March 25, 2009
Tsujiki Fish Markets is one of the world’s biggest wholesale fish and seafood markets – there were many rumors circulating prior to our departure that this market was since closed off to the public after foreigners caused too much interference with actual business. Luckily, while we were there the restaurants were still open to the public and we managed to taste the absolute best of Japanese seafood. To truly experience its true nature, I was told to be there by 4am and be dressed appropriately for the smell and wetness; but true to our group’s nature, 4am was too much too ask for on a leisure holiday.
Grilled salmon and rice
Eel, shredded egg and rice
Salmon roe and rice
So at 1pm, we trekked in the rain to find some seafood goodies. The streets are still lined with locals eating fresh fried and grilled seafood and sushi, many sitting on little stools by the edge of the pathway as it is rude to walk and eat in Japan. Luckily, we had a friend who was a local and found a restaurant tucked away in the alley that were willing to cater for 11 people. My dish tasted fresh, but as per usual. I sampled the eel with shredded egg and absolutely fell in love. The eel was fresh, well flavoured with a light sauce and most importantly boneless.
A definite must do while in Japan – and the earlier the better! Tsukiji Market is above Tsujiki Shijo Station on the Oedo Subway line. The closest JR station is Shimbashi, where it is a 15 minute walk.
March 25, 2009
If you were to choose one thing to do to embrace the teen Japanese culture, this would be it. Maid cafes are “cosplay” cafes, where females would dress up in french maid attire and serve you as a master or mistress in their cafe. Cake and coffee is typically served; and although the two go hand in hand else where, the coffee here was terrible. A coffee lover, myself, found it very hand to gulp down the watered down sugary substance they called “coffee”. On the upside, the cake was fantastic – the Japanese have definitely learned to perfect their sweets. Although the food is nothing flash, it is the experience that you leave with.
The maids address you as goshujinsama (master) or ojosama (mistress), and with additional money, they can play games with you, chat, or take polaroids. They are nothing shy of being “cute” or doing what their customers want as purely because their main job is to keep their masters and mistresses happy.
March 7, 2009
Convinced by my travel colleague once again, I fell into peer pressure to wait 30 minutes with a growling tummy for a table. And again, he was right – the food was fantastic, but the excitement and experience of watching them cook this on your table grill was worth the wait.
Okonomiyaki is a Japanese “pancake” served with a number of chosen ingredients, sometimes with yakisoba (noodles) and doused with teriyaki sauce and Japanese mayonnaise. It typically consists of a batter, diced meat and loads of cabbage and egg as the “base” – this is mixed up violently by the host and left to slowly fry for a while. The host returns and layers thick egg noodles on both sids and it is left to fry until crispy and golden. Finally it is served with the sauces and you are left with food shovels and chopsticks to cut and share.
A definite must eat when visiting Japan – but start before your hunger hits!
March 6, 2009
Burgers are the best takeaway food. Boys always judge a burger on its size. I always judge a burger with the quality meat, softness of the buns and a generosity of the sauce.
Our first burger adventure was Mos Burger, which was “their” burger – the burger that every Aussie tourist who has been to Japan would always rave on about and how when you go there, you have to try it. And so we did. The burger was pleasant – it wasn’t the best burger I have ever had, yet it wasn’t the worst. It tasted similar to a gourmet styled cheeseburger but with their signature sauce. Unfortunately the boys weren’t as impressed with the size of their burgers, many opting to have 2, or 3… that was until they had the Fujiyama Mos Burger (Fuji-Q Highland theme park) and met their match.
McDonald’s was the next obvious burger place. McDonald’s in Japan is impressive, particularly the service. After purchasing a Happy Meal, the lady would smile from ear to ear, thank me and tell me to “have a happy time” – cheesy but too cute from a old Japanese lady speaking in broken English. Burger wise, the burgers tasted fresher, but McDonald’s is McDonald’s wherever it is. McDonald’s was always a desperate or cheap option for us, otherwise, I would opt to chow down a bowl of fresh ramen.
Nothing could contain the excitement of seeing this burger outlet, Lotteria, at the end of Harajuku St. After falling into peer pressure after watching my fellow travel companion devour the burgers the previous night, it was time to reward my tastebuds for a long day’s worth of shopping… and walking. And unbelievable. This burger melts into your mouth. The bread is soft, fresh and delicate and the sauce is unique – similar to the sauce you would find on a meatlovers pizza. But surprisingly, one of the highlights of my meal was the orange juice; and considering the scarcity of fresh fruit in Japan, it was one of the best artificially flavoured orange juices I have ever had!