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Palladion

Tales (and pictures!) of trips in Japan

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Yes, 12000 yen for one colorful cake.

The picture, happily, was free.

Do you remember where in Kyoto it was? Or the name of the shop? I'm not so far from Kyoto, and I'm curious about what's actually in the cake and why it's so expensive (other than because it's so pretty).

The picture I was wondering about was this one. It's now labelled "Tempura" and "Tokyo", and since it's amongst Gonpachi photos, can I assume it was from there? What was tempura was it? I like anything fried, and it kinda looks like it might have cheese in it...

One more thing....is this picture of chicken skin, and if it is, where was the restaurant? I LOVE chicken skin!


Edited by prasantrin (log)

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Colorful Cake: The shop is on one of the main shopping streets in central Kyoto - a street that runs perpindicular to the river. (Maybe Shijo-dori?) It's on the side of the street closer to the Kyoto train station (not that it's close to the train station).

I noticed that the store also seems to sell its stuff in the basement pastry section of the Takashiyama department stores.

Tempura: I believe it was eel tempura. But I might be wrong. It was ordered in the latter stages of an epic meal. Yes, Gonpachi. About 8 blocks from Roppongi Crossing.

Chicken Skin: Yes, chicken skin. In a great little Izikaya on the far end of the Dotombori arcade in Osaka. But chicken skin yakitori seems to be readily available in Japan. Was on the menu in many places and I had it again a couple times in Tokyo.

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Also, I've now captioned most of the photos, so there's a bit more info if you go to the link in my first post.

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My wife and I are pretty much doing the same trip as you in 17 days. Great shots!

I am so jammed at work these days I have not had a chance to dig my way through the forums here.


officially left egullet....

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MKJR,

Dont sweat it if you don't plan every food destination.

I found no drop-off between the places I had made a point of going to

and the places I just stumbled into because they looked interesting.

My general impression in Japan was that the quality of local ingredients - beef, pork,

poultry, fowl, vegetables - was so high you could walk into most places

and be rewarded with fresh, flavorful food.

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After a grueling 14 hour flight, I am here in Tokyo and trying desperately to get on Japan time. Forever the glutton, I have already covered a heck of a lot of ground food-wise. I am still a bit hazy, but wanted to blog when this was fresh in my mind. I have a lot of photos that I am blogging on my website with slideshows that don't work here so I will just link to my albums for those entries.

Last night, we arrived late and went searching for something to eat, but found many things closed. We ended up a place near the hotel that served food from Okinawa. I can't say it was the most flavorful of cuisines, but it filled our tired bellies. English at the place was minimal (my parents' Japanese is still rusty), but I took a photo of the sign in case you are somehow able to translate. I unfortunately do not have the correct terminology for the food, so I hope the photos are enough.

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Tofu soup

You can view the rest of photos HERE.

This morning, I woke up at 5 a.m. Hooray for jet-lag! I waited until my parents were awake and we headed out to Tsukiji Central Wholesale Market for a little breakfast. This place made me want to move to Japan by the sheer amount of gorgeous looking food for sale.

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Fresh wasabi root

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Fish for sale

You can view the rest of the photos HERE.

There were also a variety of food stalls serving anything from tempura to oden. My sister is an oden fanatic, so she got a bowl at one of the stalls.

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My Dad choosing the oden

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My sister digging into her daikon.

I spotted a woman splitting fresh uni (and conch) open and grilling them over hot coals, so I left my folks and sis to their oden (never been a fan of fish cake) and stood in the very long line. Here are some photos of the woman cooking and the final product.

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Forever the food-crazy family, we headed to a favorite haunt of my parents, Mitsukoshi. I was really not in the mood to go shopping until I saw where my Dad was taking us--the food floors. The sheer volume and quality of the products made me want to cry out. It was just AMAZING. The store is like the Japanese version of Harrod's, but so much better. Anything you could ever want or need for your kitchen.

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My mouth was watering at the sight of this beef

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Dumplings for sale

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Assorted tempura items

Check out the rest of the photos HERE

You'd think we were done with food for the day--no way. It was only noon and that meant it was time for lunch. I had been asking for udon and my Dad delivered in a big way. We went to a little spot in Ginza called Sato Yosuke--killer place. My tray was so big I could hardly get a proper photo. But, here is my best take on the place. Great spot if you are looking for fresh noodles + chic decor.

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If you would like to view my full post, with slideshows and more photos, please visit my website: The Blissful Glutton

I still have a week here and then I am off to Hong Kong, so stay tuned....

Jennifer


Edited by The Blissful Glutton (log)

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Thank you for starting the thread. It's always a pleasure to hear what non-Japanese people think about Japanese cuisine. I hope you post more photos along with comments.

