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Our food & fun distractions in Tokyo

Our food & fun distractions in Tokyo

The reason to go to Japan, if not sushi, shinkansen, surreal shopping, temples, tofu, manga, maid cafes, Mt. Fuji, conbini stores, vending machines or Harajuku fashion… must be food. Which is why I will share some good Japanese dishes in this post.

Japan is one big amusement park – for grown ups. You may walk out the door and find yourself in the midst of street parades, festivals and food stands. Like this one. As we were aiming for Kyodo Station, we met school kids carrying huge stuffies, playing instruments and parading down the street. Just one of those days.

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

 

Let’s talk food.

Usually we go out for dinner and have breakfast at home. But exceptions are the rule. In which case a good Japanese style pasta with tarako roe and nori does the job.

Tokyo, Japan

 

So do look our breakfasts.

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

 

The best culinary experiences are the ones when we go out with friends. Saori is often our gourmet guide.

Foodies Dasza Traveler

 

Last time we went to Shinjuku, to a small eatery serving sushi, tempura (battered veggies or seafood) and kushiage (deep fried skewers). Location:  in the big Isetan Kaikan, pretty close to the main Isetan department store in Shinjuku

Tokyo, Japan

 

I love Japanese wooden kokeshi dolls, so it looked like a nice place to me. Yes, I made this food quality assumption on a kokeshi window display.  Dasza’s world.

Tokyo, Japan

 

Anyhow, our host had recommended the place and gave us a useful phrase for semi-veggies, to show to the chef: 肉は食べられないので、魚か野菜に変えて下さい which means “We do not eat meat, please change to vegetables or fish.”
This time we didn’t need it as we were here with Saori who explained the menu. The easiest is to pick a set and let the chefs do the rest. So we did. For 2,940 yen dinner included ten skewers, veggie dips, green tea refills, plum wine and desert.

Tokyo, Japan

 

The chef places the skewers on the elongated plate, next to the fish shaped dish which is especially designed to hold used skewers. Japanese dining perfection and aesthetics.

Tokyo, Japan

 

Before the start. Each of us faced a fancy plate with tiny compartments for various sauces which were served in mini clay pots. The (sometimes) hot towel is another great feature of Japanese restaurant visits. To the right were the veggie dips and another dish for dressing which were served in two bigger clay bottles.

Tokyo, Japan

 

The skewers would be presented by the cook, a maximum of two at a time.

Tokyo, Japan

 

I thought the skewers with various fish and veggies (like asparagus, mushrooms and beans) were so tasty that I didn’t use a sauce. Some skewers already came with a topping.

Tokyo, Japan

 

It was so much fun to eat those hand crafted bites.

Tokyo, Japan

 

Mushroom.

Tokyo, Japan

 

For desert, brown sugar jello with sweet soy sticks. What an experience. Japanese skewer restaurants rock!

Tokyo, Japan

 

Sometimes we just walk into a restaurant and see what happens. If a restaurant has picture menus or food models, ordering is easy peasy. I do love Japanese Italian restaurants, like this one close to Kyodo Station.

Tokyo, Japan

 

You can’t go wrong with pasta nor pizza in Japan. Pizza is often thin and crisp and just right. Quattro formaggi with walnuts and honey.

Tokyo, Japan

 

A heartbreaking look for the one on top of the food chain. Crab pasta in tomato cream sauce.

Tokyo, Japan

The best value for Japanese Italian food is Saizeriya, a popular restaurant chain with the best of Italy and good wine for 100yen a glass.

The first time we came to Japan, we were mostly intimidated and overwhelmed by Japanese menus (such a language barrier!) and izakaya customs. My izakaya favourite would be one of those 270yen places where you order through a nifty touch screen and get delish manageable food creations to accompany a fancy beverages selection, cocktails, beer, shōchū drinks, cassis mixtures and…the list is endless.

To get a first taste of Japanese food, snack, drink frenzy, the conbini is a life saver for the fresh off the boat gaijin. Conbini sell many sweet snacks but also main dishes which staff are prepared to heat up on the spot. You will get chopsticks, fork or spoon and straw according to what you buy. It is also a lot cheaper than eating out.

Tokyo, Japan

 

Most conbinis have oden – an open hot pot at the store, with each simmering snacks costing not more than 100yen.

Tokyo, Japan

 

Pizzaman and Nikkuman are soft, hot and fresh dumplings with various fillings (meat mainly).

Tokyo, Japan

 

Conbini deserts. What can I say – the variety of deserts is very decent – more like darn good. The freshness always amazes me.

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

 

Drinks are also served hot at the conbini and this is simply fantastic. Have a hot drink any time of the hour when city cruising.

Tokyo, Japan

 

Bread is a term applied generously to all kinds of sweet and soft buns with cream filling in Japan. There are real bakeries with French inspired names and boutique like interiors. They are pricey (this bun was 280yen) but the quality is superb.

Tokyo, Japan

 

And of course Japan is sushi heaven. I thought it would be useful to know some sushi names and took a picture of a sign with all the sushi that exists (well maybe there is more).

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan

 

So when I played at the vintage style sushi-ball machine, I knew what I got.

Tokyo, Japan

 

Tamago sushi! With a looong fortune. “You will loose weight and keep it off easily in Japan” – is probably what is says.

Tokyo, Japan

 

For drinks, I mean beer fans, I found this Oktoberfest poster with various beer types and names in Japanese and English. Japan really does have all the beer variety of the world.

Tokyo, Japan

 

Don’t be fooled by these dishes – they are plastic! But when you order, your serving will look exactly the same. That is a Japanese promise. Many restaurants have food models outside, to lure in pedestrians. It does work. I do like to marvel at them.

Tokyo, Japan

So long, itadakimasu and kanpai!

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