CK in Japan Summer 2014 Part Four…The Galloping Gourmet

Before I get to my final trip experience, the concerts….

I recently did something on my Facebook page and got some really positive feedback.  Considering the circumstances of this trip ithis is a great opportunity to do it on this blog.  I often get asked questions about my travels.  In fact I was slightly amused, although perplexed at a question (or should I say demand?) I received not too long ago on my account.  (By the way, feel free to send me questions if you like)

“Enthuse me about how great Japan is! 🙂 “

I really didn’t know quite how to answer this question.  How do I enthuse someone?  Do I talk about the idols?  That might do it for some, but not everyone.  There are many different things that could possibly “enthuse” someone about going there.  Personally I have a bit of “train otaku” blood running through me.  The idea of traveling around Japan by train absolutely thrills me.  But aside from entertainment, there is one thing that universally stimulates everyone’s enthusiasm when it comes to overseas travel.  The food!  And Japan is one of, if not the best place in the world for cuisine.  In that spirit, I thought I would post pictures of some of the dishes I enjoyed on this and previous trips over.

Just one warning.  I have this habit of digging into my lunch/dinner before I remember to take a picture.  So some of the pictures will have a few bites taken out of them XD

Let’s begin with everyone’s favorite…ramen!

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Pork Bone Ramen  King Ramen, Canal City Hakata


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Hokkaido style crab based ramen.  Ramen Stadium, Hakata

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Ginger-soy sauce ramen.  Aoshima Shokudo, Asakusabashi

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Spicy beansprout ramen.  Hiroshima Chuka Soba Usagi, Saitama

I am not a huge ramen fan.  But I must admit all four of those dishes were really good.  The Hokkaido ramen had a wonderfully rich crab-based broth.  And don’t you love that bowl?  I also loved the pork at the Asakusabashi joint, which has a line out the door every day!  But I think my favorite might have been the spicy ramen with beansprouts.  I love spicy food!

How about some meat?

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Regular Gyudon.  Gyu no Chikara, Ueno

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Tonkatsu dinner set (Pork cutlet). Tonkatsu no Miseto Chinkan, Shinjuku

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Gyukatsu Dinner Set.  Gyukatsu Ichi Ni San, Akihabara

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Motsunabe. Rakutenchi, Hakata

Of the four dishes, the best to me was the Tonkatsu in Shinjuku.  It was recommended by my fellow Wasa-fanatic, Andy.  I have eaten a lot of Tonkatsu, and this has been my favorite so far.  It was so juicy and tender.  The Gyukatsu was a unique experience.  It was very good, but it lacked the juiciness you get from Tonkatsu.  It did come with an amazing garlic sauce.  As for the Motsunabe.  Not really my favorite food.  I wanted to try it since it is one of Wasamin’s favorite dishes.  It was after this meal that I told her I didn’t love Motsunabe.  She was so disappointed 🙁

My favorite food in Japan has to be sushi!

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Toro plate.  Sushizanmai, Tokyo

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Chirashi Bowl.  Gyoson, Odawara

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Shirasu-don w/ Toro. Tobiccho, Enoshima

I probably eat sushi more than any other dish in Japan.  I just love raw fish.  Once you have sushi in Japan, the stuff you get in America just pales in comparison.  That bowl was really nice, but the different grades of tuna on one plate was a lot of fun.  Not cheap, but not overly expensive either.  Sushizanmai is a chain, but a pretty good one if you ask me.  Tobiccho is one of my favorite restaurants on the island of Enoshima.  It was actually featured on a recent episode of Ariyoshi AKB.  They are the restaurant that serves fish-infused beer.

Yes I love sushi.  But I probably love shellfish even more!!!

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Grilled crab to-go.  Kani Doraku, Osaka

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Gilled squid and turban shell.  Marudai, Enoshima

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Hiroshima Oysters. (and a glass of champagne) Kakimeian, Hiroshima

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Crab Miso and Crab Tempura. Kanitsuu Hakataten, Fukuoka

Crab is one of those foods that I love the idea of eating more than actually eating.  I hate the work that goes into crab.  I just want to eat!  The grilled crab is from that famous restaurant in Dotonbori with the moving crab sign.  I love oysters!  I went to that restaurant on a local recommendation since it is one of the foods Hiroshima is famous for.  They were very good, and I loved that a glass of sparkling wine came with your lunch!

More meat.  This time chicken!

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Assorted Yakitori.  Aburidori Baricho, Akihabara

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Kara-age lunch set, Ko-Edo Funachu, Akihabara

Yakitori is another of my favorite things to eat in Japan.  This particular restaurant in Akihabara UDX is really good.  Although my favorite Yakitori restaurant of all-time is a little hole in the wall in Shin-Koenji.  Kara-age is easy to find in Japan.  Much better than any battered chicken that I have ever had in the US.  This place served a “Wet Karaage, which was different, but very tasty.

Miscellaneous grub…

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Tomato/Avocado Curry.  Akiba Kaigan Curry, Akihabara

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Okonomiyaki.  Okonomi Monogatari Eki Mae Hiroba, Hiroshima

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Appetizer set.  Museum of Yebisu Beer, Ebisu

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Okonomiyaki.  Ueno Park, Sakura Matsuri

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Oshima Yuko’s Raspberry Cheesecake.  AKB48 Cafe, Akihabara

So you can see there is plenty of delicious food to eat in Japan.  And this barely scrapes the surface of all the different places I have enjoyed over the years.  I didn’t even post all the terrific bentos I have eaten on the shinkansen either.  Even some of the fast food is great.  You don’t like McDonalds?  You should check out some of the special items on their menus in Japan.  Some pretty good stuff!  Oh, and Akihabara has an awesome chain of takeaway restaurants called Star Kebab that I highly recommend!  Most everything on this post is reasonably priced too.  So don’t go buying into that “everything in Japan is so expensive” stuff.  Not true at all.

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Star Kebab, Akihabara

And what do I wash it all down with?  It is always fun to find new things around Japan.  One of the local coffee house chains was offering a new drink that I fell in love with…

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Perrier-Espresso.  Excelsior Caffe

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Tory’s Black Highball

My new favorite drink in Japan is that coffee drink, which for me is amazingly non-alcoholic.  Yes, I do like to imbibe while in Japan.  Especially Hi-balls, which are pretty much Whiskey & Soda.  The Black Highball (pictured above) is the cola version.  Some restaurants serve a Ginger version.  I love them all!  I have also mentioned that I like Chu-Hi.  But yeah, that Espresso and Perrier is good stuff.  I want to start making these at home!

I will finish up with the concert posts tomorrow.  Until then….

CK in California

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