Showing posts with label 4 Overseas - Tokyo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 4 Overseas - Tokyo. Show all posts

Monday, April 06, 2009

Tokyo Tastings Part 6

Day 3 Breakfast
On the very last day, I was due to fly back to Singapore at 1130 am. So, any normal person would have slept in, had a good breakfast and then headed off to the Narita airport right?

Well, not me.

I cajoled my friends into waking up at 6am with me, and we headed to THE FAMOUS Tsukiji Fish Market for a sushi breakfast!

So happy because I have never ever been there, despite all my frequent trips to Tokyo.

When we arrived they were already clearing up... Not much to see.

We went to the various sushi restaurants within the market.. there were some with really long queues, like sushi daiwa and sushi dai (both very well reviewed on foodblogs and travel guides).
Many of the people in the queue were foreigners, caucasians and tourists. I would think that it is because they dont really speak japanese and can only rely on food guides, so they would head for these tried and tested restaurants rather than elsewhere. So the queues means that these places are visitor-friendly, and may not be a testimony to the standards of sushi here.

I say this because, of course we didnt have time to queue, so we ended up at a sushi joint in between Sushi Daiwa and Sushi Dai, also on block 6, called Sushi Yamazaki.

I took the sushi set for $80. The sushi is served as the chef makes it, so here they are in order:

egg and tuna sushi.

scallop and fresh prawn sushi.

sea urchin sushi

He was nice enough to substitute some of the items in the set upon request. He gave me this glass eel, a seasonal delicacy that I have tried in Singapore in place of something else.

So, above you see glass eel and crab leg sushi.

NC had the chirashi bento. Same price, same stuff, except with sushi rice in a box.

The stuff was so fresh. He took out an abalone, and showed us how it was quivering. Very good marketing gimmick.
I ordered one. and also a toro sushi.

NC ordered toro sashimi. I think it cost $30.
I think it was sliced too thinly. Proper sashimi shouldnt be so thin surely?

Anyway it was fun to finally visit this place after having heard so much about it.

Then we cabbed back to the hotel and I managed to make it to the airport with time to spare.

This was what I had for my airline meal.

Starter: tender warm satay with peanut gravy.

They always serve satay on SQ. It's boring, but nice.

I chose the japanese bento option.

I liked all of them, although some were really too cold.

Chilled cha soba was nice, since it is meant to be eaten cold.

Sakura ice cream dessert was a little harder, and less creamy than what I had at takashimaya food hall basement.

And a cheese platter to round off the meal!

I watched Twilight (a vampire teen romance movie) and quite enjoyed it. The boy isn't good looking in the movie, a little too pale and a little too thin. He looked pretty ok in Harry Potter though. I still quite liked the premise of this movie... all-consuming love (in every sense of the word). Maybe I will watch the next movie when it comes out.

Tokyo Tastings Part 5

Snacks in Tokyo

Some of the loveliest snacks that I have had, I tried in Tokyo. Such as cream mochi - ice cream mochi in the yummiest flavours, azuki red bean, matcha, strawberry sherbert... and I dont mean the hard frozen icky stuff that you find in the ice cream sections in Cold Storage. No no no. These were sold in mochi galleries, really classy, like an ice cream parlour, in elegant black boxes, and it was smooth and creamy and chewy. Not cheap at S$2.40 each, but I really loved them.

So this time, when I went to Tokyo, I tried some of their seasonal sakura snacks.

Sakura Ice Cream - $5. This was very light, rather fruity in taste. But not really tasting like a bite of cherry fruit, it was more floral. It was very interesting.

Sakura Rice Dumpling - about $2-$3. This was quite interesting. It was glutinous rice, with a filling of sakura paste and a little sakura blossom on top. The blossom itself tasted pickled. A sweet bakchang.

Sakura Pancake - about $2-$3. This was a light pancake, with a filling of sakura paste. It was very pillowy soft, sort of like our peanut pancake (ming chiang kueh back in SG) but a lot softer and fluffier. The sakura paste was light and floral.

Sakura Mochi - about $2-$3. On the leftmost side of the pack, you see the sakura mochi. This was also lovely, with a delightfully light and chewy skin of glutinuous rice flour. I liked all of them, and cannot say I preferred any one over the other.

