All posts filed under: Tokyo

“There is no love sincerer than love for food.” – George Bernard Shaw

Why Gyukatsu Motomura is a Tokyo must-eat

Gyukatsu Motomura is one of those raved about places in Tokyo that’s a must-try if you’re in town. Worth the hype wait? Absolutely. The Shibuya location has the bigger shop front but if you’re like me and always running off to the next city, Gyukatsu Tokyo Station (Yaesu entrance) is the perfect traveler spot. In case you haven’t had gyukatsu before, it’s like the older brother of popular Japanese comfort food tonkatsu. Instead of a fried pork cutlet, you get a beef cutlet. A beautifully marbled beef cutlet. Hence the first thing you’ll do when you visit Gyukatsu Motomura is choose the size of your beef cutlet (100g, 130g, or 260g). Keep in mind your gyukatsu comes in a set with rice, miso soup, potato salad, tsukemono pickles, and shredded cabbage! My friend Mizuha and I ordered the 130g Gyukatsu Set with Yam (tororo in Japanese) and were both very satisfied with the portion size. As you sit elbow-to-elbow other diners in the tiny L-shaped store, the simultaenous sound of gyukatsu sizzling on grills was Tokyo at its finest. Great food, small space, and light chatter doesn’t get better than …

Tasty Vegetarian Lunch at Brown Rice Cafe

Finding a healthy vegetarian cafe in Tokyo is always exciting. For a city with so many different types of cuisines, it is surprising that vegetarian/vegan cafes are few and far between. While Japanese cuisine boasts tempura, tonkatsu, and deliciously fried things you can eat, its use of seasonal vegetables is always underrated. So if you’re in the Omotesando area and want a vegetable-ful lunch set, I highly recommend Brown Rice Cafe. Popular with the office ladies, Brown Rice Cafe has a simple menu: vegetarian curry, steamed assortment of vegetables, and the Daily Special. Since it’s the cafe branch of Neal’s Yard and Remedies, you can pop over next door for some organic skin care shopping after your meal! Highly recommend getting the Daily Special–it’s a great mix of seasonal vegetables and getting a sample of different Japanese seasonings. You’ll walk out feeling energized for some shopping afterwards. Harajuku is the more colorful fashion hub nearby if you’re not feeling like Omotesando’s up-scale name brands. I cannot believe the year is ending already! I’m in Singapore this holiday season, but I’ll be posting an year end review …

Discovering Tokyo’s Trendy Wine and Dine Scene: L’AS ラス

L’AS ラス is a gem of a restaurant in the quiet backstreets of Minami-Aoyama. Boasting a diverse wine list and creative Franco-Japanese menu, L’AS is an absolute must-visit with its fresh ingredients and stunning flavors. My friend Mizuha and I dined there on a Sunday night and the restaurant was buzzing with energy. The animated chatter of diners enjoying their wine pairings pleasantly echoed throughout the restaurant. After the first couple sips of wine and bites of my caramel foie gras sandwich (it tastes just as phenomenal as it sounds), I wish I discovered L’AS earlier. Highlights of our meal include the crab miso with potato purée and the roasted duck with figs. Definitely start the night off with some champagne, sit back, and enjoy the culinary adventure created by Chef Owner, Daisuke Kaneko. At L’AS there is only the omakase menu but every so often it is changed to accommodate new seasonal ingredients and recipes. As we visited in September, we were excited to find traces of late-summer and early-fall ingredients in all our dishes–cherry, fig, pumpkin, etc. For my fellow wine drinkers, I highly recommend getting the wine pairing to go with each course …

Devour Amazing Chirashi at Ginza Sushi Marui

If you’re shopping through Ginza and suddenly crazing amazing chirashi or sushi, you don’t have to go far. Ginza Sushi-Dokoro Marui is tucked behind the main pedestrian crossing in Tokyo’s glitzy shopping district and one of my new favorite eateries. Tokyo can be overwhelming with its endless amounts of sashimi and sushi options but if you want a high quality yet affordable (and very filling!) lunch break, definitely grab a bar seat at Ginza Sushi Marui and watch the sushi masters perform their magic. A little tip: lunch sets are the best way to sample a Japanese restaurant’s various foods, as prices for dinner can skyrocket at least double or more! Keeping that in mind, Ginza Sushi Marui is wildly popular with the lunch crowd so get ready for a short wait on the weekdays. While the more popular lunch option is the sushi platter, I switched things up a little and ordered a Zukeana Chirashi-Zushi, a hearty bowl of tuna and conger eel over rice. Verdict? Absolutely amazing. The large bowl was filled with surprises under the rice–little sweet tamagoyaki pieces, snow crab …

Tokyo Food Winter Guide: Spanish Tapas and French-Style Yakitori

Where did the time go, it’s Spring already! Here is Part 2 of my Tokyo Food Winter Guide, which covers everything from the insanely popular BAKE cheese tarts to delicious french-style yakitori. This post contains a bunch of the places I tried that are more fusion than my previous post, A Tokyo Winter Guide: Sushi Zanmai, Ginza Maru, and More. I visited Jiyugaoka for the first time this trip and I’m excited to share my finds! Jiyugaoka (part of Meguro ward) is a lovely neighborhood of Tokyo that’s fairly residential, mixed with a bunch of fusion restaurants and quaint storefronts. If you’re in the Jiyugaoka area this spring, be sure to visit when the cherry blossoms are in bloom because most streets are lined with these stunning trees! For more food and travel recommendations in Japan, check out my favorite Tokyo food blogger Maki’s site, Tokyo Eats. And lastly, thank you to Mizuha, Sena, and Haruka for showing me all these wonderful places. You girls know the way to my heart. Jiyugaoka – Spanish Tapas and BAKE Cheese Tarts   In case …

A Tokyo Food Winter Guide: Sushi Zanmai, Ginza Maru 銀座圓 and more!

