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Everything posted by rarerollingobject

  1. Hey, I snooze more when I'm eating/travelling with me! Where there's a will (and no willpower), there's a way. Day 5 Last full day and I need to squeeze in ONE final trip to Isetan foodhall if it kills me..but first, mid-morning sustenance in the form of some serious tonkotsu ramen at Ramen Jiro: This is a really small branch of the famous shop in Nishi Shinjuku. It appeared from the gobsmacked looks we got upon entering that they don't get many tourists in, and even more so, that they don't get many females of any sort in..everyone in there or who came in subsequent to us was a teenage boy. Or so it seemed! I was being really openly stared it, which isn't something I've experienced in Japan very much. Normally it's the overt glance and then OMG, LOOK AWAY, SHE SAW ME! or a gentle fondle on the train, so this was unexpected. Not to be deterred, I was here for the food. Ramen Jiro broth is more like gravy than soup, so thick it is with fatty porky goodness. The noodles are more like spaghetti thickness, and the extra splash of fat from the pot and raw garlic I asked for ramped the flavour up to 11. This was the SMALL, by the way: Good stuff. After this, we made our way over to Mitsukosi Nihombashi, with its beautiful noren curtains at its entry: And made some edible purchases at Pierre Herme, being Satine cheesecake: And Plaisir Sucre (my favourite): And a few more macarons, because we like to follow a balanced diet. We then crossed the street over to Kiya knife shop: where I bought a ceramic knife (Y4200) and a small vegetable knife (Y8995). Watching the man sharpen the carbon steel knife for me right in the store was a highlight of the trip..fascinating. Back to Isetan for a few more purchases, being yuzu kosho, ponzu, matcha, a yuzu dressing and five jars of Christine Ferber jams to lug home. These were strawberry, mint and black pepper, vine-ripened peach, apricot and cardamom, Mirabelle plum and Ispahan – a lovely combination of lychee, rose petal and raspberry. I also picked up a book of famous train station bento boxes from throughout Japan, at Kinokuniya. And some matcha chocolate dipped yatsuhashi cookies (a Kyoto specialty made from rice flour and cinnamon): And then a final shopping trip to Muji in Yurakucho for housewares, and dinner at the nearby Yakitori Alley, a cluster of tiny bars under the train tracks where sticks of chicken, pork and vegetables can be had in good company, with much beer and sake imbibed..(photos even blurrier than usual due to increasing intoxication of camera operator): Eggplant with dancing bonito: Negima (yakitori with green onion) and tsukune (chicken meatballs): Chicken skin..sooooo good: And because we were still peckish, a mere bagatelle of a snack - some more tonkatsu at a random restaurant we passed walking back to the hotel: And then bed, with a very early start to get to the airport, but not before picking up something for the ride; a maguro ekiben. Delicious range of tuna and tuna belly. And that was our trip to Tokyo..thanks for bearing with me, it’s been fun writing this, even with the challenge of reaching the keyboard over my distended belly.
