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Tales (and pictures!) of trips in Japan


Palladion
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The white fish looks like tai to me.

The nano hana is probably simply boiled for a few minutes, put in cold water, drain, and seasoned with some kind of sauce. Such a dish is called ohitashi.

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"According to my knowledge, maguro is the Japanese word for tuna. So as far as I know it was a variety of tuna, of which I could not say.

Unfortunately I didn't get the details on the variety of white fish sashimi. :sad: However the taste, texture and quality was superb."

Sorry about the ignorant question. Here in the U.S., at least in the places I have eaten sushi (which aren't anything too special) there are often only two types of tuna listed on the menu: maguro and toro. I thought these were differnt types or different cuts of the same fish. What is lean tuna called in Japan?

So, I learned soemthing new today. Thank you. :wub:

Preach not to others what they should eat, but eat as becomes you and be silent. Epicetus

Amanda Newton

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Lean is called akami (which is a noun, not an adjective), which literally means red meat.

We have akami, chuu-toro (medium toro), and oh-toro (fattest).

I posted some info about different species of maguro here.

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Lean is called akami (which is a noun, not an adjective), which literally means red meat.

We have akami, chuu-toro (medium toro), and oh-toro (fattest).

I posted some info about different species of maguro here.

Hiroyuki,thanks for the info on tuna. I think you would be right in your comments too, regarding the tai and nano hana dishes.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hey fellow eaters -

I was off to Japan on business last week, on very short notice, so I've been here a week already. I meant to post before leaving. Without getting into a more granular discussion of whether NY's Japanese cuisine represents the vanguard, in broad strokes I'll say it's 500% better than just 10 years ago, while I can't speak for the peak of Japan's bubble economy nearly 20 yaers ago when there where many more Japanese in rotation to NY. While 500% better, the "big room" Japanese boom in NYC nearly noexistent in Japan - I'd say a simple result of supply and demand of accomplished chefs, a proper Japanese chef is spread quite thin in NY. In fact I'd call Yakitori Totto "large" for this country. The suburbs have destination restaurants housed often in traditional Japanese houses with shoji, but I think we're talking about urban dining.

That all said, without fail I seek out that which I cannot in NY while here. So, I've already eaten Ramen 5 times, Sushi 4, Yakiniku 5 times (at the behest of the Toraji president, a Japanese yakiniku restaurant group which should be in NY in another year or 2 if I have anything to do about it), but I needn't waste a lunch on bento or most Japanese fusion-type places which are very well represented in NY. Tomorrow I'll lunch at a Yakitori-ya that I hope will be better than Totto.

I'm kind of busy here, not on vacation, so can't afford much time to do full-on reports although I'll try. I meant to post before leaving because I just wanted to know if people in the NY forum, who are all very actively discussing Japanese cuisine, have questions or want to know, for instance, what is booming, why you can get amazing $7 lunches in Tokyo, what the inside of your average sushi looks like, etc. Time and SD-card space permitting I'll try to accommodate.

I'll start off with a smattering of Yakiniku pictures from week 1 (These are from TORAJI Ginza, Yaesu & Ebisu honten, and Sumibi-Tei in Sumiyoshi, Toraji's prez's mentor's restaurant) and your obligatory Shibuya 109 gyangaro-gal (mountain gal) candid shot (notice the placement of "Male In", if she only knew...).... any questions/comments fire away!

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All my other shots are on my mobile phone here so I'll get them up tomorrow. Hiroyuki whereever you are, or anyone from the Japan forum reading this, recommendations please! 東京とだけおねがい。よろしくおねがいたします。

Edited by raji (log)
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Hiroyuki whereever you are, or anyone from the Japan forum reading this, recommendations please! 東京とだけおねがい。よろしくおねがいたします。

I'm here in Shiozawa, 210 km to the north of Tokyo, so I don't have any recommendations. :raz: Good to see one of those ganguro/yamanba (?) gals. I didn't know they still existed!

