Category Archives: FOOD

No More Dashi: Four Delicious Vegan Restaurants In & Around Tokyo

by Anna Wildman

Eating vegan (a diet containing no animal products whatsoever) in Japan can be frustrating, given that most Japanese don’t seem to have even have the word “vegetarian,” let alone “vegan,” in their vocabulary. Even in Tokyo, one of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities, dashi (bonito fish flake stock/seasoning) seems to be in almost everything– from miso soup to potato chips. The “Impossible Burger” hasn’t quite made it to Japan.

Oftentimes, even the menus at veggie-forward restaurants (often with names that include the words “farmer” or “yasai,” meaning vegetable) are mostly meat-centric dishes with some organic veggies on the side.
While culturally, eating vegan hasn’t hit the mainstream in Japan quite yet due to various reasons, the vegan restaurants that do exist here are high quality and often very cozy and inviting.

Below are four 100% vegan restaurants in or near Tokyo that I encourage you to try, or would encourage anyone to try. They are all quite different in terms of location and type of food, but the one thing that they all have in common is value — and the safety of knowing you are eating in a place that knows what it means to be vegan.

Saido

Located in Jiyugaoka, one of my favorite neighborhoods, is known for its trendy vibes and romantic streets, Saido (meaning vegetable street) is truly a hidden gem. After walking through a lush garden, expect to be greeted by a very cheerful and friendly Japanese woman. She will explain the menu to you in detail, giving suggestions (osusume) along the way. At lunch time, for about 2,000 yen you will receive a three-course meal that comes with soup, a gastronomic wonder of a salad that emits smoke when opened, and then the main course. Choose from one of the many noodle …continue reading

    

Mensho San Francisco: Nishi-Shinjuku

Source: bento.com

One of an small chain of ramen shops noted for their inventive recipes, this branch of Mensho specializes in tori paitan (creamy chicken stock) ramen. The beige-colored soup is light and refreshing, with creamy soy milk balanced by a bit of tart lemon. The most popular variety – cheese paitan – comes topped with a big mound of grated cheese that gradually turns gooey as it melts into the soup.

Other offerings include a bowl topped with A5-grade wagyu beef, and a chilled corn ramen. Their chive-heavy gyoza dumplings make a tasty side dish, and they also serve an add-on of risotto and pickles for Y50. The risotto is rather plain in flavor, and serves mainly as a source of supplementary carbs if you’re feeling especially hungry.

Although the chain started out in Tokyo, they opened an enormously successful shop in San Francisco a few years back, and this Shinjuku branch attempts to bring some of the most popular California dishes back to Tokyo. This may explain some of the more unusual menu items, such as their kale salad.

More spacious and attractively appointed than your typical ramen-ya, Mensho is furnished with a wrap-around counter plus several tables to accommodate groups. The vending machine has English-language instructions but it’s cash-only; alternatively you can order at the front counter in Japanese and use credit cards or electronic payment. …continue reading

    

Arigator Ramen: Top Warsaw Ramen Shop

Source: 5amramen.com

Among Warsaw ramen shops, Arigator Ramen Shop chomps like a ferocious reptile. With exciting, modern ramen and a fun alligator theme, they’re an essential visit in Warsaw.

Sleek Interior

Seasoning, Broth Base

Sourcing is critical when creating ramen outside of Japan. Arigator takes no shortcuts. Their chicken bone broth includes vegetables like onions, ginger, garlic, apples, and even the coveted konbu (kelp).

Behind the Scenes

Their pork bone broth includes the same vegetables, alongside pork bones and seabura (pork back fat). Furthermore, they use ingredients like katsuo bushi, saba bushi, dried scallops, and niboshi. Again, they’re not skimping on anything. On to the ramen!

Shio Ramen with Mussels, Roasted Tomato

Their shio ramen is mild and refreshing. The seasoning is 4 types of salt and white shoyu.

It looks stunning. The biggest highlight is a large roasted tomato, which packs an umami punch against the light broth.

