Recently, I had the opportunity to ask a large group of foreign women living in Tokyo if they research their health information in English (or their native language), Japanese, or both. It was almost unanimous that they research health tips in English, even if they have a good understanding of Japanese.
I found this to be interesting because Japan has such a different culture around food that it seems tricky to tailor western advice to an Asian lifestyle. Reading an article from someone living in the United States while living in Japan makes me feel like I have to search for uncommon western ingredients like quinoa and kale, scout out a green juice shop that opens before breakfast hours, or figure out a way to bake foods when it’s not that common in Japan to even own an oven.
So, I felt inspired to share with you some differences in the Japanese and Western diet approaches to show you a new perspective and raise your confidence in the Eastern methods.
1. Japanese diet is broad, Western diet is detailed
There was a point in time when we didn’t have diet science to help us explain what was nutritionally sound for our bodies. So in the East (countries like Japan, China, and India), people developed a way of looking at nature for clues on how to stay healthy, and how to rebalance ailments in the body.
The most obvious one would be to eat according to season, because the idea is that the earth offers us exactly what we need to acclimate our bodies to our climate. You’ll notice in a Japanese teishoku (set meals) that while the main setup of the meal is the same throughout the year with some kind of animal or vegetarian protein, vegetables, rice, soup …continue reading
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
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.
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.
Paitan – Rich Chicken Broth
Besides their Instagram worthy blue ramen, they have some other items. On the other side of …continue reading
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
Source: Gaijin Pot
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.
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.
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