One of the things that has surprised me most here in Japan is how many varied cuisines and restaurants there are — from Italian to French to Indian to Korean to American (somewhat)… Of course you can get traditional Japanese fare, but it’s equally common to see a tapas or pizza restaurant next to a sushi house. This Wall Street Journal piece from the end of 2011 sums it all up nicely: Japan is taking over the culinary world.

I plan to sample as much of the cuisine as possible while living here. Yes, I am fully aware that I may gain several kilos in the process, but it’s a small price to pay for the opportunity to say “oishii” (“yummy/delicious”) at the end of a meal! I’ll count the walking to and from the train stations as part of the fitness program.

My recent adventures have uncovered some great local meals, including:

Ramen Noodle Bowl with Beer and Gyoza

^^ This ramen noodle bowl at Maru-kin (my first ever, actually, as I have been vehemently opposed to those Maruchan brand packets of salted noodles my entire life), complete with scallions (green onions), kikurage mushrooms (that purple stuff on top), nori (seaweed), soft boiled eggs, and a delicious broth. It was quite amazing. What made it even better was the plate of gyoza and the pint of local brew to complement the meal.

Sashimi Platter

^^ This traditional sashimi appetizer, which was rich in flavor and varied in textures. It barely even needed shoyu (soy sauce) or wasabi for flavoring.

Hot Chocolate

^^ This over-and-above-the-call-of-duty mug of hot chocolate at a small cafe. What was translated simply as “hot chocolate” on the menu turned out to be a rich, creamy beverage topped with a dollop of fresh whipped cream, chopped nuts, and chocolate sauce. It was decadent.

I plan to continue exploring to find some of the more random and special dishes, but so far I have not been disappointed. Even the take-away meals at the grocery store are pretty tasty. I have been avoiding the typical American chains like McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Applebee’s, and Outback, but will probably venture there at some point just to see how they compare to the US versions.

For those who know me well, you know that I like to find as many uses as possible for Heinz ketchup. You can imagine how thrilled I was to find this at the international grocery store:

Heinz Ketchup, the Staple Condiment

I just have no idea what to put it on!

Daryl DuLong

 

2 Responses to Oishii!

  1. Ramen noodles are amazing – you have totally been missing out! They’re one of my absolute favorite quick meals. Fresh vegetables, dried seaweed, and hot water and you’re in business. Hmm… now I think I need to post a ramen recipe…

  2. […] I have written previously about the myriad food options in and around Tokyo, I don’t think I’ve captured well how […]

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