I am not a foodie. I appreciate good food but I don't live to eat. And I certainly don't plan my vacations around it. Especially in country like Japan, where you are surrounded by so much good food, it's practically a challenge picking that ONE place to have your meal. I decided I didn't want to waste my time hunting down blog-recommended places. Instead, I found my own memorable meals, just by walking into random eateries and ordering like the locals. Not once did I encounter bad food in Japan. It was only a matter of how good. :)
In Osaka, which lives by the motto Kuidaore (食い倒れ) - ie, to ruin oneself by extravagance in food - we saw queues for food, even late into the night.
Food displays are a lifesaver for tourists like me. Especially when I ate at places where staff do not speak English. It was pointing and gestures galore. And I assure you, I am very funny when I start playing charades.
Sashimi!! I went crazy. I was a woman on a mission and I wanted to max out my sashimi limit. The Japanese have elevated presentation into an art form. Just look at how much effort and detail go into plating a few slices of fish!
Tempura! They may be fried and battered but they never tasted heavy or oily. My, my ... I lost count of the number of tempura dishes I had.
The eggs were always tender and never overdone.
Creamy homemade tofu! Delectable. How on earth do they make them?
Pickles! The pickles in Japan rawk. The pickled vegetables are always juicy and crunchy, and taste of their natural sweetness.
Look ma, a Go-Go set! The train runs around the track and naturally drew the attention of many children. Smart way to get the parents to dine in! But no, didn't happen with us because it was a Chinese restaurant. No way was I going to settle for Chinese food in Japan.
Grilled sanma that was so fresh and firm. Every grilled fish I had was done faultlessly.
Something I bought to eat on the Shinkansen, on my way from Tokyo to Osaka ... for all of Y500 (S$8)!
The two best dishes I ate during my trip!!!
(Above) Seasonal Udon at Restaurant Sakura, Disney Sea. OMG, I'll remember Disney Sea for this lunch (and bad weather), not for the rides. Best udon I have ever eaten in my entire life! Springy, slippery, chewy and oh-so-tasty. It was delicious even without the broth! If you don't like udon, it's because you haven't tried the real deal. What a surprise, at a theme park! It's not exactly the cheapest option, but at least you don't have to settle for pizza or burgers. Bleah.
(Bottom) Stewed fish, which came as a lunch set, in Harajuku. How do I even begin to describe this chunk of perfection? It looked so unexciting when the waiter placed it on the table, but the moment I took my first bite, I heard the angels sing. The fish was so sweet and succulent, it was mind-blowing. I had to restrain myself from kissing the chef.
Desserts, again from Sakura Restaurant at Disney Sea. (Above) Wasanbon Mousse Cake with Dainagon Azuki. (Below) Kinako Creme Brulee. These were excellent! I soon learnt that desserts are generally all good in Japan, even those from convenience stores.
I bought Mister Donut for our ride back from Nara to Osaka. This one was mochi mochi in texture and filled with purple sweet potato puree. Oh, you could eat a few of these at one go and still yearn for more. Light as air! All donuts should be made like that.
Matcha ice-cream, which we bought on our way down from Kiyomizu-dera. Heavenly! Creamy and sweet, yet only subtly so, to allow the flavour of green tea to shine. Aside: look at the gorgeous curve of that wafer - prefect for scooping soft serves!
The Japanese are huge fans of all things French, and you will see many, many places selling fine French pastries. Beautiful displays, don't you think?
Strawberries and ice-cream crepe, from a humble roadside place. Still good, nonetheless. Japanese ice-cream always have that delicate, milky taste.
On some nights, I left the two boys with my husband and went for after-dinner walks with my daughter, to satisfy the sweet tooth in the both of us, and/or go shopping. :) Here we were, eating our ice-cream crepes at 10pm in the middle of bustling Nanba. Everyday should be like that!
Japan 2010 - Autumn Foliage
Japan 2010 - People