Category Archives: FOOD

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!

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Charbro: Musashi Kosugi


This cozy neighborhood spot serves a great line-up of burgers and sandwiches. The burgers are some of the best in town, with a pleasant infusion of charcoal flavoring from the grill, and they’re served with excellent home-made bacon, crisp thinly cut fries and good cole slaw. There are also plenty of optional toppings such as grilled jalapenos and chili con carne.

In the evenings the menu expands to include a fair number of starters and specials. Our chili con carne with cornbread was meaty and very tasty, and the jalapeno poppers were quite enticing. On the other hand the “guacamole” was quite bland and seemed to consist almost entirely of mashed avocado. BBQ smoked back ribs are also served in the evening, but we’d recommend sticking with the burgers.

Two taps dispense craft beers from Gigantic Brewing in Portland, Oregon, and Be Easy in Aomori, and this seems like an adequate beer selection for a shop this size. You can also choose from several California wines by the glass or bottle. The two-story space is set up with counter seating on the first floor and tables upstairs. The background music tends towards country rock, blues, Steely Dan and Bob Dylan.

Lunchtime burgers start at Y1000 for a regular burger and Y1300 for a Bacon Cheeseburger; coffee or tea is included in the price. Budget around Y3000-4500 for food and drink at dinnertime. Burgers and sandwiches are ready to take out at both lunch and dinnertime. …continue reading


Tastiest canned beer-like beverage

Due to beer being taxed by hops content as well as by alcohol content (or something like that!), there’s a big market for beer-like drinks that are about a third cheaper than the real stuff, so this survey looked at which beer-like drink Japanese found the tastiest.

In at number 6 is one of the first beer-likes, the only one I remember when I first came to Japan, mostly for it’s exceptionally awful taste! It’s basically fermented whatever with forced gassiness and various flavouring to make it – well, the taste is nowhere like beer, but on a dark night and a few sheets to the wind a glass of it might pass for beer.

Some of the Zeros (usually no added sugar, no purine, etc) are actually quite passable if I want to avoid waking up with a dry mouth and dull headache, though.

Of course, if you want real craft beer and real ale, I can recommend Beer Tengoku as two guys dedicated to finding the best brews in Japan.

The top drink, Kinmugi, surely must in part be due to my favourite advert series:

Ranking result

Rank Votes
1 Kinmugi (literally Gold Wheat) 133
2 Kirin Nodogoshi (Draft) 82
3 Hon Kirin 59
4 Kinmugi (Gold Lager) 53
5 Clear Asahi 48
6 Tanrei Gogujo (Draft) 44
7 Tanrei Green Label 40
8 Kinmugi (Sugars 75% Off) 39
9 Sapporo Mugi and Hops 38
10 Nodogoshi STRONG 24
11 Kinmugi Clear Label 21
11 Sapporo Hokkaido Nama Shibori (literally freshly squeezed) 21
13 Sapporo Mugi and Hops (Black) 19
14 Asahi Style Free (Draft) 18
14 Clear Asahi Prime Rich 18
16 Clear Asahi Clear Seven 17
16 Tanrei Platinum Double 17
18 Nodogoshi ZERO 16
19 Clear Asahi Zeitaku (literally luxury) Zero 15
20 Asahi Gokujo (Kire Aji (literally clean taste)) 14
20 Kirin Koi Aji (literally rich taste) (Sugars 0) 14
22 Sapporo White Belg 12
23 Asahi Style Free Perfect 11
23 Asahi Hon Nama Draft 11
25 Asahi Hon Nama Aqua Blue 7
25 Asahi Red Eye 7
25 Asahi Off 7
25 Magnum Dry (Karaguchi (literally dry)) 7
25 Sapporo Goku ZERO 7
30 Seven Premium The Brew 6
30 Seven Premium The Brew Strong Seven 6
32 Sapporo Honkaku Karaguchi 5
32 Grand Gold 5
34 Asahi Aqua Zero 4
35 Seven Premium The Brew Carbohydrate 70% Off 3

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3 Incredible Shops for Classic Kyoto Ramen

Classic Kyoto Ramen - Shinpuku Saikan

These 3 Kyoto ramen shops have much history! Since as early as 1938, they’ve been serving loyal Kyoto customers delicious shoyu ramen.

#1 Shinpuku Saikan

Shinpuku Saikan was there before them all. 1938, to be precise. Their trademark dark shoyu ramen is boldly salty and even a bit bitter. It grabs your attention immediately and doesn’t let go.

Tokudai Ramen (All Toppings): ¥900

The bowl’s relatively thick noodles are a treat and really soak up that broth. If you get all toppings, enjoy thick slices of chashu pork and a wonderful addition of raw egg.

Shop Hours: 9:00 ~ 20:00 (closed on Wednesdays)

For reference, there’s an area in Japan where raw eggs are the signature ramen topping!

#2 Honke Daiichi Asahi

This ramen shop is right next to Shinpuku Saikan. Can you believe it? It must be a cordial relationship, as Honke Daiichi Asahi has been there since 1953.

Classic Kyoto Ramen - Honke
Tokusei Ramen (All Toppings): ¥900

They serve another perfect example of classic Kyoto ramen. The bold, dark soy sauce flavor is there. But the broth overall is somewhat richer than that of their next door neighbor.

Their noodles are also slightly firmer, thinner and rounder. In terms of similarities though, they also give you a mountain of Kyoto negi.

Shop Hours: 6:00 ~ 1:00 (closed on Thursdays)

#3 Masutani

Rounding out the list is Masutani. They’ve been delighting Kyoto locals since 1947 with their even fattier ramen. They get this by employing a generous …continue reading