Category Archives: FOOD

Mensho Tokyo: Korakuen


This trendy ramen and tsukemen shop is outfitted with a “research laboratory” in the back where the chefs experiment with innovative techniques and combinations of ingredients. Some notable results include Mensho’s richly flavored lamb tonkotsu tsukemen and their lamb-based soupless mazemen.

The latter consists of thick noodles sprinkled with scallions, cilantro and strips of nori, sitting atop a heavy, deliciously meaty sludge that you stir up from the bottom of the bowl. The overall seasoning is on the peppery side, and you can add various condiments from the counter to fine-tune the flavors.

In addition to counter seating there are several tables to accommodate groups. The interior is fancier than average, with an attractive dried-fish chandelier hanging from the ceiling. The well-lit laboratory kitchen at the back of the shop, visible through a plate-glass window, adds some personality to the shop’s decor even when the staff aren’t in there fiddling with new recipes. …continue reading


Craft Beer Bars Japan – NEW Opening: Hitachino Brewing Tokyo Distillery: Akihabara


Run by Kiuchi Brewery, the sake brewer behind the popular Hitachino Nest beer brand, this dining bar is devoted to craft spirits, craft beers and premium beef and pork from Ibaraki Prefecture. Drinks options include ten types of craft whisky (priced from Y750), seven craft beers on tap (Y750-880), and gin-based liqueurs flavored with lime, rosemary, toasted yuzu and kelp.

Grilled meats, sausages and charcuterie platters make up the bulk of the meat-centered food menu, with salads and meat-topped pastas providing balance. The decor is typical brewpub dining-bar in style, with giant tanks providing a festive industrial backdrop. Budget around Y3500 at dinnertime for drinks and meat. …continue reading


Michelin Guide Chicken Ramen: Menya Ishin

Michelin Guide Ramen Ishin

Menya Ishin (麺や維新) is praised for its chicken-centric shoyu ramen. This praise includes regular nods from Michelin. On a personal note, they serve one of my favorite bowls in Tokyo.

Michelin Guide Worthy?

Head chef Nagasaki-san had the aim of creating a chicken ramen you couldn’t get anywhere else. The result is a carefully crafted, complex ramen.

Most importantly, it tastes like a slice of heaven. I tend to like this style of shoyu ramen. It’s similar to Chukasoba Uemachi in Osaka or Sato in Sakura Shinmachi.

Shoyu Ramen with Ajitama: ¥890

They blend premium Hinai chicken with Nagoya Kochin chicken. But it doesn’t stop there. The soup is also pork genkotsu, Akadori Satsuma chicken bones, chicken wings and momiji, onions, Hidaka kelp, flying fish and saury niboshi, saury, mackerel, bonito and maguro flakes.

Flavorful from Start to Finish

Despite the long list of ingredients, it doesn’t taste too busy. Deliciously sticky chicken oil clings to the top and at first, the soup’s flavor is sweet.

Peppered chashu pork, chicken breast

But once you dig below, the sweetness dissipates and all the other ingredients come out to play. The soup is assisted by 2 shoyu – one from Gunma, the other from Wakayama.

Michelin Guide Ramen Ishin - Noodles
Soft, slippery noodles soak up the broth …continue reading


5 Food You Have to Try While in Osaka

Osaka Castle

It wouldn’t be wrong to call Osaka the food capital of Japan, and the people take great pride in their local cuisine. There’s a popular saying ‘Osaka no kuidaore’ which literally means people in Osaka have the habit of eating themselves out of house and home. While there are several local specialties in Osaka worth experiencing, we will talk about the 5 food you have to try while in Osaka.

1. Takoyaki

This is the classic Osaka dish made with simple ingredients but scores high in terms of taste. It typically involves a mixture of eggs and flour stuffed with sliced octopus, spring onions, ginger, and tempura crumbs. The dumplings are topped with a sweet sauce and mayonnaise, and sprinkled with nori seaweed and dried bonito flakes. The octopus may be substituted with shrimp, tomato, cheese or chocolate. The dish is prepared in a special pan that has hollow moulds and most homes in Osaka have this special tool for takoyaki parties. While most of the street side stalls in Osaka sell takoyaki, the Dotonbori Konamon Museum is one of the best places to try this delicacy.

2. Kushikatsu

This is another must-try delicacy of Osaka and it mainly comprises of skewered kebabs of seafood, meat, or vegetables that are breaded and deep fried until they achieve a crispy golden finish. They are served with different styles of dipping sauces and flavored salt. Some of the typical ingredients you can expect to find on a kushikatsu menu are pork, beef, shrimp, eggs, sweet potato, pumpkin, onion, asparagus, lotus root, and shiitake mushrooms. Although you can find Kushikatsu in various restaurants around Osaka, it is believed to have originated in the Kushikatsu Daruma restaurant. Today Kushikatsu Daruma has branches in Dotonbori and Shinsekai. Customers …continue reading


Date no Gyutan Honpo: Ikebukuro


Located on the second floor of a Miyagi prefectural antenna shop, this casual cafe-restaurant serves a wide variety of beef tongue dishes, a local specialty. Teishoku-style meals with oxtail soup, grilled tongue, side dishes and rice are priced at well under Y1000 at lunchtime, which conveniently runs until 5pm. Excellent spicy pickled vegetables and leaf-wrapped sweet miso come with the teishoku, and these may well be highlights of a visit to Ikebukuro.

After 5pm the menu expands to a wider variety of dishes – tongue curry, tongue tsukune meatballs, tongue sausage, tongue stew and of course grilled tongue. If you just want a quick meal there are several teishoku options, or alternatively you can enjoy small izakaya-style dishes as you explore the Miyagi sake list.

Budget around Y1000-3000 in the evening, and around Y850 at lunch. Take-away bentos are Y1380. …continue reading