Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

sartoric

Tasting Japan

Recommended Posts

We love Japan ! 

I don’t know why it hasn’t been on my travel radar until recently. The people, the places, the culture and history, and especially the FOOD.

There will be no Michelin stars in this report, nor will there be names of restaurants. We ate mainly at isakaya, (local restaurants where there were often only four or five seats), markets (including supermarkets) with a few larger restaurants for balance. There is food available anywhere and anytime if you know where to look. Rather than large meals we tended to snack our way through the day. Some of the best things we ate at “standing bars” no chairs provided. 

Karaage chicken with salad and miso was first up.

2B941A84-A619-4AE5-ACA2-2B3A5F7C6E70.thumb.jpeg.26b1dd4e3c293aab2ec833d5baf3a2fb.jpeg

 

The window displays are amazing, you can walk many city blocks underground through various shopping malls, handy when it rained our first day.

05B7748D-81F0-430D-B556-9545300D7926.thumb.jpeg.f0ef067d64862c1125f8d55d60aca309.jpeg

 

At a local place. Chicken teriyaki, grilled peppers, potato salad, pickles.

ED6DE8EC-71E4-4A88-B79F-59CAF7DD4B3B.thumb.jpeg.0982f95723ec2f69608c2547c69c6a00.jpeg

 

Charcoal hibachi.

3883103F-52BC-4380-A09B-BFEFDD37A51F.thumb.jpeg.c6ca77e23eb9bff529b192619bd6b09d.jpeg

 

Grew to love sake.

83CF54A4-E692-4BC2-B21E-0D4B6AE5A976.thumb.jpeg.59bcecea5ab243c774ff091e1fb2753d.jpeg

 

 

  • Like 18

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've wanted to go to Japan since I was a little kid. And I love Japanese food, all kinds. I too look forward to more of your postings. Thank you!

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fantastic!

 

Love vacationing (and eating) vicariously through your (and others) posts!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't skip the food courts in the train stations. Marvelous variety of food, and great bento boxes for traveling!

 

  • Like 1

Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The country that never ceases to surprise and delight. There's currently no "number 1" on my favourite country list, it starts at number 2. When Japan has a smoking ban it will take that number 1 spot!

 

Place a coin vertically on the tray (in front of you) whilst the train is running and it will remain standing. That's how smooth the ride is. The layout is like the plane, lots of leg room in first class which is good for the partner who is almost 2m tall. The loo on this train is bigger than my bathroom at home. Japan has just unveiled the newest shinkansen, Alfa X, which will be even faster (over 400km/h).

 

Two backpackers in first class shinkansen.

IDO9xBx.jpg

 

You see this all the time, people taking photos of shinkansen or in front of it. Shinkansen is one of the pillars of Japanese technology and they are rightly proud of it. Here you see 3 shinkansen together. The green one is first class Hayabusa from which I had just disembarked.

BxgCuQj.jpg

 

I was enthralled at the sight. Note that many Chinese tourists rent the kimonos and walk around in them to make photos. They don't wear the make-up.

skdCSeV.jpg

 

I like the deep southern islands so much. You bike around all day and hardly see a face, just empty streets, cows and wild horses. But now there's a new shinkansen maybe it's time I started planning a trip to the mainland again.

Hong Kong was a big shock to my introverted system after 2 weeks of peace and quiet in Okinawa.

SkAmt3r.jpg

 

I was still bowing to everyone for weeks after returning from Japan.


Edited by BonVivant (log)
  • Like 9

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, kayb said:

Don't skip the food courts in the train stations. Marvelous variety of food, and great bento boxes for traveling!

 

We’re home now @kayb, but train station food was had, and bento boxes. All coming up soon.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When you have a relatively small land mass with 125 million people I guess it makes sense that there are SO many eating places. 

It particularly struck me that everywhere the food was so fresh, beautifully prepared and delicious. 

 

These hand cut thick noodles were slurpalicious  in a tasty broth with vegetables.

941C0871-BAE3-4EC2-A012-5398C6F88FA3.thumb.jpeg.94d909c213cf701bdf34eb0be4462c30.jpeg

 

They’re a specialty of some region, unfortunately my shot of the menu is missing the all important first word. Mark had the spicy pork one in the top right hand corner.

EFF9B6D2-C264-4E12-A69C-73B64BBA760A.thumb.jpeg.e9ea7061dc21c1d52f1f6a25b41beec3.jpeg

 

My kitchen shot missed the all important hand slicing board, sorry.

C6828447-423C-45B9-8CEE-5F4F776EA322.thumb.jpeg.e60319ebfbe2c9349038404bfc45b658.jpeg

 

Ordering was easy in this large restaurant, pictures and numbers, yay.

