Thursday, November 5, 2009

Culinary Tour of Tokyo

We went to Tokyo with only a vague idea of what we wanted to do, so instead we turned it into what all good trips turn into, and that is a culinary tour. We basically stopped to eat every few hours to eat a new dish.. whenever we saw something interesting, we had to try it. We were at least economical about it, we would just order one dish and just split it between the two of us each time.

Before I describe the food, I want to mention how to order food. At many restaurants, you need to order from a vending machine. Outside of Japan, the idea sounds ridiculous, but actually, it's amazing, because you don't have to worry about any language barrier. You just look at the picture on the machine, put your money in, select your food, then you can bring your ticket to the chef who will cook your order. No speaking involved. For me who speaks no Japanese and has no idea of the names of food, it's the world's greatest invention.

I must say, I didn't know much about Japanese cuisine before going to Japan... besides sushi, that is, but I was impressed. We didn't eat in any expensive restaurants, just your average joe places on the side of the street, but of all 12 times or so that I ate over the span of two days, the only thing I didn't like was the pasta. I'd already tried this style of pasta here in Korea, since the Koreans imported Japanese pasta. Everything else was amazing. The Japanese don't blast your mouth with spice, like the Koreans, and I expected not to like it (since I only eat spicy food nowadays... if it's not spicy, I'll put spice in it). I was amazed to find out that non-spicy food actually can taste good. I had forgotten what it was like to live two days without spice, but it was quite enjoyable.

Here are some photos of the food I ate. I'll try my best to get the names and descriptions correct, though if the boyfriend hadn't been there I would have had no idea what I was eating the whole time.
Convenience store cuisine. And since Japanese convenience stores have no chairs outside, we had to squat under the eave of the building in the rain to eat this. We're not in Korea anymore.

Our friendly sushi chef making our sushi

Our glorious second meal of Sushi.

Takoyaki- A small piece of octopus fried inside a ball of dough with delicious terriaki sauce and mayo and other deliciousness.

Japanese Ramen... a little different from home, huh?

Okonomiyaki (I might have this one wrong, I'll check later). Octopus fried into a pancake with terriaki sauce... amazing...
Japanese-style Pasta- Just as terrible as the Korean version.

Inside of the crepe shop.
Our amazing berry cheesecake crepe.

Soba noodles and yorichobab for breakfast (yorichobap is the korean name... I forget the Japanese name)

The real Donkatsu... kind of tastes just like the Korean Donkasu


Frying us up some Yakisoba (fried soba noodles).

Our Yakisoba... it smelled better than it tasted. It wasn't bad, but the BF said he'd had much better.

Udon Noodles
Our first meal of sushi... for breakfast at 7:00 just after we arrived. We got this right outside of Tsukiji Fish Market. It was cheaper outside the market than in...

The boyfriend's new obsession. Natto. It's a fermented bean with soy sauce and mustard. It's ok, but I would never crave it. Now there are 6 boxes like this in my fridge.

And yes, to answer your question, we did manage to eat all this in 48 hours.....pretty sick, huh?


  1. Okonomiyaki :) I know, it's a real mouthful. Er. No pun intended!

    And tonkatsu, not donkatsu. ;) Also tempura. haha. Don't worry, I can't spell Korean dishes (I just devour them).

    And no, no eating outside of convenience stores. People take the food home. Eating on the streets is normally not done in Japan except at yatai (stalls), where they do have seats. Oh well, didn't stop me either...heh.

    Anyway, if you can *eat* nattou/natto (spellings vary), you're doing better than a lot of people, even if you're not wild about it! That'll impress the heck out of Japanese people. My husband swears that freshly made nattou is about a billion times more delicious than packaged stuff, though, so try it if you ever get a chance. :D

  2. Thanks for the corrections, I can't claim any authority when it comes to Japanese...