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  1. Duvel

    Lunch 2019

    Looks pretty good !
  2. Duvel

    Breakfast 2019

    The breakfast of champions (rural Germany edition): Mett (raw spiced pork) and Fleischsalat (sliced up Mortadella with cucumbers and egg in mayo). Will keep you full the whole day ...
  3. Duvel

    Dinner 2019

    Braised beef with daikon, karaage and yaki-onigiri ...
  4. Hahaha ... well, next month to Germany, to the small city of Bonn to attend my sisters wedding. Over Easter holidays we are eyeballing Sri Lanka, though ... 😉
  5. I love that collage ... and envy your son to be able to live there ! It is really a great place to be ...
  6. Sato's is a family restaurant and one of the first restaurants we found when we moved to Kyoto. Beside it being family-friendly it is also very foreigner-friendly with its picture menus and the quite comprehensive selection. It is also very reasonably priced ... We had to wait a bit with some friendly older fellows. Once seated, we maybe pigged out a bit Kirin ... Karaage ... Edamame (for the little one, of course) ... Gyoza ... Yaki-Onigiri ... Tsukune ... Tempura & soba set ... Tempura ... Soba. As always my favourite ... Spinach with tofu ... Sushi set ... With Tempura as well ... Oyster temaki ... Tsukemono ... And Matcha parfait & icecream ... A bit full ...
  7. Since we were in the area, we decided to do the "touristy" thing and continued to walk to Kinkaku-ji, about two kilometers to the north. It had not changed a bit Setsubun preparation were imminent here as well. You could buy a small wooden stick, write down your wishes for the upcoming year and then leave it to be burned at the bonfire (at three convenient times) ... From there, a mere 20 min walk further, lies Ryoan-ji, another famous temple (and already announce by @kayb). The austerity of the zen garden is in sharp contrast to the almost glittering Golden Temple before. At the entrance a small shack sold croquettes made from Yuba (tofu skin). It was ... interesting. We sat down at the zen garden and mediated a bit about the meaning of life and the fate of the universe (in view of the recent shake-up in dark matter research). The stone at the nearby spring says "learn only to be content", and we decided we would be very content to have some lunch. After the unsuccessful attempt to convert the rest of my family to love Yuba, I ruled out the Yuba restaurant on the temple premises. But luckily we knew the area quite well, so we headed to a more family-friendly option ...
  8. Today (technically a week ago) the Setsubun festival takes place, the marking of the beginning of spring. It is a remnant of the lunar new year, that is no longer celebrated in Japan, but of course shaped the traditions of this country as well. It is marked by ceremonies aimed to drive off the evil and prepare for a prosperous new year. People are flocking to shrines to participate in these ceremonies, clean their houses and throw beans at (hopefully only costumed) demons at homes and shrines alike, while shouting “鬼は外 - 福は内!” or Oni wa soto - Fuku wa uchi! (Demons out - happiness in!). For us this was the opportunity to visit Kitano Tenmangu, a shrine in the northwest of Kyoto, next to which we lived for 2.5 years. We stopped by our old apartment. We lived in the first floor of this house, the balcony on the left. 12 m2, including said balcony, but surely one of the greatest experiences of our lives. The shrine is well known for its activities on Setsubun, as well as for its lovely plum garden. The plums were partly in bloom and attracted a lot of picture taking. Many people were dressed in their Kimonos and Yukatas, to pay respect to the shrine and for the festive occasion. We bought some beans for the little one (to be thrown or eaten later) as well as some goodies for the year of the pig.
  9. Yes. as far as I know Unagi (sweet water eel) is classified in the US as endangered, while Anago (sea water eel) is not. The one pictured is Unagi. The sensibilities towards animals in general, their treatment and their sustainability are - at times - vastly different in many Asian countries, including Japan, as to what would be the norm in many western countries. I have certainly my values as well, but as I choose to live and visit here I try just as you hard not to pass judgement on those whose views differ (unless I really have to) ...
  10. Sorry, yes ... seems difficult to decipher. From the top: Yamazaki 25: Color: can't read that ... please judge from the picture. Palate: marmalade, cocoa, coffee, almond Nose: dried cherry, currant, tomato puree, balsamic, walnut (the Japanese part mentions rosemary, bitter chcocolate & strawberry jam as well) Cocoa, toast, almond Finish: profound, hints of acidity Dried fruits Yamazaki 18: Color: caramel Palate: blackberry, strawberry jam, dark chocolate Nose: raisin, apricot, café au lait, mizunara (Japanese oak) Strawberry jam, apricot, baked pudding Finish: sweet ginger, cinnamon, long finish Ripe fruit incense Yamazaki 12: Color: pure gold Palate: coconut, cranberry Nose: peach, pineapple, grapefruit, clove, candied orange, vanilla, mizunara (Japanese oak) Marmelade, peach, coconut Finish: sweet ginger, cinnamon, long finish Sweet vanilla Yamazaki Single Malt: Color: gold Palate: raspberry, white peach, touch of coconut Nose: strawberry, cherry, mizunara (Japanese oak) Strawberry, cherry Finish: sweet vanilla, clean finish, hint of cinnamon Cinnamon
  11. Being properly restored we moved towards Kiyumizi-dera. Again, the way up to the temple was lined with all kind of snack shops. The orasted chestnuts were smelling so good (another fond memory of a cold winters day in Kyoto), but I could not possibly eat another bite. The temple itself is spectacular, although the famous terrace overlooking the city was under heavy construction. After a short stroll through the park we drank the holy water and – as the sun was setting already .... ... we decided to walk a bit towards the Yasaka shrine in Gion. The way there leads through a quarter of old traditional shops (mixed with some more recent ones to attract even more tourists). I bought a box of yuzu-scented shichimi togarashi, while luckily most ceramic shops were closed (and thus did not instantly vaporize my travel budget). Reaching the Yasaka area, we could see already the vendors setting up shop for the Setsubun festival on Sunday. I passed on the Oden, as we wanted to look for something more substantial after all the walking in the cold. We found an Okonomiyaki lantern and entered the shop in the third floor of a side street building. Menu was limited, so we chose Ika-yaki (grilled squid), Yakisoba with port and Okonomiyaki with everything. Essentially,the chef prepares the food and you finish it on the hotplate, and garnish it how you like it ... The little one approved (but he actually eats everything - must be the genes ...). It was certainly filling and we were glowing internally when we returned to the cold night to find a taxi back to the hotel … And because I am really not good at letting things just go I had the roasted chestnuts as a snack with my nightcab, nicely summarizing the day
  12. After the visit to Yamazaki I surely could have used a nap, but the rest of my family and me had already agreed to meet at Kyoto station to get a quick bite to eat. Needless to say that no breakfast and quite some libations required more than just that, and luckily the little one was equally hungry. He insisted on sushi and funny enough, the kaiten restaurant we remembered in the station was still there … The food street at Kyoto station, Hachidori side ... The traditional salt cone in front of eateries (to attract the horse of passers by to stop) ... Otoro ... Uni ... Shirako ... Ebi tempura ... Kani miso (crab intestines)... Some member of the mackerel family ... this was my favourite. A fatty winter fish, enjoyed ust with ginger ... Hon-ebi ... very good ! Unagi ... Fugu (not sampled ... I don't care for the bland taste) Grilled corn ... Negitoro ... Advertisement for the next day: Ehomaki, for the Setsubun festival ...
  13. Duvel