I hope you post more pictures. Did you do cherry blossom viewing (hanami) in Tokyo?

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Hi Hiroyuki!

NYers speak up!

Yes yamamba still exist. Have you seen the gyaku-yamamba?! They look like albinos.

I got here sensenshi no kinyoubi dakara, I jusssssssst missed it -

Don't know any Tokyoites? It's amazing how localized Japan is - I can't get a recommendation from someone that isn't within a 10 minute walk or 170yen train of their home or office.

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Apologies for making you tilt your head - my software did it automatically but loses it when I upload....

This pic actually still resided on my phone from last summer. Per Japanese tradition, on the hottest day of the year (according to the calendar) you are supposed to eat Unagi to give you energy. this was a simple Unagidon but more traditionally is the delightful SHITSUMABUSHI, which is basically the same thing but serve with an tea-based soup and wasabi. You procedurally eat the dish while mixing in the ocha and wasabi. Absolutely delicious and great as most of Japan gets very muggy and hot in the summer, very similar to DC weather.

On the same day in NY you will find most Japanese restaurant serving at least an unagidon and they'll be packed with Japanese customers.

This was had at Unagi Matsukawa near Shibuya station.

http://www.unagi-matsukawa.co.jp/honten.html

The thing that you'll notice and I love about Japan is that with few rare exceptions, the food you are served almost perfectly resembles the photos or plastic models in the front of the restaurant (check the website and then my half-eaten mess). Being that most restaurants feature these photos or plastic models (an art form in Japan), it's exceedingly easy for a non-Japanese speaker to eat in Japan. Point and enjoy.

This was ¥1000, about $9.

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TSUKERAMEN had a new shop opened near Shimo-Kitazawa station. TSUKERAMEN is ramen deconstructed, noodles and soup separately. This allows you to more leisurely eat your ramen, not worrying about your noodles getting fat and soggy. It's also delicious. This was ¥680, about $5.

Here we find a quirk of Japanese culture. The soup is the same size, but you can get a small, medium, or large order of the noodles. I went GUTS-style and went for the large, and a huge platter, about a kilo of ramen noodles came piled out.

The quirk being that the small, medium, and large are all the same price. This is a result of either one of 2 things; 1) this is a "service" of the ramen shop, a unique feature that gets the customers in, just something interesting about it rather than your boring old ramenshop, and/or 2) As a proper Japanese you will order the size that you can realistically eat.

My large absolutely stuffed me and I probably shouldn't have finished it, but I would rather do that than give the ramen shop owners any reason to deride foreigners. Then again, the women next to me handed back plates half-full of noodles after giving up

.

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After a last-minute DJ gig in Shibuya @ WOMB, these are mine and my friend's ramen from the shop right across from Shibuya 109. I ordered the spiciest miso-ramen they had. It was very spicey with chili oil and had me full on sweating. It was also huge and I couldn't finish it. Next, my friend's more modest miso-ramen, which he also gave up on. For a miso-ramen it looked more like a tonkatsu-ramen without all the fat.

¥800 each, and we were given a service ticket for free gyoza next time we return. A week in Japan and you will find yourself with a dozen pointcards and service tickets. Ramen's a competitive biz!

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Teishoku lunch in Shimotazawa, ¥800 each.

I got the MAGURODON (tuna rice bowl) coming with pickles and miso soup, as well as a nearly rare poached egg served in cold soup. And my friends KAKIFRY (fried clams). Not outstanding but for $7 you can't really beat it - healthy, delicious, cheap. Now I'm remembering why lunch was my favorite meal in Japan. Most restaurants fling their doors open and offer their fare at super-cheap prices.

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Negitoro-don Lunch @ ZIGZAG cafe in Shimokitawa, ¥800 plus ¥150 for drink service (I got a coke consumed in one draw on my straw. Hate that about Japan, beverages are served kids-size)

Delicious. The white stuff you see is Tororo which is a mucus-like, delicious result of a ground-up yam.