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Jennifer - there's a pool of drool now on my keyboard looking at all those food pics. The beef! The fresh wasabi! Those sushi slabs! Oh be still my heart. :wub:


Doddie aka Domestic Goddess

"Nobody loves pork more than a Filipino"

eGFoodblog: Adobo and Fried Chicken in Korea

The dark side... my own blog: A Box of Jalapenos

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Oh, how I wish I was back in Japan ! You are so lucky - I'm guessing you are Japanese ? Make sure to try unagi at least once. Are you going to Hiroshima, if so I have a great recommendation for a tempura restaurant, I can look it up when I get home.

I am very jealous with you talking about Mitsukoshi, my husband hated japan as it magnified my shopping mania !

Hiroyuki, I loved the food when we went to Japan. It was really nice, as a Brit, to try something other than sushi and sashimi - because that (apart from noodles and tempura) is all the Japanese food you get over here. We stayed in Matsumoto for a few days and I loved the forest vegetables. We went in hanami, and I especially loved all the food stalls around in the parks - we were in Kyoto for the tail end of the holiday and the food stands in the park near Gion were wonderful. I have a mania for those steamed char siu pork buns, and tried making some recently after finding a recipe on a Japanese blogger's site.

Okonomiyaki !! Yum yum !

If I could afford it I would go back tomorrow ! Some of my pictures are uploaded here - http://www.photobox.co.uk/album/4816878


www.diariesofadomesticatedgoddess.blogspot.com

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Oh yes, and I just remembered. Haagen Dazs black sesame ice cream wafer sandwiches :wub:


www.diariesofadomesticatedgoddess.blogspot.com

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Are you staying in Tokyo, or more specifically near Asakusa? I may be able to point you to a place that serves whale-nabe ;) (though their primary specialty is Dojou nabe)

I envy you ma'am :)


Edited by rykomatsu (log)

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I am finally getting into the groove of Tokyo. I love it here. It is like a much cleaner and calmer New York. If it was not so far from where my family lives, I would move here in a heartbeat--I always say that about cities I love.

So, we are trying to mix it up food-wise. Tuesday night we went to an old haunt of my parents' (they met while both of them were living in Tokyo) in Roppongi, where many of the expats live. I have to say this was the best meal I have had in a long time. It was simple and straightforward using nothing, but great product. The way it works is that you sit at a counter that encircles two chefs surrounded by baskets of fresh vegetables, meat, and fish.

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One of our chefs for the night

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Selection of items to choose from--you are out of luck once it is gone.

These two guys cook everything for the restaurant. You order from your waiter who yells the order to the chefs--yelling a lot is key here. It makes for a very cool enviornment. Once your order is ready, the chefs pass you your dishes on a paddle.

Sake--which is very strong here--is poured out of wood bowl into you square cup. I can normally handle my sake, but I was definitely blurry after one cup. I still had another and was very silly for the rest of the night--this was the kind of place where it is okay to get rowdy--my kind of spot.

The food we had was just amazing. The lighting was kind of weak, but the blurriness pretty much replicates the way I was seeing things this particular meal. Don't worry--I never forget a flavor.

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Fried river crabs and hirame (flounder) sashimi

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Fried red snapper: this was so buttery and tasted amazing.

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Ginko nuts

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Clams

I woke up the next day with the most incredibly bad headache I'd had in years--darn sake. My dad took us for some katsudon (fried pork cutlets over rice with egg and caramelized onions) to soak up the alcohol in our stomachs. There are plenty of stalls around Tokyo where you can get this and we just walked into a random spot near hotel in Ginza. It was great.

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After a small nap, we headed out for shabu-shabu. The shabu-shabu spot, Nigyocho Imahan (located in the Barneys NY building), was pretty good, but I have had better in Hawaii and NYC. I hate to complain, but the meat was almost too marbled. The service was excellent though and we got our authentic shabu-shabu fix in Japan.

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The shabu-shabu pot

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"High-quality beef" for shabu-shabu

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Veggie assortment

Well, that is it for now. You can check out my whole photo album, which I will be continuously be updating HERE.

Stay tuned for more...I will update when I have the time.


Edited by The Blissful Glutton (log)

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Jennifer, this looks to be an extraordinary trip if your photos so far are any indication. I have not yet been to Japan, but have wanted to go very badly for a loooong time. I want to even more now secondary to your photos, but also to a demonstration that I saw earlier this week at the Starchefs International Chefs Congress in NYC. That was Seiji Yamamoto of Ryugin in Tokyo. If you can, I suspect that it would be very much worth your while to visit and dine at that restaurant. It appeared to be quite, quite extraordinary and has vaulted itself into the top two or three restaurants that I would like to visit in the world. In any case, have a great trip. I will follow with great anticipation!