    Lunch 2019

    Quick fix - leftover (raw) pork belly from Thursday’s hot pot turned into Buta no Shogayaki...
  14. In the past years living in Hong Kong I have developed a serious affection for Japanese whiskies. When a good friend reminded me that Suntory’s Yamazaki distillery is located just between Kyoto and Osaka, I just had to go there to visit. Unfortunately, the guided tours were booked out three months in advance. Nevertheless, I kept checking everyday for cancellations and just on our day of arrival I got one single spot on the 10.30h tour on Saturday … So while my wife and the little one went to the Arashiyama area, visiting bamboo groves and watching small wild monkeys, I headed south for Yamazaki. I don't really eat breakfast, so I bought some otsumami ("snacks for drinking alcohol"), specifically yaki-eihire, semidried & grilled skate wings. The distillery is beautifully located on the slopes of a mountain, from where they get their water. Everything is super well kept and tidy (after all, its Japan). Before the tour I took a look at the permanent exhibition and noticed a long line of people queuing in the museum. Turns out the gift shop opens at 10.00h sharp, and they always have stock of a limited edition of Yamazaki whiskey (strictly limited to one per person). Needless to say I queued up as well and by 10.05h was already loaded with things to bring home (including some beautiful whiskey glasses) … The tour itself was very informative and the guide went out of her way to make sure I had a good time (as the only foreigner). They had an app for the audio commentary in english, but I got some snippets from her explanations, which – in a typical Japanese fashion – were very lively and almost exaggerated (“… sooooo tasty…”, “-… isn’t that greeeeaaaaat….” – imagine you telling a story to a five year old). It was a really fun tour. After the tour there was the (included) tasting session, were you could sample two compound whiskeys and then identify the different tastes in the final blended product. This was very interesting. With a final glass, they taught you how to make a proper highball, but being the rebel that I am I just had it on ice. My guide was slight nervous as she (still) assumed that I didn’t get her instructions right, but I assured her in Japanese (which was greatly aided by the first three whiskies) that I really prefer my whiskey just with some ice. She was relieved and instead just made sure that I stirred it correctly … After the tour tasting we could visit the (paid) tasting room, located in the basement in the whiskey library, which contained a fraction of the available cask samples for the blenders to choose for creating the different expressions. I was very impressed by that, ordered by mash type, still type, year, cask type, finishing … so many dimensions. As I probably would never own a bottle of the older expressions (and even if – wouldn’t dare to open it), I decided to splurge a bit in the tasting room … Outside the tasting room was a huge terrace overlooking the distillery grounds. The sun was shining, I had fantastic whiskies to enjoy and bag of chewy, sweet-salty grilled skate wings. That was MY day ! On the way back I noticed that the Konbini at the train station was of the “Daily Yamazaki” brand, one of the five major chains in Japan. It might have been influenced by the whiskey, but I couldn’t stop laughing …
  15. Coming up - both Ryoan-ji and at least what I think the sweet is you enjoyed ...