Tokyo, ただいま! People say the best time to visit Japan is in the Spring for hanami, the cherry blossom viewing festival; or in the Fall, to see the country’s beautiful Autumn foliage. But a true foodie knows Winter in Japan means two things: Ramen tastes even more amazing than usual (cold weather, hot bowl of noodle, go figure). Tsukiji Fish Market in the Winter time is a FIESTA! (Fish fatten up in the winter time so it’s one of the best time of the year to get sushi and sashimi). Plus, with the traditional marketplace moving sometime in 2016, another reason to go visit now. While I adore my previous summers in Japan, which were filled with cold soba noodles and sweet kakigori in the sweltering summer heat, I love wintery Japan. It is the perfect season for warm comfort food. I’m looking at you ramen, oden, and fried-everything. Plus, this time around, winter fashion was in full swing and Japanese girls really rock the furry coats and beanie look–some great food fashion for thought! Below, you’ll find a round-up of the foods I chomped on …

Sushi Dai 寿司大 at Tsukiji Fish Market

Sukiyabashi Jiro might be the ultimate sushi master, but if you can wake up amazingly early in Tokyo and make your way to Tsukiji Fish Market, you’ll find yourself lost in the buzzing excitement of the world’s largest seafood market. I’ve had such amazing sushi in Tokyo but Sushi Dai, located in the busy lanes of Tsukiji Fish Market, is one of a kind (and yes, this is where Jiro and other renowned sushi chefs come to select their fresh fish!) Lines can stretch up to 5 hours, so bring some entertainment or simply come to enjoy the good company you’ll meet–I’ve truly met the most interesting and international people in line before. After all, as Julia Child so wisely reminds us, “people who love to eat are always the best people.”

Indulging in Matcha Eclairs at Sadaharu Aoki 青木定治

Sadaharu Aoki is a highly acclaimed patissier I’ve been dying to try since I arrived in Tokyo. If you adore classic teatime pastries the way I do, you’ll definitely find Sadaharu Aoki’s exquisite Matcha Eclairs irresistible. By infusing traditional Japanese ingredients into French pastries, a visit to Sadaharu Aoki is a sweet-tooth culinary adventure for sure! Excited to try out Sadaharu Aoki’s lovely array of pastries, Mizuha and I embarked on yet another afternoon full of sweets this past week. As usual, we couldn’t decide on just one tea set to get, so what better than a degustation cake sampler? Located in Roppongi Midtown’s B1 Level, Sadaharu Aoki offers a colorful cake sampler if you dine in–a definite worthy splurge. But of course, since summer is the perfect time for kakigori, and I also had my eyes set on the rows of lovely eclairs–we decided to try a little bit of everything!

A love affair between Croissant and Taiyaki at 銀のあん

Croissant Taiyaki Croissant meets Taiyaki, and a love affair later, I think I’m in love too! 銀のあん, following Dominique Ansel’s wildly popular inventions (cronuts, milk and cookie shots, etc.), adds its own twist to a traditional Japanese dessert. Taiyaki たい焼き is a Japanese fish-shaped pastry, stuffed with sweet Azuki Red Bean paste. Traditional Taiyaki dough has a pancake-like consistency. After grilling it, it’s nice and fluffy, with a golden finish. However, Croissant Taiyaki has more of a croissant-like consistency, meaning layers of flakey goodness and a crispy almond-brown color! The original flavor Croissant Taiyaki is with the sweet Azuki Bean paste, but they happened to have a summer special when I went today–a Green Tea Croissant Taiyaki! Filled with green tea custard, the Green Tea Croissant Taiyaki is extra lovely with its candied red beans on the outside and green-tea flavored layers. Don’t miss this fantastic twist on a delicious Japanese dessert, because I was in a solid 5-minutes of food heaven before it was all gone. *Directions: To get to Croissant Taiyaki, take the East Exit when you get out …

The irresistible draw of Tonkatsu magic at Tonki とんき

When in Tokyo, you can be easily spoiled by phenomenal sushi or delicious sukiyaki but the ultimate Japanese comfort food is definitely Tonkatsu, Japanese-style breaded, deep-fried pork cutlets. These juicy cutlets are pieces of fried heaven Tonki, a 75 year old establishment in Meguro, Tokyo, specialise in. Serving either hire (fillet, lean cut) or rosu (pork loin, fatter cut) Tonkatsu, Tonki is a proud no-frills establishment that has a never ending line of regulars and passersby that are drawn to the irresistible smell of its slow-fried Tonkatsu. It’s hard to resist Tonkatsu, especially when Tonki’s slow-fried process means each bite of its Tonkatsu doesn’t leave that oily after taste and only makes you want to smother it in more Tonkatsu sauce (a thicker and sweeter version of Worcestershire sauce). My good friend Cyrus, a French foodie I met in LSE (remember our post-Japanese class Thai nights?), had found raving reviews of Tonki so naturally, we decided a dinner rendezvous in Meguro was must.