343311C4-FE2B-4B5A-9B5F-F1CE1E4A438C.thumb.jpeg.bf61f83077d6df9d49e55afb20c74cfa.jpeg

 

Sushi time.

B0E41547-BE15-4675-AF2C-401AD5625C1F.thumb.jpeg.bea719bf462e8f4c8af9f1b708f8ba9c.jpeg

 

Beer with tomato juice is a thing...not my thing, this is someone else’s thing.

4C3E670A-953F-4720-AA4F-5354433D0774.thumb.jpeg.7dae3296e363153ea068e413eae702bc.jpeg

 

 

 

  • Like 13

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Every time I went to Japan, it ruined me for sushi for a year when I got back.

 

  • Like 1

Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, kayb said:

Every time I went to Japan, it ruined me for sushi for a year when I got back.

 

Ditto.  Although I only went once last November.  Still searching for that holy grail of sushi in the US.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, sartoric said:

 

Beer with tomato juice is a thing...not my thing, this is someone else’s thing.

4C3E670A-953F-4720-AA4F-5354433D0774.thumb.jpeg.7dae3296e363153ea068e413eae702bc.jpeg

 

 

 

 

In my childhood (1950s US West Coast), beer and tomato juice was a standard offering in people's homes. If they were drinking homes. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, kayb said:

Every time I went to Japan, it ruined me for sushi for a year when I got back.

 

We are lucky to live here with a relatively large Japanese population. Today I went to a shopping centre where I know there is a Fuji mart. Pleasantly surprised to see a new fresh seafood and sushi joint has opened in the same centre. It looked really good (and really expensive) they had a large selection of fresh seafood for sale, some I’d never heard of. All Japanese staff too :)

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The good news is, we had sushi for lunch today from our local place. Not as good as in Japan, but we’re not totally ruined.

 

One of the two pizzas we had in our two weeks. Pizza is big in Japan. This one with corn, chilli, cheese and chilli sauce.

26E408DA-71F9-4D7D-892B-76B5A222FEE5.thumb.jpeg.cc159f7e9dddd23a8293aed6a2fddad2.jpeg

 

More teppanyaki, rolled chicken with leek, shiitake mushrooms, quail eggs and peppers. The pickles are like a cover charge, you sit down and they come automatically. There is a small cost. An elderly couple next to us keep they’re own big bottle of sake at the restaurant, it’s cheaper that way he explained with a wink.

8B8FDB18-ADB7-450B-B0B6-99472F13BF41.thumb.jpeg.f375c6e4d1136b95c8c4819eec444b4e.jpeg

 

Another meal at a trendy warehouse styled joint - soba noodles with five vegetables. Served with a bowl of sesame dipping sauce and a beer, plus a pleasant Pinot Gris.

CA8D61E7-085E-4AB4-A57A-A580086F618A.thumb.jpeg.b8f3e178482740c611524c8c40d6efab.jpeg

 

Another isakaya meal near to Korean town in Ginza. Braised eggplant, obligatory pickles, stir fried mushrooms, omelette and chicken Yakitori. Every meal comes with a damp towel.

 

D68DE411-2667-4E36-B6B1-2B9F316882CA.thumb.jpeg.5362b8248faf34e81f9597e8c087f806.jpeg

098CEF50-3096-4602-A8A9-FA15D0BA28FF.thumb.jpeg.e877804d34484cfd63781016a45bb4bd.jpeg

You can see how close we are to the neighbouring table. Sometimes that is quite fun. 

EEFA3F51-670F-445E-BE81-50863EEFC4B6.jpeg

FC39B3E0-B3ED-4129-9307-07BA37FDB3CF.jpeg


Edited by sartoric (log)
  • Like 12

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, liuzhou said:

I'm still loving this, but you can keep that pizza!

 

😎

Ha ha, I meant to put a warning sign there for you. 

  • Like 1
  • Haha 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From Tokyo we bulleted to Kanazawa for more delicious food, sake and sights.

The Nihishi fish market has much more than fish, one could almost live there. 

 

Two little stools to sit and enjoy your fresh seafood.

7A600CBC-68EE-474F-BA6E-905F8C3ECC7D.thumb.jpeg.d339a645a83f2f93830def780329c751.jpeg

 

Not inexpensive.

8DF0C703-B530-4222-91C2-E260B5322F6B.thumb.jpeg.67e1a7bdef27942307909d82945dfa25.jpeg

 

Bamboo shoots and forest vegetables were in season.

