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Only in Japan


torakris
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Being located in the part of Japan with the largest population of Americans, I can tell you that the Curry Shops are by far the most popular local cuisine frequented. You can't throw a piece of Fukujin-zuke in a local CoCo Ichibanya without hitting one of us! Now obviously the cuisine served at a curry shop is not in the same stratosphere of a Ryokan meal, but it does offer a glimpse into what the average, working Japanese people eat day-in and day-out. If done right, with a leaning towards western tastes, Japanese Curry Houses could be very popular stateside.

As for the delights of Roppongi, I didn't even know there was food there that wasn't in liquid form....but those observations may be for another forum or website entirely!

As I think I said in my message, the curry shop think is a personal preference, not something proscriptive. I have even had nice food at a (slightly more Indic than average) Japanese curry shop in Nishi-Shinjuku, not far from a scary-looking "Jonathan's" location that marks the street to the weekly apartment I usually rent when visiting the Kantou area. I firmly agree that it's a good idea to try Japanese-style curry shops, or almost anything else, at least once, although my own experiences have been reliably mediocre.

I have had exceptional experiences in Roppongi, too, but I just don't really like the vibe there. If I wanted to go to another country and see a bunch of Americans, Australians, Germans, and British people, I'd choose any urban or tourist center of Canada. On my first visit to a now-defunct Sri Lankan restaurant in Roppongi I had a mostly stellar meal, and I've been to a quite interesting Starbucks-ized Vietnamese coffee shop concept, and I have had a Chinese meal in Roppongi Hills that I wouldn't be able to easily replicate in the US, or Hong Kong or Beijing for that matter.

I think a friend's mother took me to Fuji-ya in Ginza, but I've mostly avoided the other branches. I might have been to one in Ueno, though it could have been something else; I think they scolded my friend for us taking photos of each other. I remember the cakes not being as exciting as the setup I was given by my friend's mother.

Other things that don't have substantial presence in the U.S., at least in a restaurant form, include:

-Kushiage-ya-san

-Nabemono

-Shochu bars, so far

-Oden (the one place in Seattle that did this quit serving oden and focused on booze)

I was thinking I can only eat really good mozuku in Japan. All of the ones sold here seem to be pre-sauced and loaded with unnatural-sounding ingredients.

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I have had a Chinese meal in Roppongi Hills that I wouldn't be able to easily replicate in the US, or Hong Kong or Beijing for that matter.

You wouldn't remember the restaurant name, would you (she asks hopefully)?

I'm planning to be in Japan again later this year, and your excellent list up above has me drooling in anticipation.

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Well, I think I had some kind of kamameshi-style rice, but the restaurant name escapes me. The person I went with also has a tendency to forget the details, so I may have to reconstruct it from ambiguous internet information.

Based solely on my fading memory (I usually remember what I ate fairly precisely, so this is rather awkward for me...), I think it might have been

Ten Yi Bao: http://r.gnavi.co.jp/fl/en/a384138/

The interior photo here doesn't seem quite like what I remember, but I'm not sure if that's a matter of lighting or being a different space.

Oh... kamameshi... is that on one of our lists?

I have had a Chinese meal in Roppongi Hills that I wouldn't be able to easily replicate in the US, or Hong Kong or Beijing for that matter.

You wouldn't remember the restaurant name, would you (she asks hopefully)?

I'm planning to be in Japan again later this year, and your excellent list up above has me drooling in anticipation.

Jason Truesdell

Blog: Pursuing My Passions

Take me to your ryokan, please

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As I found myself stocking up on satsumaimo this weekend during an Uwajimaya sale, I reminded myself of another classic:

Daigaku-imo

My Japanese friends are always strangely amused at my literal translation of "daigaku-imo" (University potatoes :P)

Fried Japanese sweet potatoes are, immediately after frying, coated in a caramelized sauce of soy sauce, sugar, and usually mirin, sometimes with additional salt.

The results vary from sticky to crunchy, depending on how hot the sauce is cooked, though I'm partial to the former.

Jason Truesdell

Blog: Pursuing My Passions

Take me to your ryokan, please

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Daigaku-imo are really wonderful! You should be able to find them in any department store basement. They are a great snack that must be tried, someday I am going to make these...

EDIT:

here is a picture in case you are unfamiliar with them.

Edited by torakris (log)

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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Daigaku-imo are really wonderful! You should be able to find them in any department store basement. They are a great snack that must be tried, someday I am going to make these...

EDIT:

here is a picture in case you are unfamiliar with them.

Does this come in a bag so that I can take home to the states?

This is a fresh food that I really wouldn't try to take back to the states. It is best consumed while warm or at least at room temp. I am not sure you would really want to eat it 24 to 48 hours later even. It isn't really a snack int he sense that it is one of those mass produced shelf stable products, think of it more like onigiri...

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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:sad:

What other must have items that's non-perishable that i should bring back to the states?  Recommendations, anyone?

How about imokenpi then?

http://www.kochikc.co.jp/ohashidori/tuhan/kenpi/

http://chie.wschool.net/chie15/showart.php...529a7a80c0a211f

You can make daigakuimo youself.

http://japanesefood.about.com/od/sweetpota.../daigakuimo.htm

Making daigakuimo seems easy, but coating the potato chunks with syrup is rather difficult. You may need to make some experiments to do it right.

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  • 6 months later...

As I was enjoying my (homemade) mentaiko spaghetti for lunch today, I was thinking that Japanese style pasta must be added to this thread. :biggrin:

If you are unfamilar with Japanese syle spaghetti, check out the Japanese spaghetti thread!

This is something you can find almost anywhere. If you find yourself jet lagged and looking for something to eat at 3:00am, head off to the nearest family restaurant and check out their pasta selection.

Here is Jonathon's menu (click on spaghetti)

for something a bit nicer and not much more expensive, try La Boheme. (scroll to Japanese pastas)

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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I saw this thread too late, everything has been covered. Jason's list is excellent. Did anyone mention tako-yaki, tonkatsu, ramen or yakitori places? Kaiseki and shojin-ryori are also a good way to learn the structure of a formal Japanese meal. Winter one-pot dishes are a real treat. Shabu-shabu and sukiyaki are just a drop in the pot.

I would reiterate the need to try a top-notch sushiya or tempura-ya, if only to see what the real deal is. These foods have become almost totally lost in translation.

I wish more visitors would get hooked on Japanese fresh vegetables and spices, to make them more easily available abroad. I love the peaches and melons, and I NEED yuzu and kinome! We also need better understanding of live miso culture.

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  • 2 weeks later...
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