  2. Day 4 Now, I love sushi. I REALLY love sushi. But when I'm on holiday, I love my sleep more..so I wasn't going to get up at 4am to get to Sushi Dai for love or money. At the much more reasonable hour of 9am, we rolled into Tsukiji fish market to find one of the zillion Sushizanmai branches, and started with a nice round set. (Apologies for the below, I really should have turned it around): Sushi chefs preparing Japanese footwear (reference to a silly YouTube sushi-ya spoof video, sorry Hiroyuki, couldn't resist!): Then started ordering by the piece; this is shiro-ebi or deep sea white shrimp..very sweet and ozone-y: Aburi toro (grilled tuna belly) and o-toro: Botan ebi, scallop, uni and negitoro: More o-toro: Even more o-toro and some more aburi toro for good measure: Snow crab leg nigiri: Chef knives and prep area: At this point, the sushi chef I'd been ordering from started looking a little stressed and looked at me with pleading eyes to stop (I thought), so we took our leave for a little wander in the streets outside the market: Love the wellington boot lineup in this one: A good sit in Hamarikyu Gardens and a boat ride up the Sumida river to Asakusa (passing a whale tail lock!!): And a tempura set with a 500ml jug of beer each at Kamiya Bar. I know this is one of the oldest bars in the area, and certainly seemed to attract a very local clientele, but the silence in the place was deafening..noone spoke, no music, no dishes clattered..it was quite serene, even if we did feel like bumbling neanderthals with our stage whispers and stifled giggles (neither of us maintain much dignity in very serious situations): After ALOT more walking and finally making it back to my new favourite place on earth, the Isetan foodhall, I ravaged the Sadaharu Aoki counter for green tea and caramel beurre sale eclairs. These were two of the most delicious things I have ever eaten in my life: Um, and also three Pierre Herme macarons, Arabesque (apricot), Jasmine, and Citron (no picture): And..ahem..some more sushi, with some tamago stamped prettily with "Tsukiji..something" and some most yummy o-toro: 5 minutes later..dinner! Just kidding. A couple hours of strenuous napping later, dinner! Katsukura tonkatsu, at the top of Takashimaya Times Sq. What I love about this place are the small touches; a personal suribachi to grind your own sesame seeds in, which you then add to your tonkatsu sauce...three different kinds of pickles..barley rice...citron dressing for your unlimited refills of cabbage..kurobuta pork, which is a myocardial infarction on a plate but soooooo good: And I love the look on this lady's face..I was not tryint to take a photo of her but I'm so glad I captured it! There might have also been some Henri le Roux salted butter caramels consumed before bed: Every dentist's nightmare! Tomorrow: more ramen, more tonkatsu, more sushi, and yakitori!! And that's the last of it, I promise.
  3. I love lighter and crispier tempura, too, but I was told the best tempura isn't like that. Really crispy tempura isn't made with traditional tempura batter, and also to get it really crispy, you'd be cooking it a little longer which means your ingredients aren't really top-notch. Either way, Tsunahachi isn't really top-notch tempura, but more of a mid-range place. It's good a value for what it is, but it's not the best you'll find in terms of ingredients. But I'd go back or try one of their higher-end places to compare with my favourite tempura place in Kyoto. For super crispy light tempura, Omen in Kyoto has a really great version, at least at the shop near Teramachi. It's really really crispy and light, but not greasy. I don't remember seeing Sebastian Bouillet when I was last at Isetan, but maybe it's new! I've been meaning to look for the Tokyu Food Show, anyway, so if I don't find it at Isetan, it'll be a good excuse for me to find Tokyu! ← Thanks for the rec, we're thinking of booking a November trip to Kyoto so will note that down in my never-ending spreadsheet of potential places to eat! Do try SB's caramel beurre sale macarons, they put Pierre Herme's to shame and were by far my favourite CBS item tried (alright, equal tie to the Sadaharu Aoki CBS eclair coming up in my next post).
  4. Now you're putting me to shame because I haven't yet blogged my 3 week trip to Japan over Christmas and New Year's... Okay... to work I go! (Wonderful photos and experiences, BTW. I'm surprised we haven't officially "met" yet!) P.S. I'll wait until you finish yours before posting mine, so as not to compete and confuse the readership! ← Thanks for your kind words - I do read much more than I post but definitely know your name (and icon!), as I looked through every last one of the Flickr set you posted of your fabulous trip!
  5. Thanks Hiroyuki - masu zushi it is! I bought a book on famous ekiben from throughout Japan at Kinokuniya just before I left and was highly distraught not to find this in there so I appreciate you putting me out of my misery. It's interesting about the kani miso - the waitress at Kani Doraku asked me what the word for kani miso is in English, and when she didn't settle for "kotoba ga arimasen" in my bad Japanese, I tried "reba? (liver)" but she insisted they were brains! I hadn't thought they were brains but who am I to argue with a professional?! So I'm glad you're on my side in this. Either way, they were delicious..soft, smooth and really ocean-y.
