Friday, June 15, 2012

Japan Files: Food Edition (May trip)

When we went to Japan in October last year, one of the things I asked Keiko was, "What is the #1 thing you want from Japan?" Her response was, "FOOD!!" ^__^''

One of the great things that we actually do manage to do is eat a lot and well in Japan. A lot of people think it's an expensive country for food, but really it's not. Many things are reasonable priced and can be excellent in quality and taste! Of course, if you're out to eat Sukiyaki or Kaiseki in expensive and exclusive areas/restaurants, you're going to paying top dollar for that! 
However, if you do splurge and spend the money on expensive meals, it is really amazing.

You don't tip in Japan because they find it highly offensive, so don't insult them and you can also save a few dollars every time you eat!

Sadly, Keiko couldn't come on our most recent visit to Japan in May, so all she got were pictures and a bunch of new flavored Kit Kat bars!

Here's a small food diary of the things we ate or drank on our trip~!

On the left is Bosu's Ochazuke and my Unagi-don is on the right. We like to go to a unagi shop on the first night when we land in Japan because it's close to where we're staying and very cheap. My Unagi-don was 500yen!
Another place we found was Ramen Jiro. It's a chain ramen restaurant that's all over Tokyo and the easiest ones to get to in my opinion are the locations in Shinjuku and Ikebukuro. We went to the one in Shinjuku a couple times. 
The soup broth is amazing, it's really fatty and full of flavor. Lots of garlic and is a heart attack in a bowl...but so worth it!
I got the small size ramen which was 700yen. (Portions are very large at Ramen Jiro...but I was so hungry that day I probably could have ate a medium.)

Pork, cheese, curry
Kimchi, bacon, egg, veggies
A place really near our hostel is an okonomiyaki restaurant. Last time we were there, Bosu, Keiko and I went to eat there on one of the last days of the trip. We went there towards the beginning this time. Becca took the roll as being our master chef after the girl who was helping us disappeared. The place was quite small and the fumes from the grills are sometimes very over powering. However, they do have many windows and they had them all open. You can choose from a lot of interesting combinations to eat, and we decided on 3.

2 of our Okonomiyaki done!
  The fun thing about okonomiyaki is that you can cook it yourself and add as little or more toppings. I really love mayo and bonito flakes on my okonomiyaki, so I told Becca to go crazy with it! Depending on which combo you eat it can range from 900-1200 yen each. (Even with 4 people, we barely managed to finish 3.)

Festival Takoyaki!
Since we went towards the end of Golden week, there were many festival food stalls set up in Asakusa. On the last day, Bosu and I went to grab some brunch there so that we wouldn't miss it. (The rest of the group never ate some, sadly u__u'' ) There's something different about the taste of festival food, maybe it's the freshly cooked aroma or the atmosphere of the celebration that makes it unique. We got some Takoyaki to share at a stall, and each ball had a full baby octopus in it! It was so good and each takoyaki was huge! We also had some freshly grilled scallops and octopus skewers too. Each item was 500 yen each.

One of the best taiyaki I've ever had! Bosu and I found this shop in front of the subway entrance of Alta at Shinjuku station (exit B13). We were waiting for the rest of the group so we decided to get the green tea red bean taiyaki. 
I believe it was 180 or 230 yen each.

Uni!! (sea urchin)
We went to a sushi train restaurant for brunch/breakfast on a Monday, and it was a good idea because the fish was fresh from the market. The uni was on a special for 189 yen, and the texture and flavor was so good. I slightly resent not eating another one..but I had ate many of the 'special' tuna dishes. Sushi train is probably one of the best ways to eat on a budget and quickly. Each dish color has it's own price, so you just pick according to your taste/price point. The cheapest is usually 100yen for 2 pieces and it's either a tuna or salmon combination.

The so-so ramen at Diver City in Odaiba. We just needed food...and the miso-ramen was one of the cheapest and easiest options to order. Since I had ate from Ramen Jiro, this couldn't compare at all...but when you're hungry, your stomach doesn't care for quality. >3<

The seaweed in the ramen was really amusing! It had thank-you printed on it in many different languages. Odaiba is a popular tourist destination and it helps that the 1:1 scale Gundam and Gundam cafe are there to bring in a crowd at Diver City.

Soba at Jindaiji temple
Soba time!
One of Bosu's food adventures he wanted to do was to eat soba at Jindaiji Temple. Apparently it's famous for it's soba shops and usually if there's food involved, I'm all for it! So we went there together and the environment is very different from main areas of Tokyo. It's more relaxed and more of the suburbs of a city. The site recommended a certain restaurant (one with a big water wheel in front) so we went there to eat. 

Ichiban no soba desu!
We ordered the store's #1 Soba since the ladies there didn't speak or understand English at all. (How to eat: pour the dipping sauce into the bowl and add in the condiments; wasabi, daikon, spring onions. then dip the noodles in and enjoy...). We later discovered on the back wall they had the food displays of what the food and offered sets looked like. Unfinished business it seems! But I have to say, the soba was very good...and there's a reason it's #1! The special was 1000 yen.

As we were leaving the restaurant, Bosu also remembered that the soba-dango from this area was really good too. So...we went and ordered some soba-dango and it was a bit embarrassing because the lady insisted that we eat inside, but we were fine eating outside under the canopy. (It was raining that day.) She didn't give up and we went back inside even though we had just ate there! >3<;;
There's a different taste to soba-dango and we got the honey sweet sauce to go on it. I don't recall the price of the soba-dango, but I would think it was less than 500 yen.

Laduree tea room @ Ginza
We wanted to have some desserts at Laduree's tea room location in Ginza, but we arrived there a bit too late, so all the cakes were all taken away. We ended up getting some macarons with champagne. 

Eating or getting take out at Laduree in Japan is much more expensive than Paris or London. I was really surprised with the inflated prices...but it's nice to splurge on yourself for something that tastes good!

The macaron flavors on the plate are: Vanilla, Sakura, Pistachio and Almond Marshmallow.

The Champagne is Laduree's brand and it tasted very nice. The combo of 2 macarons and the glass of champagne was super pricey though. It was 1800 yen.

Coffee Jelly Frappuccino

One of the last things we got on our last day before going into the airport was to get a drink at Starbucks. The drinks there are insanely expensive (as per usual from Starbucks), but they taste better than the ones back at home. One of the drinks I haven't had in 4 years was the Coffee Jelly Frappuccino. I loved it 4 years ago when I first went to Japan and I was so sad when they didn't have it in October. It turns out it's a seasonal item.
Tall or Grande size will cost between 450-550 yen if I recall.

My last meal was at the airport, and Bosu and I had Oden. (I also got take out Yakisoba for the airplane.) Even airport Oden is amazing...I have cravings for that daikon now! This cost 500 or 600 yen. A lot of people would walk by and ask what we were eating and to get some suggestions. I thought we must have looked odd because we had all the food out and we were going through all our receipts and calculating our customs total.

That concludes a large portion of the food adventure! I forgot to take pictures at some places because I was too hungry but you can get a taste of what we ended up eating on our trip!

It was fun, and I hope my next trip will also have a food adventure! ♥


  1. I'm trying to diet... and you're not helping LOL! Just joking! XD I know I said I'll reward myself with a trip when I manage to lose some weight but looking at your photos.... I am not sure if I should skip Japan instead ROFL.

    1. HAHA, I'm sorry! The food is amazing in Japan though, and you do so much walking you don't gain weight in the end. Or well, a lot of times, Bosu and I were starving then I would cry for a fuel up for food or else I would keel over from hunger XD! But when we did stop for food, it was usually very good!