Category Archives: FOOD

Dining Diary - Toritake: Shibuya


Fragrant smoke from Toritake’s charcoal grill has been wafting out onto Shibuya’s back streets since the early 1960s, drawing in generation after generation of yakitori fans. The atmosphere is very old-school izakaya, with compact seating arrangements and Showa-era decor. The non-smoking basement (with tatami seating) is perhaps the one concession to modern times.

Drink options are pretty basic too – beer, shochu cocktails and a few major-brand sakes. It’s all about the grilled chicken here, which is very good, if a tad more expensive than you might expect from the setting. Budget around Y4000-5000 for dinner and drinks. …continue reading


Tokyo Ice Cream Shops: Tasty Towers and Freaky Flavors

Source: Tokyo Cheapo

One of the perks of summer (and tonsil removal) is ice cream. Cold, sweet and ideally with a flake in it, there’s nothing better on a hot day. Hence, you’ll be wanting to make your way to these Tokyo ice cream shops.
Tokyo, as it does with many things, takes ice cream to the next level. While of course you can get your usual 99 with a flake at Maccy D’s, or a soft serve from Family Mart, none of this spark that childhood excitement of a towering cone of brightly colored joy. Now, depending on what pulls your strings, this excitement can come in different forms. It could be from 8 levels of rainbow, precariously balanced and almost impossible to successfully eat, or it could be a flavor so intense you need to sit

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Japanese Superfoods: Yuba

It’s not a secret to anyone who knows me that I came to Japan for one reason and one reason only: tofu. But after some years, my love for it has expanded to soybeans, (which tofu is based on), because these miracle beans are somehow connected to most Japanese delicacies — including the versatile and nutritious tofu skin, known as yuba in Japan.

What Is It?

Yuba is the byproduct of boiled soy-milk. Just like the natural process we have all observed with heated cows milk, as soy-milk boils, a film (yuba) forms on the surface of the milk as the cream and protein rise to the surface. While most people discard the icky skins from cows milk straight-away, the Japanese keep the yuba. They love it mainly due to its nutritional value: high in protein and iron with little cholesterol, and because of its delicate form and easily adaptable natural flavor which has them (and now me) eating it from breakfast to dessert.

Soy milk with thin yuba or tofu film.

There is no place for denying it, yuba is not even slightly attractive if eaten on its own. In fact, its name supposedly comes from the Japanese word uba (old woman) because of its wrinkled-skin-like appearance! But, as weve learnt with other unattractive Japanese favorites (oyster, octopus, bitter melon, squid and the like), it’s essentially the taste that’s important. However, similar to soy-milk, tofu, and okara, yuba does not actually have much flavor. What it does have is versatility. And it’s also a delicacy — in the amount of time one pound of yuba is created, 100 pounds of tofu can be made.

The production process of yuba.

How to eat it?

Yuba …continue reading


Speak Easy – American Style Diner by Shugakuin Station

Source: deep kyoto

Speak Easy is an American style diner up by Shugakuin Station which is famous for its great range of burgers, breakfasts, and Mexican style food. There used to be another branch of this shop in the town center that Mewby and I would regularly frequent back when we lived in that area. I was a big fan of their vegetarian gluten burgers and their crispy onion rings and I was most disappointed when that branch closed down. Sometimes you just get a hankering for quality junk food, and my hankering was thwarted. And Shugakuin is just a little bit out of the way for us these days. However, we recently booked a tour of the Shugakuin Imperial Villa, and naturally decided we would have lunch at the original Speak Easy afterwards. You can imagine how much I was looking forward to my Speak Easy lunch. As we wandered the stately gardens, admiring ponds and tea houses, all I could think of was of my long-awaited reunion with a good-old Speak Easy gluten burger with pickles and fries and ketchup and of course a side order of those fantastic onion rings.

Well established: Speak Easy has been open since 1987.

The diner itself is easy enough to find being within shouting distance of the station, and having the Stars and Stripes hanging up outside is certainly a giveaway. Inside the place is decorated with a clutter of retro Americana, and two TV screens have CNN on permanent broadcast. My attention was on the menu however, and I was happy to see that my old friend the gluten burger was still listed on there, along with cheese burgers, chilli burgers, teriyaki burgers, chicken teriyaki burgers, Kyoto burgers (?), and “special burgers” which come with egg, avocado and bacon. They also have a fine …continue reading