Sakura Cheese Cake - about $9. I tried Hokkaido cheese cake in Hokkaido, and they were simply divine. They tasted light, with a little lemon and it was creamy and cheesy and melted in my mouth like air. I can still remember the taste, and this is one dessert that I hope to try again and again. So when I saw that they had cheesecake here, I decided to try some. Of the 4 flavours available (original cheese, new york cheese (darker yellow), blueberry cheese and sakura cheese), I chose sakura cheese. It would have been lovely if not for the fact that I forgot to take it out of the bag before eating, so it kinda melted a little and was not as firm as it should have been. It was nevertheless still very light and delicious.

Strawberries - about $9. Wanted to eat strawberries, because I really remembered the last time I ate Japanese strawberries, they tasted like an explosion of sweet berry flavours. So at the supermarket, I grabbed a punnet.

They were sweet, but not quite as sweet as I remembered. Anyway it is always nice to have some fruit after a meal.

Tokyo Tastings Part 4

Day 3 Dinner

Last dinner in Tokyo, as I was flying back next morning at 1130 am. We couldn't decide what to have.

first course - Shabu Shabu

This is beef shabu shabu, a delicious meal to have in cold weather.

First, they served a complimentary starter of squid in a savoury sauce. Quite nice. A little sweet and savoury.

See how marbled the beef was? It was tender and fresh. The restaurant takes pride in its fresh sashimi grade beef. We were asked to first eat the beef fresh, dipped in a garlicky soya sauce. It was tender and light, not a strong beefy taste.

Yup, very very marbled.

You can choose to dip the beef in either a sesame sauce (goma) or a vinegary sauce (ponzu). I liked the sesame better, it seemed to make the beef more fragrant.

The set also came with a serving of vegetables, tofu, fish cake etc. Well, they tasted pretty normal to me, tasted like boiled vegetables.

Then the waitress offered us some udon cooked in the shabu shabu broth. It was served with some scallions, some sesame seeds, and it was very tasty.

We ended with a yuzu ice cream that was more icy sherberty than creamy. It was a refreshing end to a delicious meal.

This meal was delicious but very affordable. The whole meal cost us about $$85 per person.

2nd course - yakitori

There is this little lane, rather cramped and uneven, near shinjuku station that is frequented by locals. All the shops in this lane serve kushiyaki (grilled skewers) and are small little shops with a counter and less than 10 seats around the counter. No tables. DH and I have walked past this place when we were in Tokyo, because we stayed at Shinjuku each time we came here, but we never stopped by because 1. we were with cutie and this place obviously wasn't a baby friendly place and 2. it seemed too local and we were afraid of the language barrier.

Well, this time, I came with my colleague who comes to Tokyo for business so often, she is considered part Japanese already. So she has come here before and is in fact good friends with the proprietress of one of these little shops.

There was barely enough space for us. The 3 of us and 2 caucasians next to me (who helped to take this pic) took up the whole row of seats.

We ordered quite a number of things to share.

some edamame beans. Sprinkled liberally with salt, it was quite a tasty treat, although a bit cold.

Grilled enoki mushrooms wrapped with bacon. Always a tasty treat. My friend tells me that she did this for a family bbq and it was very well received. I think this should be quite simple to make at home. Maybe I will try it sometime.

The grilled giant scallop with butter. Very tasty and chewy. I liked the chewier bits around the scallop, rather than the meaty scallop itself.

We also had tsukune, minced chicken. This is usually served on a skewer, and served with a sauce and raw egg, but as this lady makes it herself, she puts in a bowl, and cracks the egg in the middle instead. Interesting way of serving it, tastewise, it was just ok. Not as smoky or fragrant as I would have liked. I am also a little wary of eating raw egg in such conditions.

Grilled chicken wings, always popular at any party. These were polished off quickly because they were tasty and salty.

This is grilled fish, saba I think. It was very salty but otherwise quite fresh. The lady goes to the market every morning to procure her ingredients and closes the stall once her food is sold out, so the food is freshness guaranteed.

Total cost was about S$80 for 3 of us.

Tokyo Tastings part 3

It was really rather cold in Tokyo this week. Although the meteorological agency of japan announced that sakura (cherry blossom) season would start this week, we only saw some sakura blossoms, but they were not really blooming yet.

Glad I brought my suede coat, and leather boots. I am warm and comfy.

Day 2 Lunch

Sushi Lunch with our colleagues. As it was raining, we went to the shopping mall next to the office tower, in Roppongi. This is a popular sushi restaurant on the first floor, and there was a short queue.

