Friday, December 3, 2010

Japan 2010 - Food

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?

Sake anyone?

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!

Related posts:
Japan 2010 - Autumn Foliage
Japan 2010 - People


  1. Unfortunately, Japan is a minefield for vegetarians and those of us who are allergic to shellfish (yours truly). The desserts, however, are heavenly. I ate so many when I was there last. Gorgeous pictures. I hope you post more from your trip!

  2. I like all your Japan posts. U capture Japan in a special kind of way, talking about its place, people & food.

    did u go on tour? or u planned the whole trip by urself?
    u make me feel like going to Japan. But I guess I have to wait a few more yrs til my son is bigger! ;)

  3. Hi Ju, I've tried ur Moist Butter Cake! It turned out so delicious and yummy! I've posted today and linked U. Thanks for sharing ;)

  4. I have to return to Japan again. Love the food and the craziness.

  5. Your DD:) SOOOOOOO pretty and cutely dressed up warmly!
    I love the 2 pics of cones in hand! Ju..PERFECT..howdyoudothat?so well?

    You heard the angels sing? Too funny and cute..I am sure it was divine:)

  6. OMG I have never been to Japan and I now see what I've been missing!

    The food looks super yummy indeed - lucky you!

  7. Ju, I want that matcha ice cream!!!! I have been making smothie with matcha every morning, but can't get enough. I want more and more.

    You have posted yummpy pics that I like them all.

  8. First time visiting your blog. I love your Japan post. Keep it up.

  9. I want to go back to Japan to eatttttttt!

  10. omGomGOmGOMGOMG, i am so off to japan next year =)

  11. I am the same way. Love food but prefer to play it by ear while traveling. Everything looks delicious, though! Especially love the matcha ice cream and crepe with ice cream. Yummy!

  12. Oh my. my. my....these pictures are perfection.
    My son has been to Japan in summer and told me all about the fabulous and inexpensive food...but your pictures made it all real for me.
    Your DD is adorable...I could dig a bowl of that Udon soup right this minute! I am cold and starving!

  13. Welcome home babe!!

    Loving your Japan posts :)

    Ps. I would also max out my sashimi quota if I was there. Confirm!

  14. Everything looks so good! I want to go to Japan!!!

  15. welcome home! gorgeous pics .Glad you had a good time Ju. :)

  16. Love all the food pics!! I miss Japanese food in Japan !!

  17. The display and the food you eat are not real!! Both are too beautiful to be real, and too pretty to be eaten.

    Ar cherry... another blogger i have not visit for a long time...

  18. when I saw your blog post titles about Japan, I knew what I can expect.

    "ya.. ya.. of course, everything in Japan is yummy...".

    but just as I read on, your pictures and captions just roused the excitement in me that I can't help yelling inside me!

    you've made me miss Japan so muchhhh!!!!

    it's really an enjoyable post :)