A475B6CE-B831-412D-BAA1-7852B0481E7E.thumb.jpeg.323b2653987585caed7a9e72cf71e38c.jpeg

 

 A walk through sashimi bar where you pay first, then eat standing, moving along as necessary. We had salmon sashimi and a giant oyster.

F362D53A-E2F6-4B2D-8529-2BD39BF0A8F4.thumb.jpeg.9d77da88360e3a9ca37b9a435b984afa.jpeg

 

Shrimp, salmon roe, pickled fish and others, oh my.

A5B0DEC8-7014-4D0F-BC47-56704BACA21F.thumb.jpeg.7397d8079917250f43151a08d62e2a16.jpeg

 

The market was surrounded by restaurants, a basement brimming with food options and a feeling of safety not common in other Asian countries. We returned here several times in our 3 day stay. It was crowded at times.

BC7ED042-D397-4F65-B9CD-BA56B676D419.thumb.jpeg.15147922260bef05f65422dbafaad027.jpeg

  • Like 13

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess its a good thing I don't live near any of the delicious looking markets in this thread

 

Id be broke !

 

but happy

  • Like 3
  • Haha 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Food at the market, shuffling while eating one giant oyster and salmon sashimi.

8028CE99-0057-4B29-9A02-186EFC3E8F55.thumb.jpeg.9ceac3effed4d48ef4c0a9eb46a5e6a3.jpeg

 

 

Kanazawa is known for jibu-ni a duck and root vegetable stew cooked in dashi. Here’s a lousy photo, the dish was delicious. Also here we had tempura sweet potato, rice and sake. I love these isakaya restaurants.

7542C88D-249F-4B8D-950F-962FD57F3B7A.thumb.jpeg.dedde37aa4b1252818bdb8a9e978d76e.jpeg

 

 

Sometimes you just want to have cheesecake and a glass of wine. There are a lot of Italian style restaurants and cafes.

77ACC67C-5ABB-4B19-A4C0-7A11850A8F0F.thumb.jpeg.04abb31016a4ed3383d83d6ab64ac968.jpeg

 

 

The bento box !

We arranged a goodwill guide to see Kanazawa Castle and Kenrokuen gardens. This is a free service run by Japan tourism board and on both occasions was excellent. Our guide T suggests we buy our lunch before starting the walk. In the basement of department stores are food halls, fantastic food halls. 

First choose your box with various goodies

E9DB65BD-368C-4112-AEE6-C89D0C7C11A6.thumb.jpeg.a02c00882116eb5fcb98c1d4c82096aa.jpeg

 

Then choose from a selection of several rice dishes

0E2DCBC0-2D32-4371-AF88-A8D01FAD0166.thumb.jpeg.420420f3d2a189caf1890564b47ce597.jpeg

 

It will be beautifully wrapped

ECC46543-8D35-43A9-8A86-360636CF3840.thumb.jpeg.86be3711ecc54d6c89234ae61876e8b9.jpeg

 

And look like this when you finally stop for lunch

7F85DB17-EB66-4C40-A310-F3F404AFD934.thumb.jpeg.f8551340bc078cbcdb6c5a7849548c61.jpeg

I chose a box with space for three kinds of rice. Loved the one with chestnuts.

  • Like 11

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think my favourite places to eat were the isakaya or local restaurants. Often there would be only room for 6 around the working area, counter like. In many places not a single sign in English or even a picture menu. Clearly we weren’t the target audience, but we were made extremely welcome. Google translate is miraculous. 

 

In this tiny place I had to set my semi vegetarian principles aside. I try very hard not to eat four legged animals, but here today pork tonkatsu was on the menu. We were served mountain vegetables with egg, pickles, salad, rice and miso soup.

6E86893F-551B-4F54-9CCB-B94180D0E152.thumb.jpeg.47d3b550785202a36f3866555b08a7da.jpeg

04DAB3C7-6C93-47C7-B893-58A81F7C90D9.thumb.jpeg.f8c93d686c5fa9a5047a969db6927eed.jpeg

48859E7E-ADEA-48CC-8F46-F8E823377DEB.thumb.jpeg.d2ba5d1d91322ecbeeedbf4c2ba4324a.jpeg

 

The owner produced three tastings of sake for us to try.

E6F264CD-4CF9-450A-938C-A54D4C30AC62.thumb.jpeg.ab311a66e55083e01140e5a5c4c76ed4.jpeg

 

Happily posed for the camera, see space of the kitchen behind ! Also note 3 sake cups on the counter.