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Edited by raji (log)
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This pic highlights a few more elements of Japanese food culture.

Indeed Japan's most recent athletic export is it's competitive eaters. There are many of them. Many restaurants features an inhuman-sized rendition of their dish which, if you can finish off, you will be rewarded with money. Competitive eaters can eat their way across Japan for free, as long as they can finish it.

This guy finished off a 9.3 kilo ramen in a matter of 10 minutes and was rewarded ¥50,000 (about $450) for his effort. This is a ramen that this shop sells normally for 10 people to share. And of course they weighed and measured him before and after, this ramen adding 22 whole centimeters to his waist.

The other feature being that, first of all, most Japanese only have NAMAHOSO, the OTA broadcast channels, so have just several broadcast channels. On these channels is an inordinate amount of food programming. At any given time at least one of the channels will have a variety show on where the hosts are discussing, visiting, or in this case, competing at one of Japan's numerous restaurants. Food is filmed meticulously and you are introduced to the ingredients, chefs, and history of many types of cuisine in extreme detail. Besides making you hungry and introducing you to delicious deals all over town, living here you become a much more well-informed eater. So I find most Tokyoites more like Egullet members, knowing this spot and that.

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Edited by raji (log)
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I miss cheap Jap lunches.  Keep posting.  I need to go back to Japan.

Haha - will do Bryan!

MODS, I know this thread belongs in the Japan forum, and I'd love to link it over there, but I'm posting here more for educational purposes. Everything I've posted so far can be had at similar prices at Midtown Japanese restaurants. Japanese food is SOOO diverse that I find myself constantly introducing my friends and family to different kinds of dishes.

However, the next post is for pure envy.

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Thanks for all the photos, raji. (Seems like few New Yorkers are interested in responding to this thread of yours...)

I wonder if you'd like to contribute to the konbini eats, supermarket eats, depachika, and 100-yen shop threads here in the Japan Forum. :smile:

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Thanks for all the photos, raji.  (Seems like few New Yorkers are interested in responding to this thread of yours...)

I wonder if you'd like to contribute to the konbini eats, supermarket eats, depachika, and 100-yen shop threads here in the Japan Forum. :smile:

Hey Hiroyuki - now that I'm here, I'll gladly contribute to those threads if I can -

Well, the usual number were reading, but not many questions, no...

Well, as a technician, I will allow that the thread DOES belong here so I'll continue to post my culinary adventures here. I wish I hadn't been drained by some settai, otherwise I might actually have a budget to try more expensive restaurants....

Edited by raji (log)
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東京都 is a big place - where are you based, and what do you want to eat?

Tetsugen Nikusho near Shibuya might be worth checking if you speak Japanese - they have lots of different meats like boar, venison, horse, all very nicely prepared.  And an excellent sake selection.

Great! Sounds like you've got your finger on the pulse.

While I'm not reading any newspapers or listening to the evening news in Japanese, in a restaurant situation my Japanese is pretty much fluent and nearly native. Also in sales meetings and talking to strange women at bars.

I'm bouncing around friend's houses and working out of them during the day. I'm based in Shimo-kitazawa until tomorrow, then Naka-Meguro. I'll also be over to Akebonobashi which is basically Yotsuya-sanchome/Ichigaya.

Looking to eat outstanding lunches for under ¥1000 or a sushi lunch for not much more, and dinners around ¥5000. I'm a NY-native so no need for any recommendations which would be eclipsed by the international community there. Mostly looking for standout Japanese traditional, nouveau, fusion, etc. - the types of places you see covered on TV programming....

I'm here until Monday. Thank you so much for your help!