  6. I was sort of disappointed with Tsunahachi as was expecting the batter to be lighter and crispier, whereas theirs was quite soft and a little bit thick. Of course, I know that's the style of that particular place whereas somewhere like Daikokuya is even thicker and softer again but I really missed that shattering shard sensation you get with truly crispy tempura. I'm dreeeeeeeeaming about crab, craving crab..I was in the middle of a Very Serious strategy planning session at work today and all I could think about was that meal and slurping that sweet raw crab flesh from the shells after briefly dipping them in the real wasabi provided..I have issues. Those macarons were from Sebastien Bouillet in Shibuya Tokyu's Food Show depachika, though I'm pretty positive I saw them also at Isetan Shinjuku and Mitsukoshi Nihombashi.
  7. Day 2 A sensible, wholesome breakfast of BUTTER AND SUGAR AND CARBS GALORE!! Sorry, just very exciting as compared to my usual boring but healthful yoghurt and bircher muesli at home... Kouign Amann bought from Isetan the the night before: Orenji keeki of some kind: A post-breakfast chaser of pressed salmon onigiri from the conbini across from our hotel. There is a name for this kind of pressed salmon sushi that I’ve had as an ekiben specialty around Kanazawa in the past..anyone? Anyone? As we were in Tokyo at the peak of the cherry blossoms (which had started late due to a cold snap), felt it would be entirely remiss not to go and see them. Thought about Shinjuku Goen but as I’ve always had a thing for cemeteries, decided to go to Aoyama Reien instead. This cemetery is renowned for its avenues of cherry trees however I will resist the urge to blind you with the thousands of photos we took of them (as we are total sakura noobs) and restrain myself to just one: From here, we walked down through Aoyama and passed a ramen shop so small it had to hang its cooking pans outside: After the peace of Aoyama, subjected the the BF to a bit of binary shock and dragged him to Roppongi in search of Ippudo tonkotsu ramen. Loved the accoutrements, including: Sesame seed grinder, whole garlic cloves and crusher, bean sprouts, pickled ginger, mustard greens, furikake, salt, pepper, shoyu and vinegar. The ramen stock was rich but not as milky and fatty as the really lip-smacking collagen heavy stuff I’d had on a previous trip to Fukuoka. The gyoza were small but excellently porky. A matcha frappe from Starbucks at Shibuya crossing, and some Sebastien Bouillet macarons (l - r: grenadine, fraise, framboise and caramel beurre sale) A little more token sightseeing and a hearty nap later, we had dinner at Kani Doraku in Shinjuku (pic taken the next day, lest it appears we had dinner at 3pm ): For Y8300 per person, a most delicious crab fest ensued, being: Kani miso (crab brain paste?) and steamed crab with the lightest, sweetest vinegar dipping sauce: Crab sashimi, unexpectedly sweet and the pure taste of ocean: Crab grilled over coals: Tempura crab and vegetables: Crab nigiri sushi: Crab broth: Crab accessories: Crab detritus: I was sort of hoping (in a horrified, squeamish but gleeful kind of way) that they'd incorporate crab into the dessert course a la the crab flavoured ice cream I once had in Hiroshima, but nay - ice cream with matcha sauce and green tea: Interior of the restaurant, which was actually fairly crowded. The lady at the front was playing the shamisen, including, remarkably, "The Girl from Ipanema" and "Felice Navidad"!! Tomorrow: a sushi overdose, a tempura meal in dead silence, and pork fat with panko.
