but those observations may be for another forum or website entirely!
  25. Thanks Prasantrin! I was able to find Okinawa Appletown, which is actually a small shopping mall located in a new shopping/entertainment area built on an old military housing area north of Naha. As a double bonus for my kid's, Appletown is also the location of Okinawa's second Toy's 'R Us store! We made it up to the second floor and found the Pepper Lunch restaurant. After deciphering the automatic meal ticket dispensing machine, we sat down to wait for our meal to arrive. Very quickly our crackling hot cast iron bowl was delivered to the table, where the waitress explained the two sauces available and to use a spoon to mix, not the chopsticks I had at the ready. We ordered the house special beef bowl. A large mound of rice in the center topped with buttered corn and chives, surrounded by very thinly sliced raw beef. We added a bit of the first tonkatsu type sauce and began to stir to cook the beef and mix it all together. The kid's loved the interactivity of the process as I warned them off getting too close to that hot bowl. I used the second sweet steak sauce and it all combined nicely. Especially good was the crispy rice that formed on the bottom of the bowl, much in the way a good Bibimba does. Overall a fun meal experience, very inexpensive, hearty and very family friendly. There's one in Naha, from what I can tell. At Okinawa Appuru Town (Apple Town?) which is at Omoromachi 3-3-1. Open 11am-10pm. There's one in the Carrefour next to the Costco in Amagasaki. I think I might try it my next trip out there....if I can tear myself away from the Bulgogi Bake! ←
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