17D80FD5-D8EE-4E5D-862D-A6349BADF75E.thumb.jpeg.f678645beb3ac47cddbb5223608d6b9f.jpeg

 

Not pictured are two other customers who engaged and made this a fun night.

  • Like 9

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

More meals from Kanazawa.

Breakfast at a cheap joint in the fish market basement.

A sushi bowl with prawns, calamari and salmon roe, rice underneath. So fresh, sweet and fun to pop the salmon roe. Next to it a seafood okonomiyaki, also delicious and total cost about AUD $12.

FF6C9B1D-5E8A-4638-9D8D-7BAF9BF081AB.thumb.jpeg.4d133711aff37454737cc1c6009df8dd.jpeg

 

Crab croquettes, oh my. Served with a dipping sauce and daikon.752A33BD-04F4-41A2-B22F-5AA8CAE196B0.thumb.jpeg.a5a23d691fd5924cdf6b55ab07d50a51.jpeg

 

Potato salad to go with, plus edamame.

CB92BBA6-DF70-4846-A833-335501F5F1AA.thumb.jpeg.ff1d05c7e1f0286c86d6d5a31bc462ad.jpeg

 

And special rice.

5B36A60C-53E2-4FFF-8D6A-9F01F800C9A0.thumb.jpeg.b097d04ed427eba30ccaa5eaf2a8ca4a.jpeg

 

Another great selection of sake on the bar.

22265285-2466-448C-AA88-C41A89B62AA4.thumb.jpeg.d643c44f45b10f4ef30b91492c05ddd2.jpeg

 

The sake is poured to overflowing, the box contains the overflow which you then drink.

05E06904-2961-4444-9395-3505EB261909.thumb.jpeg.c7c2916044454928906627839f85fa64.jpeg

 

 

A gratuitous garden shot, the Kenrokuen Garden is peaceful even on a Sunday public holiday.

5CE7EAAE-09C3-4954-8D62-CC7F747EBBB5.thumb.jpeg.9c62eefa6d3fe979328a62b3600ddd1d.jpeg

  • Like 11

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Before we left Kanazawa there was pizza.

A0BC4727-97B0-487F-86D6-B988934AAAAB.thumb.jpeg.58e62756dc4c3e04b3dc35ec9a15725c.jpeg

 

Not bad, from this typical Italian joint.

15C10571-3F12-4796-8C80-56340AA44B7A.thumb.jpeg.6bbc7e46d00462edbdc6eac760ecc8cc.jpeg

 

I love their food plastic 

74094042-C95B-49DF-B69A-B3B2C082FE8A.thumb.jpeg.e045f6285adcde5859b6d9aa2b17c0e8.jpeg

 

A giant fish head just chillin on ice, on the street, waiting for the restaurant to open.

83F27A0E-C621-49B9-9704-2FC2DEB6F0FB.thumb.jpeg.12627b951627ce61484587664b8342ad.jpeg

 

Onwards to Takayama where we spend our 25th wedding anniversary :)

This ramen bowl and gyoza were a mistake. Not because they weren’t delicious, we had no idea what was to come at our Ryokan Onsen....23584BB6-6095-47AF-AD7B-5A97FF9B5F8A.thumb.jpeg.ca10e19736ea4b52bcea324fd8a5d536.jpegB23A5515-EA2E-4B52-9A8F-28E6E5277C7A.thumb.jpeg.3b9cef412f0bf2ab404a41a6c45a17bd.jpeg

later...

  • Like 8

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great stuff, as (almost*) ever.

 

I'm wondering. You showed one English language menu. Is it common or not for places to have English menus? It's been 25 years since I was in Japan and there were none then, that I remember.

 

*You know what I am referring to! One lapse in judgement I can take! 😁 😁

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Content

    • By KennethT
      I was thinking of doing a food blog of my recent trip through parts of New Zealand's south island.  Most of the food we had was nothing spectacular, but the experiences and various scenery we had over the trip were amazing.  Is there any interest in this?
    • By Melania
      It's one o'clock on a warm summer's day in Florence, I'm on my way to get ingredients for lunch. The sun is high in the sky, the cobblestones are warm under my feet and the aroma of something delicious is in the air. My mind starts to drift to the onions, celery and tomatoes I need for my pasta sauce, oh and don't forget something sweet for dessert...this truly is la dolce vita.
       
      My thoughts are soon interrupted by an unwelcome "chiuso" sign on the door of my new favorite deli. The blinds are closed and the friendly owners are nowhere in sight. The reality of having my favorite pasta dish for lunch was slipping further and further away.
       