  8. Hi all – just back from a whirlwind 4 days’ eating and drinking in Tokyo. I’ve been to Tokyo many times before, but my boyfriend had never been, so this was a sort of spontaneous surprise for him I booked only about two weeks ago and have planned feverishly since. A few disclaimers re what’s to follow. There’s nothing innovative or original in the way of food choices – BF is not exactly unadventurous but he's not EXCITED by food like I am. He's quite utilitarian about it. I joke that food to him is just "face input, bum output" - to be fair, he's not fussy at all and doesn't dislike trying new things, and will happily eat whatever’s put in front of him; it just has to be put in front of him, and quickly, or it wouldn't occur to him that there are more exciting things to eat in Tokyo than chicken sandwiches or spaghetti bolognese. The tendency to want to eat at the first place he sees is heightened when he's hungry, so I wanted to plan to go to places I knew I could find easily and that were used to tourists enough to be sympathetic to any Potential International Incidents. There are also a couple of days here where I must have been channelling prasantrin, as we seem to have had some identical eats, down to the photos. I swear it wasn’t intentional, it’s only struck me since! Unlike prasantrin however, I’m an absolutely terrible photographer..that will become painfully evident, so apologies in advance Onto the food! My two missions for this trip were to eat French pastries that are so direly scarce in Sydney, and scarf as much sushi as possible, with a couple of fried things thrown in to mollify the BF. Day 1 After arriving bleary-eyed and starvacious at our hotel, we dumped our bags and made straight for East Shinjuku for lunch. Tsunahachi After taking one look at our dishevelled, crazy-eyed selves, the hostess wisely chose to put us in an out-of-harms-way corner of the front counter: We ordered the Y2730 set each; first course was prawn, squid and a deliciously soft small white fish fillet This was followed by a vegetable course of sweet potato, green beans, and bell pepper that in my dazed and confused state I forgot to take a photo of. Recovered sufficiently quickly for course 3, a giant clam of some kind that was filled with chopped mushrooms, scallops and presumably, clam meat. Next up, anago. Lastly, kakiage of chopped prawns and scallops From here, we trundled over to Isetan depachika, as the BF had never seen one before. This served the dual purpose of Blowing His Freaking Mind and putting me in striking distance of pastry heaven; dragging the spoils back to our lair, we feasted on: Caramel Beurre Sale Tart Pierre Hermes macarons Vanille Rose Pistache Citron Cafe Plaisir Sucre - sorry for the blurry shot, think I was in a sugar coma by this point Pierre Herme Mille Feuille Ispahan And some, ahem, after-dessert dessert for moi, also from Isetan depachika: After passing out comatose for a few hours, we roused ourselves sufficiently to get over to Asakusa, where I made good on a promise to myself to get to Maguro Bito kaitenzushi. I’d seen this place on my last day in Tokyo of a previous trip and determined to eat there as soon as practicable, particularly after discovering it was both well-known and well-regarded. There’s actually a pretty cool YouTube video of a camera a genius tourist put on the conveyor belt; I love the faces and the different reactions to seeing the camera. Negitoro Uni Grilled salmon belly and mentaiko Different cut of grilled salmon belly Chu toro O-toro My crack dealer After some obligatory wanders around an empty Nakamise Dori, I dragged a 1L can of Asahi back to the hotel from a vending machine (hey, I’m a classy chick), and went to bed a very happy girl..and I mean 'bed' as a noun, not a verb! Tomorrow: cherry blossoms, ramen, and more crab than you can poke a crab stick at.
  9. Ce'nedra; young ginger isn't really widely available in Sydney anyway, outside Asian shops, and even there it's relatively rare, so just about any ginger you'd get from Coles/Woolies/run of the mill greengrocers is the old stuff. Young ginger has a very thin, almost translucent skin, usually golden yellow or greenish, with a pinkish hue around the nubbins. It has a much softer ginger taste and you don't generally have to peel it; old ginger is the standard, khaki-skinned stuff you can get in any supermarket and is what's called for when making this dessert.
  10. I've seen them at Wholefoods House in Alexandria..other than that, if you know someone with a lemon tree, most homegrown varieties tend to be Meyers or similar thin-skinned types.
