My amazing dining and food experience in the city of culinary paradise 🙂
Dining in Japan is an incredible experience. In Tokyo, it is a blast.
The love of Tokyo’s food experience grew on me because changing is constant. The city always offers something new; and something exciting spring up every second and it’s a celebration of prosperity and diversity.
*Updated* June 2016 with more yummylicious experience!
Shinjuku: Yaku-niku (Meat Barbecue)
Talking about getting lost in a maze. The Shinjuku JR station is so huge and complex that even the locals may find it difficult to meet up their friends at the station. Just wandering in the area surprises me every time with a new shop or even a new mall.
The shopping experience in Shinjuku could be intense. So after a good workout of my wallet, I had no more energy left. I just wanted to find a place to sit down and have something to eat for dinner. Luckily, in Japan that won’t be a problem. I wandered into a local small restaurant that serves yaki-niku (meat barbecue). Sat down, the servers spoke only Japanese – it’s fine. So I just pointed at the photos in the menu and ordered a plate of beef, lettuce, and Calpis. To my surprise, the place uses a small charcoal pot to cook the meat. Trust me, it tastes so much better lettuce-wrapping the juicy wagyu that was grilled by charcoal!
Ginza: Tonkatsu (Japanese Pork Cutlet)
Not only the city (Kyoto, too) has a great number of star-awarded restaurants. The local dining places always provide the diners with the best value, service, and quality possible. The food ingredients come from all over the country, which you would be informed where they are from. Each prefecture has their own signature ingredients and quality insurance. 🙂 Niigata rice, Totori chicken, Miyazaki taro, Nagano celery, Kumamoto cabbage, Tokushima tomato, Okayama peach, Saitama Cucumber, Fungi from Kagoshima, or persimmon from Wakayama… Unfortunately, I have only one stomach and one mouth and it is impossible to eat in every single restaurant in the city. However, the adventurous heart may always get you to yet another, amazing place, around the corner.
I ran into this Tonkatsu restaurant in the allies of Ginza, and I chose the most premium pork for 2000 merely 2000 yen. Trust me, from where I came from, it must be twice the price… or even more…
Harajuku: Boutique Cafes
Wandering in Harajuku on a cloudy day, (en fait I was simply replacing my card holder @ the one and only Head Porter). It was about time for lunch. The Harajuku dori always trapped me in a maze and sometimes, I prefer to stay that way. Let’s not ruin the element of surprise 🙂 While I waited for the food, the store was selling some cute accessories, too; and chatted with to the chef to realize he is actually a fashion designer and his pieces were actually sold at the I.T. fashion store in Hong Kong…! You’d never know, one of the coaching tigers and hidden dragons in the allies…
Then, I found a very sweet café + boutique store in one of these allies – Café Bio Ojiyan. Homespun settings with sofa, book racks, and an open kitchen, I ordered their set lunch of the day, which is made of Ojiya (おじや) Chicken and organic cabbage stir fry in mayo. It tastes home-made so I bet it’s incredibly healthy. The set lunch was just 900 yen, with pineapple juice.
Omotesando: Coffee and Cronuts!
Thanks to the Japanese’s love of pastry and dessert, cake shops and pastry stores are everywhere. Japanese ladies are always gathered, never mind lining up outside a cake shop in an early morning for a taste of yummy, elegant dessert.
If you ever stroll in the cozy neighborhood (like Jiyugaoka), honestly, just walk into any bakery and you rarely would find the food disappointing. The attention to detail was of the utmost – from presentation, ingredients, tastes, price to wrapping.
Cronuts were so so popular and now it could be seen in many places, it is originated in New York’s Dominique Ansel Bakery, and the only Dominique Ansel in Asia is right here in Omotesando, Tokyo.
I was determined to try one even though the cronut sold out pretty fast. I arrived at around 11am there’s already a line at the counter. It was true, the outside was crispy and crunchy, the filling was tasty but light. Must-try!
Looking for food, Everybody Yelp or Foursquare. We order takeouts, we go for Food panda. The Japanese like to use Hotpepper. So my Japanese friends were bringing me to a local izakaya (Japanese drinking restaurants) around the Tsukiji market in the harbor area – Shibadaimon(しばだいもん), of which there is absolutely only Japanese menus are served. We ordered barbecue, sashimi (raw fish), skewers, Shabu Shabu, Sukiyaki,… and some special dishes we ordered that night was fresh flying fish sashimi. The place even has whale dishes, but I prefer not to try them and let’s preserve these endangered animals.
Shiodome (Little Italy): Fusion Ramen~
You may, or may not know, Tokyo has a “Little Italy”! It’s actually a newly developed area (and that’s what the locals told me) near Shiodome, (close the Shishedo HQ and there’s a Shishedo café). We fancied for some Japtalian-fusion and ventured into a deli that has some Italian style ramen (Japanese noodle). 😛
Odaiba: Bill Granger’s scrambled eggs
The famous Bill Granger‘s scrambled eggs came from Australia, but the number of restaurants in Tokyo has already outnumbered Australia. (And it’s opening in Kingscross 15th June in London!!!! First in Line!) I tried a few times walk-in to Bills in Omotesando and it was consistently filled with long queues until I realized that Bills in Odaiba was much more spacious, no queue, and has a view of the Rainbow bridge?
The breakfast is available all day, the servers might give you another menu during lunch or evening time, just ask for the breakfast menu and order the classic, scrambled egg breakfast and pancakes… O…M…G… it’s fxxking amazing.