       
      What a nightmare! How can this be?
        A local passing by must have noticed my frustration.   "Signorina, è riposo. Tutto è chiuso!"
        Of course! How could I forget about the sacred Italian siesta?
        A siesta or riposo, as most Italians call it, is a time of rest. This time is usually around midday, or the hottest part of the day (very inconvenient if you're craving a bowl of pasta.) No one can really say where the tradition of the siesta originates, but many say it's all about food (no surprises there really).
        For many Italian families the main meal of the day is lunch. This heavy meal in the middle of the day is attributed to the standard Mediterranean diet: A minuscule breakfast of a coffee and pastry , a heavy lunch and an evening meal around 10 o'clock. The logic is that after such a heavy meal one would surely be drowsy and need to rest, no one can work efficiently on a full stomach!
        Post offices, car rentals, supermarkets and even coffee shops (in some smaller towns police stations too) all close their doors for a riposo. Everything comes to a standstill as every Italian goes home to kick of their shoes, enjoy a homemade lunch with family and bask in the Italian sunshine for three to four hours. This is serious business. One would not dare work for 8 hours straight. After their riposo most businesses open again around 4 o'clock and stay open till 7pm. Its the perfect balance between work and play and does wonders for your digestive system!
        "Grazie!" I thanked her for the reminder. The midday sun started to become unbearable. The streets had cleared with only a few tourists braving the midday heat still around. I thought about the strawberries I bought from the market earlier that week. Strawberries for lunch on my shaded balcony and maybe a nap afterwards sounded like my perfect riposo. The pasta will have to wait till 4.
               
           
    • By KennethT
      OK.... here we go again!!!  While this post is a bit premature (we don't take off until around 1:30AM tonight), I am extremely excited so I figured I'd just set up the topic now.  As in previous foodblogs, I may post a bit from time to time while we're there, depending on how good my internet connection is, and how much free time I have... but the bulk of posting will really get started around July 9th - the day after we get home (hopefully without too much jetlag!!!)
    • By KennethT
      Happy New Year!  I'm sitting at the gate waiting for my flight from Saigon to NYC connecting through Taipei so I figured this would be a good opportunity to get started... But this is just the intro- the rest will gave to wait until I land about 22 hours from now, sleep for about 12 hours, then get my photos in order! We had a great week enjoying beautiful weather, taking in the frenetic yet relaxed street life and eating some amazing local food...
      Our flight here was on EVA Airline and was very pleasant and uneventful. Our flight from Nyc to Taipei left around 12:20 AM on the 24th. I love those night flights since it makes it very easy to get a decent amount of sleep, even in coach. EVAs food is quite good eith both Chinese and western choices for dinner and breakfast, and they came through several times with snacks such as a fried chicken sandwich with some kind of mustard. I think I had 4 of them!
      Once I get home, I'll continue posting with pics from our feast in the Taipei airport.... Spoiler: those who have read my Singapore foodblog from July may see a slight trend...

    • By KennethT
      OK - so I think it's very fitting for my 1000th post that I start this food blog...  I love eGullet, and have been a member for several years, but I don't post that often, and have never done anything like this, so please bear with me!!!
       
      My wife and I left NYC for Singapore on July 1st, at 1:25AM on an EVA flight connecting through Taipei, Taiwan.  There used to be a direct NY to Singapore flight on Singapore Airlines, but SA discontinued it a few years ago.  I like the long overnight flight to Asia because, on a 14 hour flight, it gives you plenty of time to eat (they feed you very well on those flights), medicate yourself and sleep for 6-8 hours, then wake up and watch a few movies before landing at about 6AM.  Plus, since the flight leaves so late, it makes it much easier to sleep on the flight (especially after working a full day beforehand).
       
      The EVA flight is quite comfortable, even in coach.  When I say they feed you well, I mean it - dinner was a stir fried chicken with steamed bok choy and rice, with many sides.  Throughout the flight they came through the cabin with mustard coated fried chicken sandwiches as snacks, then breakfast of pork congee with many sides (including a package of fish floss).  Sorry, I didn't take photos of the above - I was exhausted!
       
      We had about a 2 hour layover in the airport in Taiwan, so what does that mean?  Time for dim sum and beef noodle soup!!!

      This was our breakfast destination

      Left to right, Xie Long Bao (Shanghainese pork soup dumplings), char siu bao (fluffy buns filled with BBQ pork - although this Taiwanese version was not nearly as sweet as the typical Hong Kong version), Taiwanese beef noodle soup, and a loose leaf oolong tea.  With the waters, cost about US$20!!!  It was quite the feast, especially after the constant EVA flight 'buffet', and the fact that they were going to feed us again on our next flight to Singapore!
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...