  11. One thing that you'll appreciate after you eat more soup dumplings is how thin and perfect the dumpling skins are at Din Tai Fung are. After DTF, you'll notice how much thicker the dumpling skins are at other establishments to ensure that their dumplings won't break apart. ← The dumplings skins are indeed a beautiful thing but I must disagree with them not breaking as it happened to me It's just a pity that the filling at DTF aren't all that spectacular otherwise they would have truly had THE best dumplings. ← I agree, I found the soup in the XLB at the Sydney DTF very watery and flavourless indeed. And expensive!! Shanghai Night or Taste of Shanghai in Ashfield are the way to go.
  12. Rummaging the specials bin at a gourmet shop today, I came across a small tub of "Organic Dried Powdered Apple". It's not pectin powder, just ground apple and I think meant to be a flavouring as they had different varieties; ground dried banana powder, pineapple etc. Apart from all those molecular gastronomy foams et al, what uses do you think one could have for this? I need some inspiration!
  13. Beef marrow definitely works for this dish, more than acceptable IMO and not too different from how I remember St. John's tasting..see my somewhat hideous pictures here.
  14. I've definitely seen them at Kim's Club grocery store (London St, Campsie) and also at Asiana supermarket in the Lemongrove shopping centre in Chatswood. Bibimbap! (It's just fun to say...)
  15. Fergus Henderson's roasted bone marrow and parsley salad, with fleur de sel, on toast. This was supposed to be a starter, but due to a miscommunication with my butcher (who thought I meant four full bones, rather than four disks), this was dinner in its entirety. A delicious, unhealthy, $12 'mistake' but ohhhh so good. Sorry for the blurry picture, I put it down to being drunk on cholesterol.
  16. Campsie Meat Market..sounds like a bad nightclub, isn't. It's just down from Campsie Station, on Beamish St. They sell an amazing array of pre-sliced meats in freezers, including massive rolls of pork skin for $2! Everything is pretty much under $10, including 1kg tubs of chilli pork and beef bulgogi. It is a bit weird, as apart from the freezers, there is nothing to see; no windows of meat like you'd normally expect in a butcher, and you have to ask for the chilli pork/pork ribs/bulgogi but hey. They have a dedicated kimchi fridge AND have just started selling takeaway containers of tiny marinated crabs for $5 - I've seen these as one of the included side dishes (panchan) in some Korean restaurants and they're yum - I'm soooo getting me some of those next time I go there. My Korean friend was telling me it's famous in Sth Korea, and that lots of Korean tourists go there when they visit Sydney to buy meat to ship back home!
  17. crustybread, that feast is amazing! DylanK, do tell me more about the liang ban tofu; what's that involve, exactly? My humble contribution; hzrt8w's plum spareribs, only without the ribs - so steamed pork belly in plum sauce. Apologies for the slightly unappetising appearance; go here for a much better looking version!
  18. The tofu was indeed the best part (and there's pork belly in that there dish, so that's saying something...). The factory guy sent me away with a cupful of warm soy curds too, sprinkled with sesame oil and chilli.. I love my Korean provedore guys. The dude at the butcher I regularly buy thinly-sliced pork belly, galbi, samgyupsal and chilli pork from told me today he'd "never seen a white girl buy so much pork". So proud!
  19. Kimchi dubu - kimchi fried with sliced pork belly, served with tofu, which I managed to get fresh from the factory door this morning! It was still warm when I bought it..
  20. Kimchi Dubu, with pork belly - old kimchi, fried with pork belly, spring onions, extra cabbage, soy sauce and sugar, drizzled in a little sesame oil. I prefer this with silken tofu normally BUT I managed to get this tofu fresh from the factory door this morning and the medium-firm was the only texture they were selling at that point..heavenly!
  21. My two favourites are Marigold, in Chinatown, and Palace, which is more CBD-ish on Castlereagh St near David Jones. They beat all the Fook Yuen/Kam Fooks IMO.
  22. Check out Stickyrice's excellent blog, and his post on Nha Trang here.
  23. Shiranui in Glen Waverley - oh my, it's good. Second the rec for Mo Vida. Also Longrain for Thai; I much prefer the Melb branch to the Sydney.
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