24 Sep 2005
tokyo review: food!
the major goal of being in tokyo was to eat as much as was financially possible. there's a huge variety of food available. i had a goal of eating some raw fish every day that i was there. i didn't quite make that goal, but i think out of the 10 days i was there, i succeeded on 6 of them. here's a list of some quick list of food we've seen or even tried around in japan.
japanese airplane meals
wow .. japanese soba noodles plus some rice on the virgin flight. not bad not bad. except that it was the only meal in the whole 12 hour flight, unless you include the "breakfast" they served right before we landed.
first proper meal in tokyo
first thing after getting off the plane and checking in is to check out the food. also we were starving when we got off the plane. we managed to go to a japanese fast food rice place. so in japan, fast food isn't your maccas or kfc (although these exists), but it is beef rice (gyudon) (牛丼), which is the one i'm having on the top. the one on the bottom is salmon patty rice, which is supposedly interesting too.
individually packed bananas
fruit is expensive here. although when we say expensive, we mean the same price as england. however, even though fruit is expensive, they're actually way way better than anything. it is like fruit deluxe - the grapes are really really juicey and big, the apples are huge!
kirin and asahi
there are only three major beers in japan, asahi (and variations), kirin and another one. hehehe .. we managed to have large bottles of kirin at the ubicomp banquet:
we did spot a large can of asahi here in asakusa:
but it was a giant illuminated billboard. right opposite this sign was the headquarters for asahi brewery! not quite sure what that golden thing is on the top, but its sure impressive. designed by phillipe stark.
i had heaps of sushi, i think i had some on the second day in shibuya in a very famous kaiten sushi place. then again in harajuku, in shinjuku, and in kichojoji, then again in shinjuku. also got to down some sushi at the ubicomp banquet.
by far the best place for sushi was this kaiten sushi place in shinjuku. it is very close to the south exit of the JR shinjuku station:
although the place in harajuku has some interesting sushi that looked like a tissue box:
there were many places that we didn't eat at, but looked awfully tempting. including this place which had a massive tuna head on a table outside their shop. underneath the head was a sign saying there was a big tuna sale inside. everything tuna was half priced! the tuna head was real as well.
this was another interesting place for sushi in kitazawa. the kanji characters on that trolley are all types of fishes. notice the common left side of the character on all the characters, that is the kanji/chinese word for fish. if you notice, there is the price on the bottom right hand cordner, not particularly cheap, everything above 2000 yen,
yes there are starbucks in japan. anil tried to meet us here and pointed his driver to go to a random shinuya junction. he believes the word "starbucks" means something like "i hate your family" in japanese, that is why the taxi driver decided to drop him off at a random place.
traditional japanese lunch
supposedly, japanese people don't have sushi and coffee every day. think of all that raw food everyday. but they have ramen (noodles), gyoza (dumplings) and yakitori (chicken skewers). so down this street here are lots of food bars. where you sit around a bar and the chef makes you yakitori, or grill anything you like, make you a nice hot bowl of noodles or whatever. we tried a place here which did sashimi rice (raw fish on rice) but there was a lot more of these. traditionally, near train stations are a bunch of these. this picture was taken in shinjuku, but there are equivalent places near every station.
delicious instant food
of course, the other main mission of going to japan was to buy as much food back as possible. the best way is to buy these prepackaged flavouring for rice or noodles to transform your bland rice/noodles into a flavour explosion.
yakitori and grilled things
yaki means grill or fried in japanese. and yakitori is grilled chicken skewers. we didn't always have sushi, so we checked out some grilled places where it seems alot of japanese people hung out. it seems like they like eating at these places and having a beer or two with their mates. this is kinda of like the english pub, except they serve decent food :)
here we had a very western corn, cheese and butter grill. looks yummy!
you can also grill eel, this is unagi! remember the episode of friends where ross keeps on insisting that unagi means inner peace? well, unagi does give you inner peace.
we had some of this unagi. the rest of the shop sold deep fried things. basically, anything you would put in your mouth, these guys would deep fry it first. its a pity i didn't take a photo of that!
japanese sweet things
there were heaps of japanese sweets and snacks. the best was actually mister donut!
but we also had some crepes:
and there were many shops just selling heaps of rice crackers in different flavours!
the delicious high class japanese doner kebabs
i wonder what their marketing strategy is in japan? maybe they'll be so sick of their fresh fish and delicious noodles, and settle for suspect quality meat in mayo and tomato sauce?
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