Category Archives: FOOD

Craft Beer Bars Japan - Watering Hole: Yoyogi


One of Tokyo’s pioneering craft-beer specialty bars, Watering Hole has built up a loyal following with their well-curated tap list and their convivial atmosphere. The four-glass tasting flights (Y1000; served 3-6pm on weekdays) are one of our favorite features here, and a good way to explore the offerings before commiting yourself to a pint. Beers are mostly US and European imports, with some domestic craft beers as well.

The twenty taps here dispense a number of craft ciders (five during our most recent visit) as well as beers, so you can opt for an all-cider tasting flight or a mix of ciders and beers. Prices for pints are about average for Tokyo craft beers, but note that half-pints are somewhat more than half the price of a pint.

The bar area is attractive, although table seating can be tight when the shop is busy. The food menu offers simple but tasty items like fish and chips (made with Norway salmon), buttermilk fried chicken and gyoza dumplings. …continue reading


Bright Blue Ramen at Kipposhi

Bright Blue Ramen Broth at Kipposhi 1

Ramen shop Kipposhi serves a bright blue ramen. The ramen broth is literally the color of the ocean. Without using any food coloring, Kipposhi has crafted both a visually stunning and appetizing bowl of blue ramen.

Chicken ramen specialists, Kipposhi has been operating since 2016 near Tokyo Sky Tree.

Blue Ramen – Clear Chicken Broth

What makes their ramen blue is kept a secret. But again, it’s apparently a natural blue, with no chemicals.

Clear Chicken Soup “Blue”: ¥900 (¥1,100 for extra chicken)

In terms of prep and taste, it’s a clear broth chicken ramen. The chicken flavor is what stands out the most, almost like a light chicken soup. There’s little hint of soy sauce or other dashi elements. According to their menu explanation, the cook time for this broth is relatively short.

The thin, round noodles are surrounded by white onions, kawaire, and tender slices of chicken delicately placed on top of the broth. The chicken are tender to the point you feel like you’re eating Singaporean chicken rice.

Bright Blue Ramen Broth at Kipposhi 3

Somewhere, beyond the sea

Bright Blue Ramen Broth at Kipposhi 4

11 seats

Paitan – Rich Chicken Broth

Besides their Instagram worthy blue ramen, they have some other items. On the other side of …continue reading


Torizo: Nishi-Shinjuku


The specialty of the house at this unpretentious little izakaya is Tamba-jidori, a tasty heirloom-breed chicken from north of Kobe, and it’s served here in several styles – charcoal-grilled, deep-fried, and raw or lightly seared as chicken sashimi. You’ll also find some unusual and creative side dishes, and a small but well-chosen list of seasonal craft sake.

The excellent charcoal-grilled chicken is served in small chunk-size pieces on a platter (rather than on skewers), with your choice of thigh meat, neck meat, chicken skin or giblets. Yuzu-kosho, spicy miso, and not-so-spicy miso come on the side. Other chicken options include deep-fried chicken tail and chicken neck, chicken thighs grilled with garlic, chicken stir-fried with bean sprouts, and fried chicken wings. One of the more quirky options is “stick tsukune” – crunchy cylinder-shaped chicken meatballs served with a spicy mayonnaise dressing.

The kitchen also gets high marks for the simple but well-executed side dishes such as their deep-fried lotus-root chips and the pleasantly crunchy, rather garlicky pickled cucumbers. Sweet-potato ice cream and chocolate fondant are among the dessert options, and drinks include fresh-squeezed yuzu cocktails and soft drinks along with a few seasonal sake and shochu.

Although it’s technically part of an Osaka-based chain, this branch offers a number of their own special dishes. You can place your orders on a tablet menu, and there’s a separate English-language paper menu if you need one. Although it’s only a few minutes from the west exit of Shinjuku station, the shop is hidden away on a side street just behind Halc Department store. Budget around Y2500-4000 for food and drink; they also have a reasonably priced lunch service. …continue reading


Vegan in Japan: 3 Veg-Friendly Eateries in Kobe

Source: Gaijin Pot
Vegan in Japan: 3 Veg-Friendly Eateries in Kobe

So far in this series helping plant-based travelers navigate their way around Japan, we’ve looked at vegan-friendly restaurants in Okinawa, Fukuoka and Hiroshima City. This time it’s Kobe’s turn — and I’ve got three amazing restaurants lined up that all vegetarian and/or vegan visitors to this lively city simply have to check out.

1. Thallo

Photo by Ashley Owen

Thallo doria lunch plate.

Thallo is a peaceful and welcoming café a short walk from the center of town. At the time of writing, it appears to be the only 100 percent vegan café in Kobe. As well as not using any animal products, Thallo is gluten-free and uses no chemical additives in its food. The restaurant also specifies that they never use microwaves to prepare their food.

The comfortable seating and friendly staff will make you feel at home here instantly. They offer a delicious range of lunch plates, including doria (pilaf topped with bechamel or other “cheese”-based sauce, then oven baked), quiche and omuraisu (omelette with a filling of seasoned fried rice), all served with a couple of side dishes. Everything is beautifully presented and it’s clear that the chefs put a lot of thought into their meals.

As well as not using any animal products, Thallo is gluten-free and uses no chemical additives in its food.

I went for the doria (pictured) and it was piping hot, with a generous amount of sauce and a selection of vegetables. Vegan cheese can often be a bit hit-and-miss, particularly when melted, but Thallo managed to get the taste and texture absolutely spot-on. Thallo has a great selection of hot and cold drinks to choose from, including a soy hojicha (roasted green tea) latté — it’s the first place I’ve seen that offers a vegan version of this — as well as alcoholic drinks. …continue reading


Types of Chocolates You Want to Know for Valentine’s Day in Japan

“If we spoke a different language, we would perceive a somewhat different world.” ‒ Ludwig Wittgenstein

Picture from Pixabay

Valentine’s Day is coming up soon! Are you excited? Do you already have a special gift picked for your loved ones? After living in U.S. for a while, I noticed that the way people celebrate Valentine’s Day here is totally different from the way I experienced in Japan. Some of you might already know how the Japanese celebrate Valentine’s Day each year, but I thought I would introduce you to some cultural aspect of the way Japanese celebrate in Japan today.

Valentine’s Day is celebrated on February 14th in Japan as well. There are many different stories how the Valentine’s Day was first celebrated in Japan, but most of the stories will basically start with a company starting to sell chocolates by promoting them as gifts for women to give men on Valentine’s Day. Historically, there was only one kind of chocolate that women would buy or prepare as a Valentine’s gift just for someone she really loved. It could be a boyfriend or husband, but also a someone to whom she wants to express her love.

Valentine’s Day event is also popular among school children. Popular school-age boys come home with many chocolates on Valentine’s Day in Japan.

Here are the different type of chocolates that we address on the Valentine’s Day in Japan. I have to tell you, the list is growing every year. I am sure the list will keep growing as people come up with all types of ways to give chocolates on Valentine’s Day each year.

Honmei Choco (本命 チョコ、ほんめい ちょこ) – true love chocolate

This is a traditional chocolate given from women to men on Valentine’s Day in Japan.

Giri Choco (義理 チョコ、 ぎり ちょこ) – fake love chocolate

Giri chocolates are casually given …continue reading