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Not recommendations but some restaurants/shops that I know of/have actually tried:

Naka-meguro

Johann, shop specializing in cheese cakes:

http://okiraku.cside.com/johann.htm

Yotsuya

Sankin, tonkatsu restaurant

http://gourmet.yahoo.co.jp/0000719013/P000817/

One of my favoriate tonkatsu restaurant

Iidabashi (adjacent to Ichigaya, which is adjacent to Yotsuya)

http://gourmet.yahoo.co.jp/0000687066/P000873/

Why not try the 2.5 kg chahan, jumbo ramen, or 100 gyoza?

名物の挑戦メニューは、重さ2.5kgの一升チャーハン、2人前のジャンボラーメン3杯、餃子100個、または2.5kgのジャンボ餃子を、それぞれ60分以内で食べれば無料! ただし失敗したら、その料金は支払わなければならない。炒飯やエビチリなど普通の単品メニューも本格派。
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Tetsugen (the meat place mentioned above) has a branch in Naka-Meguro, although I haven't been. The other two branches both have great food and sake though, so it's probably worth a try. There's also a branch of Aburiya izakaya there that should be good. Here's a map of other restaurants centered on Naka-Meguro station that might be useful.

Toki no Ma just up the road in Ebisu specializes in food from Kyushu, and they also have a sushi counter (they do horsemeat sushi!) and a great list of limited-edition seasonal sake. And Okinawan in Ebisu has good Okinawan, a cuisine you probably won't find in New York.

Up near Akebonobashi I'd recommend Dodo for excellent yakitori.

And worth a special trip and a splurge is Kikunoi kaiseki restaurant in Akasaka (they're about Y15,000 for dinner).

Sorry, I think almost all of these are evening-only places. Good luck!

Great! Sounds like you've got your finger on the pulse.

While I'm not reading any newspapers or listening to the evening news in Japanese, in a restaurant situation my Japanese is pretty much fluent and nearly native. Also in sales meetings and talking to strange women at bars.

I'm bouncing around friend's houses and working out of them during the day. I'm based in Shimo-kitazawa until tomorrow, then Naka-Meguro. I'll also be over to Akebonobashi which is basically Yotsuya-sanchome/Ichigaya.

Looking to eat outstanding lunches for under ¥1000 or a sushi lunch for not much more, and dinners around ¥5000. I'm a NY-native so no need for any recommendations which would be eclipsed by the international community there. Mostly looking for standout Japanese traditional, nouveau, fusion, etc. - the types of places you see covered on TV programming....

I'm here until Monday. Thank you so much for your help!

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Thank you to everyone who's contributed to this board.

I just spent two weeks in Japan and

eGullet, as always, provided much guidance...

Here are 132 photos of food from the trip to prove it:

Japan Food

I didn't caption any of the pictures,

but would be happy to answer any questions about them.

Though, the catch-all answer is: delicious.

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I shared your uncertainty over whether it was food.

The first thing I asked was, "Is this food or soap?"

Turns out it's a decorative dessert from a fancy little

sweets shop in Kyoto. It has a gummy, rubbery,

mochi texture. Each color within the cake is a different flavor.

It's about 6 inches tall and costs 12,000 yen.

I'd say appearance trumps taste.

Amazing to look at, but not much flavor.

There was also a brick of dense, sweet rainbow gelatin,

reminiscent, visually, of Rachel Perlow's rainbow jello.

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It's about 6 inches tall and costs 12,000 yen.

I'd say appearance trumps taste.

Amazing to look at, but not much flavor.

I suppose that it is often true that aesthetics reign supreme. I am always amazed by the precise artistry of Japanese sweets. It's too bad about the lack of flavour, though. However, the price is rather extravagant for just a few bites!

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It's about 6 inches tall and costs 12,000 yen.

I'd say appearance trumps taste.

Amazing to look at, but not much flavor.

Just to make sure, it was Y12 000??? That's about US$100.

I had a question about one of the pictures, but can't remember the number now. I'll have to go back and find it, but it looked like a little fried ravioli.

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