Shoyu Ramen with Duck Slices

The shoyu ramen naturally has a bolder flavor. The standout here may be the roasted duck slices – there’s a generous row of them.

Arigator Ramen Warsaw - Shoyu

The fattiness from the duck add a pleasant overall richness to the broth.


​​Cappuccino Tonkotsu Ramen

This might be my favorite – something you won’t find in Japan. As the unique name suggests, the broth’s top layer is frothy. This and the creamy pork bone broth make for a carbonara-like experience.

Arigator Ramen Warsaw - Tonkotsu

It’s …continue reading

    

Japan in 8K

Japan in 8K

Japan is an amazing country full of contrasts from natural landscapes to high-tech modern marvels. Most of us have seen Japan from the ground but taking a look above from the air gives you a totally new and different perspective.

Armadas, a video production company based in Japan recently released a stunning 8K video which captures the beauty of Japan from above. The video highlights major tourist attractions such as Tokyo, Kyoto, Yokohama, Nagoya and Hakodate. Some of the amazing sights include:

Hakodate, one of the main cities in Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island is the gateway to this wild & rugged northern frontier. The city is famous for its dramatic night views from the top of Mount Hakodate and Fort Goryokaku, which was Japan’s first western-style fortress.

Yohohama is a lively port city south of Tokyo that was one of the first Japanese ports opened to foreign trade. This video beautiful captures the Minato Mirai 21 area of Yokohama, which is a seaside urban area that features many large skyscrapers including the Landmark Tower and Queen’s Towers as well as the colourful Cosmo World Ferris Wheel.

Nagoya is a manufacturing and shipping hub in central Japan that was a key player in Japan’s economic revival. The city is home to one of Japan’s best and most historic castles as well as some amazing modern architecture such as JR Central Towers, Midland Square and the Mode Gakuen Spiral Towers.

Kyoto, Japan’s ancient capital is home to some of Japan’s most important temples and shrines. The Kyoto Station area features some interesting architecture with Kyoto Station one of the largest buildings in Japan and a shopping and transportation hub. Kyoto Tower is a rocket poised for takeoff on the doorstep of the station and a …continue reading

    

re:Dine GINZA: Premium Wagyu Ramen

Source: 5amramen.com

re:Dine GINZA serves a luxuriously tasty and affordable wagyu ramen. The soft and succulent wagyu beef may be the star – but the entire ramen bowl is impressive!

The Broth: Full-Bodied and Delicate

The ramen broth uses a light shio seasoning alongside chicken, clams, kelp, niboshi, and duck oil. You’re also provided with a side of porcini mushroom oil. This pleasantly complements the refined, flavorful broth.

Master at work

Melt in your Mouth Toppings

But perhaps appropriate in glitzy Ginza, it’s the deluxe ramen toppings that steal the show. The star topping is the broiled wagyu beef. It melts in your mouth like a soft blanket dissolving in a river of umami.

All this for just ¥1,500

But it’s not just the wagyu – slices of slow-cooked duck and chicken are great topping sidekicks. These 3 meats seep into the light broth and provide it with a meatier flavor towards the end.

Rounding out the toppings are fresh green negi, thicker bamboo shoots with tougarashi spice, and a flavored egg that’s delicious but not overly creamy.

World’s Richest Sesame Ice Cream for Dessert

They have an excellent white / black sesame ice cream combo for dessert. It’s even available for take out. Choose from the below options:

  1. Triple Rich Black
  2. Triple Rich White
  3. Salted Sesame
  4. Chunky Multigrain

#1 and #2 are absolutely divine! They don’t call them the “World’s Richest Sesame Ice Cream” for nothing. The black is much smoother and creamier in flavor, while the white is more chunky and nutty.

<img src="http://5amramen.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Premium-Wagyu-Ramen-Ice-Cream-2-1-1024×683.jpg" alt="" srcset="http://5amramen.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Premium-Wagyu-Ramen-Ice-Cream-2-1-1024×683.jpg 1024w, http://5amramen.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Premium-Wagyu-Ramen-Ice-Cream-2-1-300×200.jpg …continue reading