All posts tagged: tokyo

Breakfast at the New Sushi Dai in Toyosu Market

Having previously enjoyed Sushi Dai in Tsukiji Market years ago, I decided to go check out the new Toyosu Market and grab an early breakfast there. For those that haven’t been, Toyosu Market 豊洲市場 is the upgraded and sleeker version of the ‘inner’ Tsukji Fish Market. Visitors now look from viewing decks to see the wholesale market and famous tuna auctions. This means less hustle and bustle in Toyosu Market, with visitors directed one way and wholesalers+buyers another way. Toyosu Market may be cleaner and air-conditioned but it is definitely less charming than the beloved Tsukiji Fish Market. That being said, the Market is still home to quite a lot of popular Japanese restaurants that made the move from Tsukiji Market. Keeping to tradition, they open bright and early (5am onwards!). So a fish market tour followed by a hearty breakfast is still a good itinerary for first time visitors. Restaurants are scattered around Toyosu Market but a good place to start is Block 6 Intermediate Seafood Wholesale Market. This is where Sushi Dai and Uogashi …

A Classic Sushi Omakase in Tokyo: Sushi Fujimori 藤森

Tokyo is home to some of Japan’s finest sushi, everything from fish market sushi bars to Michelin star establishments. According to Japanese locals, the key is to find the right spot with the right environment you’re looking for. Previously, I have already raved about Umegaoka Sushi and Sushi Matsue, both sushi bars in Tokyo I frequent. But for a more upscale omakase dinner, I recently discovered Sushi Fujimori–a laidback yet classy spot in Nishi-Azabu. While Sushi Fujimori is more proper than your average sushi bar, the restaurant is cosy with a nice selection of wine and sake for you to unwind with. Chef Fujimori and his wife Noriko-san are attentive and put a lot of effort into making their diners feel at ease. A 10 minute walk from Roppongi Station, Sushi Fujimori offers their dinner omakase menu for 24000 yen (~215 USD). The omakase includes nigiri sushi, seasonal sashimi and a nice assortment of side dishes. A sushi bar to unwind and relax in I visited Sushi Fujimori with my friend Maggie and we started the night off with a sake “well-suited for …

A taste of Tokyo’s original katsu-sando at Bairin Ginza

If you are craving an authentic tonkatsu sandwich in Japan, make your way to Ginza Bairin 銀座梅林 to try Tokyo’s first tonkatsu specialty store. Tonkatsu sandwiches, nicknamed katsu-sando, are fluffy sandwiches stuffed with a juicy cut of fried pork. Different stores drizzle different sauces in the sandwich and at Ginza Bairin, the sauce has a subtle sweetness to it with hints of a tart mustard. Simple is best My friend Maggie & I were shopping in Ginza one day when we decided to grab a light lunch. Having tried Maisen in Omotesando and Tonki in Meguro (both great tonkatsu stores!), we were suddenly craving… a tonktasu sandwich. Founded in 1927, Ginza Bairin is a classic among Japanese locals. The lunch sets are great value for money and the storefront, despite being in the heart of Ginza, is casual and welcoming. We dined with a lot of locals there on their lunch breaks and enjoyed the light chatter around us. I’m a bit picky with my katsu-sando and find that they are often over-powered by their sweet sauces. But …

Where the Tokyo locals go for Kaisen-don: Tsujihan つじ半

When in Tokyo, do as the locals do and you’ll be able to find local gems serving everything from marbled gyukatsu to casual kaiseki meals. On my list of popular local spots, Tsujihan is definitely my kaisen-don pick. A Japanese staple, kaisen-don 海鮮丼 is a hearty bowl of sushi rice topped with chunks of fresh sashimi. What makes Tsujihan’s kaisen-don particularly special is their so-called ‘golden ratio’ sashimi mix. As we sat around the L-shaped bar and watched the chefs mix together chunks of fresh fish topped with uni and ikura, the attention to detail that goes into creating one bowl is spectacular. Like all beloved Tokyo gems, Tsujihan is raved about on Tabelog 食べログ (Japan’s trusted review platform for all foodies), so don’t be surprised when you’re waiting in line with a bunch of Tokyo locals also vying for a seat! Note that Tsujihan only seats 12 at once. In general, weekend waits can be 1-2 hours long but on the weekdays, you may be able to slip in and out with Tokyo’s white-collared crowd much …

Chocolate Decadence at Tokyo’s Bubó Cafe

The ‘World’s Best Chocolate Cake’ can now be found in the backstreets of Tokyo’s Omotesando area. Bubó is a Barcelona-based patisserie known for its beautifully designed cakes and artisanal chocolates. On my recent trip to Japan, I visited Bubó’s Tokyo outpost to try Xabina, the chocolate creation that received the ‘World’s Best Chocolate Cake’ mention at the 2005 World Pastry Cup in Lyon. Worth the trek? Absolutely. The Xabina cake is velvety, rich, and a chocolate masterpiece. I enjoyed the chocolate macaron on top and the chocolate mousse inside is a cloud. I’ll reserve judgment on whether it’s the world’s best chocolate cake because there are simply too many chocolate creations I haven’t tried yet. But to date, it is certainly the best and most gorgeous chocolate cake I’ve had. When you visit Bubó in Tokyo, try not to be too distracted by the amazing chocolate gallery on the first floor and head straight up to the Cafe. Once you’re seated, your server will bring you a beautifully detailed cake menu for you to peruse. Other than the award-winning Xabina we …

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 …