Things I miss about Japan – Food! (part2)
21 May, 2011
It’s been a while since our last post. Reason? We’ve been preoccupied with other things. But as time passes, there’s not one day that goes by we don’t think about Japan. Anyway, time for the long awaited second part of the series: Food we miss from Japan :). Starting off with one of our most favorite Japanese dishes. ラーメン (RAMEN)! Mmm…
Of course being the ramen-addicts we are, we had to try all kinds of ramen-shops in Tokyo. This one was the closest to our house, about 15 min bike-ride away. Here Remi had a set menu, with ramen, fried rice and some gyoza! When eating ramen I always order some gyoza on the side. ギョーザ is a dumpling with meat filling. Usually it’s pan-fried on one flat side, creating a crispy skin. Delicious!
The picture on the left shows one of the best ramen we ate in Japan. It’s located on the top floors of ヨドバシ, Yodobashi in Akihabara. They’re famous for the tv-chef who made the recipe of the ramen they sell. The most important part of good ramen is the soup base, this one was just delicious! No wonder the guy is famous! ;)
On the right is the first ramen meal we had after arriving in Tokyo from Holland. At a very cheap “fast-food” place. At that moment everything tasted good because we had traveled for about 27 hours straight!
This is ramen from the ramen-museum in Shin-Yokohama. The most bullshit-museum I’ve ever been too!! I had zero expectation when we decided to go here, and my god it was just shit! The museum consists of a man-built small fake ramen town. Inside was a court with only ramen shops. The fake buildings inside the building look like crap, it was like a really old and cheezy theme park. I thought I would learn more about ramen, but no. It was just a place where you could see a bunch of shops together and eat and spend money (we also had to pay entrance fee of course..).
But, or so they say, the different ramen dishes each originate from a different area of Japan and the ramen was just ok. So in the end we did feel ripped off, but our stomachs were filled :).
On the left another ramen dish. This was also at some fast-food shop. Cheap but oh-so-good! On the right is a picture of horse-sashimi. Sashimi consists of very fresh raw seafood, sliced into thin pieces, and served only with a dipping sauce. This time we went to Ueno and entered some random street-foodshop, where people sit on crappy stools with crappy tables. At this place they served some weird dishes like this horse-sashimi. The meat was extremely tender, so it was quite good. But not the most amazing food I ever tasted…
We continue in the noodle-soup collection. This a うどん, udon soup dish. Udon is a type of thick wheat-flour noodle. The flavor of soup and topping vary from region to region. Usually, dark brown broth, made from dark soy sauce is used in eastern Japan, and light brown broth, made from light soy sauce is used in western Japan.
This dish is called Hōtō (ほうとう). We ate this for the first (and last) time during our Momiji roadtrip. This is a popular regional dish originating from Yamanashi, Japan made by stewing flat udon noodles and vegetables in miso soup (usually served in an iron pot). The pot was stuffed with the flat noodles and loads of vegetables including pumpkin! Somehow pumpkin in Japan tastes much better than the pumpkin in Europe. Thanks to ほうとう I learned to love pumpkin! This dish was one of the best dishes I ate in Japan. Unfortunately we couldn’t find this in Tokyo… so I had eaten this only one time :(((! Can’t wait to eat this again, someday… :)~
Moving on to そば (Soba). Soba is a type of thin noodle made from buckwheat flour. Soba noodles are served either chilled with a dipping sauce, or in hot broth as a noodle soup. Chilled soba is often garnished with bits of dried nori seaweed, with a dipping sauce known as soba tsuyu on the side. Usually we mix the tsuyu with wasabi.
I used to eat this a lot! It was a perfect quick lunch. Normally I would have 10 minutes between work and school to eat lunch. So I bought this at the combini next to our house and ate it quickly. It tastes really good and it’s healthy too! I only eat this chilled, I tried the hot one but it’s not as good. Especially in the summer it’s nice and refreshing.
オムライス, Omu-raisu! It’s a really simple dish: fried rice wrapped in an omelet. We went to an Omu-raise restaurant in Shibuya, they had so many different kinds of Omu-raisu. Such simple food is also easy to make at home, like I did on this picture.
This is actually Vietnamese food! Pho is a Vietnamese noodle soup, usually served with beef or chicken. The soup includes noodles made from rice and is often served with Vietnamese basil, lime, bean sprouts that are added to the soup by the diner. Like most restaurants this one also offered set meals. This Pho was served with an egg-roll, rice and dessert (jelly!).
Sushi. We love it.
This picture shows the freshest sushi we ate during our stay in Japan. This was during our last road trip to Ito.
Of course we went to tons of kaiten sushi places (回転寿司). The plates with sushi is winding through the restaurant on the conveyor belt. You see something you like? Just grab the plate! Or if you want to order something which is not on the belt, just yell at the sushi-chef standing in the middle of the restaurant. Though this can be quite intimidating as a foreigner! Trying to yell in Japanese…
Salmon was and is still my favourite type of sushi. Just.. love… it….!!!
This was Remi’s pick. He had to try this hamburger-sushi. Looks fun, but actually not that spectacular.
On the left a picture of a dish at our favorite restaurant in Akihabara. Specialized in grilled meat: Yakitori (焼き鳥). On the right some type of horrible aubergine dish. Served cold and tastes sour…
I’m secretly regret eating this dish. It’s whale …
We ordered this dish at the same place in Ueno where we ordered the horse-sashimi. I guess we were feeling very adventurous at the time. This actually tasted a bit like liver. So in the end it wasn’t really that good, in my opinion. Later I saw a documentary again on National Geographic, not a very proud moment. ごめんなさい!