Pastrami and corned beef sandwiches are the specialties of this San Francisco-based Jewish delicatessen. Other delicacies, many of them rarely seen in Tokyo, include rugelach, babka, coconut macaroons and honey cake from the pastry counter, matzo ball soup, chopped liver toast, and challah french toast.
The pastrami and corned beef are particularly good here, and they’re both available on their own (in small 120g packs at Y800) as well as in sandwiches. Our corned-beef Reuben was tasty enough but could have used more sauerkraut, although it did come with some excellent cole slaw.
Bagels are another popular item, especially at breakfast time, and they come in several variations, with or without a shmear of cream cheese. Cold brew iced coffee and cold crema iced coffee are among the coffee options, and they serve several beers from San Francisco’s Anchor Brewery – a rather tame selection compared to the craft beers popping up elsewhere around town. Note that the dining room doesn’t open until 11am; before that it’s take-out service only. …continue reading
This tiny neighborhood sake bar has a small but well-chosen sake list, a limited menu of sake-focused snacks, friendly service and fairly tight seating. There’s also a standing bar at the front of the shop that’s convenient if you just want a quick drink on the way to somewhere else.
The sake selection covers some familiar names, so you won’t feel overwhelmed when you first sit down, and some lesser-known labels, so you’ll have new flavors to discover as you explore. There’s a detailed English-language flavor-profile chart from which you can make informed selections, or at least use as a starting point when asking for recommendations.
Prosciutto and various other hams are a centerpiece of the food menu, which helpfully identifies a number of sakes that go well with cured meats. In addition to ham, the menu offers light snacks like cheese toast, anchovy toast, miso-pickled cream cheese, smoked oysters, duck tataki, and tempura-fried shrimp kakiage. The potato salad, livened up with crunchy pickles, is worth a try, and a nice match for the ham.
Sake is served in 90ml glasses, so you can try a few different types while you’re here. Given the limited food menu and the cozy seating, Otonari may be best suited as a starting point for a bar-hopping tour of the neighborhood. …continue reading
The port city of Kobe is lesser known than the nearby Osaka or Kyoto. But Kobe has plenty to offer – it happens to be home to one of Japan’s biggest Chinatowns. Kobe Chinatown, locally “Nankin-machi”, is jam-packed with restaurants and street stalls selling mouthwatering Chinese food.
In Kobe Chinatown, here are some must eats!
Fried Dumpling University
If you’re craving quality gyoza (fried dumplings), go to Gyoza Daigaku, which literally means Gyoza University.
They’re that confident in their gyoza. Prepare to be thoroughly educated.
Their gyoza are cooked to perfection. The soft side of the gyoza beautifully contrasts with the crispy side while the ground pork and nira make them delightfully juicy on the inside.
1 person’s portion includes 7 gyoza. But if you’re just 1 person, you’ve got to order for at least 2 people (14 gyoza).
It’s simple and efficient when you arrive. The worker will ask how many there are in your party, how many gyoza you want, and whether you want garlic (ninniku) or not.
Ramen shop Sapporo Kamui in Ebisu, Tokyo offers superb miso ramen and miso tsukemen. They’re both prepared in the heavy-hitting Sapporo style that’s both appetizing and somewhat unique.
Like something out of Studio Ghibli
A Local Experience
Note that you’ll get to indulge in a local, quaint experience at Sapporo Kamui. The cave-like ramen shop has only counter seats and rarely has non-Japanese. I’ve also never seen any English menu (Japanese vending machine). But this all adds to the charm.
Sapporo-Style Miso Ramen
Their miso ramen or tsukemen broth is made primarily from pork bone and miso. What makes the broth somewhat unique is the thick layer of oil at the very top. This is common to Sapporo style miso ramen.
Sapporo city in Hokkaido prefecture can get as cold as -15 C in the winter. This layer of oil helps preserve the hot temperature of the broth below. It’s more of a novelty in warmer Tokyo but it’s still fun to experience. Just make sure you’re cooling down your broth before sipping it.
If you want to upgrade your Miso Ramen, you can add an egg, butter and corn, seaweed, egg, or extra pork. For some visitors I’ve taken here, butter and corn have proved popular. The butter adds a nice richness and the corn, a sweetness.
Orange Miso Tsukemen?
First of all, it’s quite unusual to find tsukemen like this, let alone miso tsukemen. It’s thick and rich and almost orange in color. …continue reading
While granola is one of the most recommended options for a healthy breakfast, many of the products we see in the supermarket contain loads of hidden sugar and preservatives. This week’s recipe shows you how to make your own granola with very simple and safe ingredients. Whether eating it at home or packing it for the office, I guarantee that this recipe will become your favorite on-the-go breakfast choice! Enjoy!
© Photo by Fiona Uyema