I ordered a sushi set lunch. It cost about SGD25.

It is a long platter of sushi moriwase - 12 sushi and 3 maki. On the right, there were some cooked items, and some vegetable items (lady's finger and eggplant). from this end, I liked the ikura sushi (salmon roe) best.

On the left, there were various types of fresh fish. On this side, I liked the amaebi sushi (sweet raw prawn) best.

Day 2 Dinner
Our gracious japanese colleagues arranged a hanami dinner (ie sakura viewing dinner).

It was at a hotel, which had glass panelled windows facing their sakura garden, and we were offered a priceless view of the beautiful sakura trees. Too bad they were not in full bloom yet.

They ordered platters of japanese food to share. This was the starter platter - which had yakitori, octopus, beans, bamboo shoots. All very nice, if a bit cold.

we also had other things of course, but no photos, because the platters were too far away.

Day 3 Lunch

We went to the Ohsaki office today, instead of the Roppongi office. Lunch was at a pretty popular tonkatsu restaurant at the mall next to the office, Ohsaki Gates. There was, again, a queue. But everyone was very patient about it.

My yummy order of rosu katsu (pork loin) and beef burger with cheese set.

It was so delicious and light and crispy! Not greasy at all. I tried various combinations - with mustard, with yuzu dressing, with tonkatsu sauce (a bit vinegary). All delicious. The pork was tender and succulent, and had a little fat, which was what I wanted.

The restaurant offered various parts of the pig - and rosu had a little fat. Hire is another popular cut with the ladies I am told, and is a leaner cut.


Sunday, April 05, 2009

Tokyo Tastings Part 2

Day 1

We arrived after lunch due to some delay in our flight schedule.

Our first meal in Japan was at Starbucks, whilst waiting for our train to take us to the hotel. A lovely selection, but we just shared a poppyseed cheesecake.

And I had a matcha (green tea) frappucinno,cos DH told me that the green tea drinks in Starbucks are made with Japanese green tea from Japan, whereas elsewhere (like in Singapore) the green tea is imported from US and is not as fragrant.

After checking in, we ravenously scour the area for eateries. Thing is, not many places are open because it is after lunchtime. We ended up at a non-English speaking small little restaurant near Shinagawa station. By pointing at pictures, we each ordered lunch.

My Chicken Katsu-don with Udon. Quite nice, and piping hot. Did its job of filling my stomach. Cost about S$20.

We had meetings with our Japanese colleagues in the late afternoon, and then asked for recommendations for dinner. Our gracious japanese friends took us out to dinner instead. This is a little japanese izakaya (like a pub) called Ni (which means one or first) near Roppongi Station. It was our best meal of the trip.

First, little bowls of starters and pickles. They all tasted different and clearly homemade. Some were crunchy, some were meaty. I liked the pickles with japanese black beans. I also liked the chilled braised snails. All delicious.

Next, this beautiful and fresh platter of sashimi.

Look, just look at it. It came with a whole conch shell!

I don't know how much it cost, but my guess is that it probably isnt cheap because it was such a huge and delicious platter. There was Toro (wow!!!), Akagai (Ark Shell, wow!!) and some other fresh fish that I didnt recognise. Those that I did recognise, I know they aint cheap. So yums. I savoured every single bite.

Then all the fried stuff came. All typical izakaya fare, I am told.

Fried chicken. Crispy and not greasy at all.

Fried Oysters. The oysters were huge, just huge. The size of my palm. and so juicy.

Fried fresh sardines. Never tried sardines except in a tin can before. Delicious.

Korubuta (Japanese pork) belly. Wow, this one was powerfully flavoursome. It was savoury, crispy, chewy. I am salivating at the recollection of this. I have not eaten this before in SG.

Fried Mushrooms. Also very juicy. Had a fresh mushroomy taste. Strange, but I find that Japanese produce tends to be very sweet and tasty, compared to what we can get here locally in SG. Better than Australia even, and I used to think that Australian produce is very sweet and tasty.

Then some japanese speciality of fried fish fin - it's sort of like soft cartilage / bone of stingray, but very crispy. Interesting, and quite fun to eat. especially with Asahi Super Dry.

We ended off with some yaki udon, fried noodles, and stumbled back to the hotel, sated and very pleased.