John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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Jennifer, this looks to be an extraordinary trip if your photos so far are any indication. I have not yet been to Japan, but have  wanted to go very badly for a loooong time. I want to even more now secondary to your photos, but also to a demonstration that I saw earlier this week at the Starchefs International Chefs Congress in NYC. That was Seiji Yamamoto of Ryugin in Tokyo. If you can, I suspect that it would be very much worth your while to visit and dine at that restaurant. It appeared to be quite, quite extraordinary and has vaulted itself into the top two or three restaurants that I would like to visit in the world. In any case, have a great trip. I will follow with great anticipation!

Jennifer: Great thread. Look forward to the next posts. This brings back memories of our very recent trip to Japan in May 2007 and how much we long to return.

Doc: You so have to get there. We went on a whim with only a month to plan and had a great (i mean amazing) time. I am not sure where I will be able to get sashimi like this (which we picked up at one of the stalls in Tsukiji for only 500Y (at the time around CDN$5) ever again.

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officially left egullet....

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Great thread :) I really envy the culinary delights you're enjoying.

If you have a chance and want to give whale a shot (or dojou), this place is pretty well known in the Asakusa area. It's called Komagata Dojou (though it's written Dozeu in hiragana).

http://www.dozeu.com/dozeu_fl/menu/menu.html

I'll add more later...gotta head out for a company gathering >.>

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Cool! I want to eat at all the places you're eating! Maybe next time I'm in Tokyo, I can get to some of them...

I want to try Ryugin, too, but damn! If that website isn't one of the most annoying websites I've ever used...

If you come down to Kansai, and you want company to go to Koyoshi Sushi, I'd be happy to show you the way! It's one of the places that Anthony Bourdain featured in No Reservations, and it's right by Hankyu Umeda Station!

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I am kind of rushed for time, so I am just going to let the photos do the talking. We went to a little noodle shop that our concierge recommended for lunch. I don't have the name because all the signs were in Japanese and the hotel staff just directed the cab driver in Japanese. I will see if I can find out before I leave. It was really good.

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You can view the full album HERE.

Lunch another day was another random spot I walked into when my family was indulging in some oden. I sat myself down at the counter with all the Japanese businessmen and had some tonkatsu. It was soooo good. The rice (which you cannot see that well, had pureed Japanese potato/yam in it that gave the dish the sticky texture of natto. Great meal and cheap to boot.

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My Dad pulled a winner out of his sleeve last night. He found a restaurant called Tofu-ya Ukai, which is located under the Tokyo tower. We had a private room and it was kaseiki-style dining with numerous courses. The service, plating, and flavors were just amazing. September 21st was the official start date of Autumn here in Tokyo and it was reflected in whimsical little touches like pine straw laid across our plates. It was our most memorable meal because of the pure artistry of the entire experience. A definite must if you are ever here. There is a two month wait, so book it now!

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You can view the full album HERE.

In true Glutton family fashion, we went to yet another food floor at at a department store, Takashimaya in Shinjuku. I think I liked this one ever better than the first one we hit. The oshinko and fish selections were excellent!

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You can view the full album HERE.

When it comes to shopping in Tokyo, the only thing I wanted was knife. We headed down to the restaurant wholesale district called Kappabashi-dori in Asakusa. The area is marked by this large chef's head.

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I got a few knives for my friends and myself. Here is a photo of on of the knives and the nice man who sharpened them.

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There was a store that sells all of the plastic food used for display restaurants--what a trip. I should have bought something, but I had no use for it--still kind of a fun store.

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Dinner last night was just fabulous. We went for tempura to Kondo. It is a bar-style tempura restaurant where each piece is fried individually and then placed on a small plate with paper which is changed after each course. It was insane. There was anything from fresh corn (sick) to acorn squash. Probably rivals the robata for my favorite meal. Another must if you are here. The seating is limited, so book in advance.

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One of the chefs serving a guest.

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A piece of lotus root tempura.

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Shrimp heads

You can view the full album HERE.


Edited by The Blissful Glutton (log)

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gallery_41537_5153_48397.jpg

Shrimp heads

I saw those shrimp on someone else's plate at a tempura place, and I've been trying for months to figure out what kind of shrimp they were! I thought they were shrimp when I saw them, but they kind of looked like fried spiders...

Was it really just the heads, or was there more to it? Was it a specific variety of shrimp?

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We had this same item - shrip heads - at Ten Ichi in Kyoto. Just a little bit of salt is what we were advised to put on them. The freshness is amazing. That said, to eat Tempura just as it comes out of the fryer and while sitting at the bar is something we had never enjoyed and will have a tough time eating any other way.


officially left egullet....

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Jennifer,

Those are just amazing pictures!

I can't wait to see the rest of the trip.

I wish I was eating so well... :blink:

Rona,

Make sure you let me know when you are in town, I am more than happy to go out and eat with you! :biggrin:


Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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