Category Archives: FOOD

Dining Diary - Bak Kut Teh: Azabu-Juban


Bak kut teh (literally “pork bone tea”) is a popular Singaporean dish made by simmering pork ribs in a broth flavored with fragrant peppercorns, garlic chunks and Chinese medicinal herbs. It’s the tasty specialty of the house here at this cheerful basement dining spot, where they also serve soup curry and a number of other budget-friendly Singaporean dishes.

A bowl of ribs in broth costs Y980 and comes in either boneless or boned versions, with rice, noodles or fried bread on the side. Take-out service is also available, for an extra Y200. …continue reading


Craft Beer Bars Japan - Oerbier Man: Akihabara


The Delirium Cafe chain of Belgian beer bars imports their own beers, and this central-Akihabara branch showcases brews from De Dolle Brouwers in Essen, Belgium. There are ten beers on tap as well as a huge assortment of bottled beers from all over Belgium.

The food menu features Belgian standards like frites and mussels as well as nicely prepared premium grilled meats such as Tokyo X pork with red cabbage. Comfortable outdoor terrace seating is an added bonus when the weather is nice. …continue reading


EVENT: Cheese Drawing and Cute Sandwich Tutorial at Kaimuki Public Library

If you live in the Honolulu area, I’ll be doing an event this coming Sunday at the Kaimuki Public Library from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.

The demo itself will be pretty quick. I’ll show people the basics on how to cut out and make characters with cheese, then apply nori. After that, it’ll mostly be a hands-on, have-tons-of-fun session where you get to make your own!

I believe the event will be in the downstairs meeting room, but I’ve never been down there, so if you’re not sure either, it’s best to head to the front desk first and ask for directions. Hope to see you there!

After the event, I’ll have some books on hand (both Yum-Yum Bento and Yum-Yum Bento All Year Round) that participants can purchase and get signed.

Hope to see you there!

…continue reading


Omori Nori Museum: Ota-ku


From the early 1700s up until 1962, when the Port of Tokyo began major redevelopment work, the shoreline in this area was the source of some of Japan’s finest nori. There are still a number of nori wholesalers located here, and this is also the home of the Omori Nori Museum, probably the only museum in the world devoted entirely to this tasty seaweed product.

Nori was originally cultivated on bamboo sticks that were placed in the shallow waters of Tokyo Bay, although these were later replaced by nets. The complicated, though low-tech, route from cultivated seaweed out in the bay to finished, dried sheets of nori ready for the sushi counter is the subject of this very specialized history and folk culture museum.

The last existing boat that was used for nori harvesting is on display on the first floor here, as is a reconstruction of a small shed that was used as a nori-processing workplace. Upstairs on the second floor is the heart of the collection – the baskets, nets, knives, bamboo-mat rollers and other tools and equipment used for harvesting and manufacturing nori, many of them designated as National Important Properties of Folk Culture by the Japanese government.

Short videos (in Japanese) on both floors illustrate nori production, and there are interactive games designed for younger children (also in Japanese). Almost all signage is in Japanese only, but there’s an English-language pamphlet and another handout that explain various nori-making steps and introduce the exhibits. The museum also hosts occasional workshops in nori-making; check their website for details. …continue reading


Award-Winning, Refined Dumpling Ramen: Yakumo


Yakumo is one of the most renowned ramen shops in Tokyo, for good reason. Their contemporary dumpling ramen will make you dance and sing.

The Sacred Ramen Catwalk

Contemporary Dumpling Ramen

Wontonmen (dumpling ramen) is normally a modest affair. Not for Yakumo – they elegantly kick it up a notch.

4 Dumpling (Black Shoyu) Ramen: ¥1,000

Choose to have either 4 or 6 of their succulent shrimp and pork dumplings (“Half” or “Full” size). Magnificent dumplings.

The Ramen Broth

Choose from 2 broth seasonings – white or black shoyu. They’re best known for the white, as pictured below.

No Dumpling Ramen (White Shoyu): ¥800

The “white” is like a delicate shio seasoning, with a rich collagen aftertaste and hint of fish. I tried it without dumplings, to better focus on just the broth.

But both broths are excellent. “Black” has more of that typically tangy soy sauce quality.

Noodles, Other Toppings

Their slippery, chic noodles really soak up the broth.

With dumplings so good, it’s hard to even think about other toppings. But their bottom …continue reading