Category Archives: FOOD

Tokyo’s 5 Top Spots to Enjoy the Edible Flower Trend

Tokyo's 5 Top Spots to Enjoy the Edible Flower Trend

Nothing lifts your spirits like a bouquet of fresh flowers, but did you know these pretty petals also pack a nutritional punch? You probably already know that certain types of flowers are indeed edible, from lavender and roses and even lesser-known varieties like alyssum and nasturtium. The compounds that give flowers their hue contain polyphenols, which many believe have antioxidant properties. They’ve also been found to contain vitamins A and C as well as minerals like iron and potassium. Now that you’ve got a whole new reason to celebrate the sunny season, head to these floral cafes in Tokyo to enjoy the health and mood benefits of edible petals.

1. Cotito

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A post shared by Yuka Maeyama (@cotito_yuka) on Jul 12, 2019 at 6:56am PDT

Pronounced “kochito”, the name of this cozy flower shop and sweets cafe means watashitachi (us) in old Japanese. Tucked away behind hand-wrought wreaths and exotic cacti is where you’ll find this cafe. Here you’ll find an intimate space for eating in, although most customers get their edible flower fix to-go. That’s because Cotito is best known for its handmade flower cookies called ohana sabure or “flower shortbread”. With real violets, rosebuds, and other floral edibles scattered artfully over the icing, they’re as much a work of art as they are a sweet snack. Cotito has unpredictable holidays so be sure to check their official Instagram or website for closures before you make the trek out to see them.

Open: Daily, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m., check here for holiday schedule announcements
Where: 5-26-18 Nishiogikita, Suginami-ku
Savvy’s Recommendation: Flower Shortbread Cookies

2. Botanist Cafe

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Genka: Jimbocho


This lively sake-izakaya chain offers a selection of 40 different craft sake at surprisingly cheap prices – they start at Y280, and even premium brands like Aramasa start at just Y314 per serving. Sake comes in cute little 100ml bottles that are much easier to share with your group than typical sake-bar DIY tasting flights. You can also take the labels home with you to remember what you drank.

Genka’s somewhat limited food menu plays a supporting role for the sake, although we did discover some noteworthy dishes during recent visits. The gyoza dumplings in soup are a standout, and the smoked duck with yuzu kosho is quite delectable. The assorted cheese platter may not be as fancy as at other places around town, but it offers a nice variety of flavors to go with your drinks.

You’re mainly here for the sake though, and this is where Genka shines. The sake list is organized according to taste profiles, with accompanying diagrams and color-coded charts reminiscent of a science lecture. Of course you can also ask for advice from the staff, or simply try your luck. At these prices and with this selection it’s hard to go wrong.

Mineral water is Y300 for a two-liter bottle, and it’s a smart investment. Budget around Y3000 altogether for ample food and drink. Note that this includes a cover charge (they call it a “member’s fee”) of around Y500 per person, which isn’t unreasonable considering the low prices they charge for sake. …continue reading


Chuka Soba Ranchu: Kingly Niboshi Ramen


In the car-friendly suburb of Honancho, ramen shop Chuka Soba Ranchu reigns supreme. Their five-star niboshi ramen has a big nod from Michelin’s Bib Gourmand Guide.

Kingly Niboshi Ramen

They only have one ramen and they sure make it count. While it’s a shining example of modern niboshi (dried sardine) ramen, it still retains a classic chukasoba taste. This is thanks in part to stellar soy sauce seasoning.

Ask for “Ajitama (Egg) Soba”: ¥900

The deep fish flavors and savory pork bone base make a great partnership. Additionally, there’s a almost a buttery flavor when you enjoy the broth with the thin, straight noodles.

Chuka Soba Ranchu Noodles

Kingly Toppings

The egg is insanely creamy and delicious. But from the toppings, the chashu pork belly is the biggest attention grabber. The edges are roasted and provide the bowl with a smoky aura.

Chuka Soba Ranchu

In conclusion, Chuka Soba Ranchu hits well above its weight. It’s worth the hike from Honancho station!

Shop Hours: Mon – Fri: 12:00 ~ 14:00 / 18:00 ~ 21:00 / Sat: 12:00 ~ 15:00 (closed on Sundays)

The post Chuka Soba Ranchu: Kingly Niboshi Ramen appeared first on 5 AM Ramen.

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WOWBOX Japanese Snacks


Japanese snacks are known the world over for their great taste and huge variety with flavours coming and going depending on the season and the time of the year in Japan. Many people will stock up on Japanese snacks while visiting Japan to take home to enjoy as a souvenir, but now you can also easily order Japanese snacks online at your convenience.

WOWBOX is a Japanese snack subscription service that allows you to order your favourite Japanese snacks direct from Tokyo with just a click of your mouse button.

WOWBOX offer one-of-a-kind themed boxes of exclusive Japanese snacks delivered monthly to your doorstep with FREE worldwide shipping. They have four different themes on offer to suit everyone’s taste with one of the most popular being the ‘New & Limited‘, which as the name suggests, is filled with new and limited time snacks found in Japan. The four themes include:

Fun & Tasty‘ – WOWBOX’s original box designed for all lovers of Japanese snacks or those new to Japanese treats

Kawaii & Beauty‘ – for those who love cute and dainty treats made for the health conscious with beauty-themed products and low-calorie snacks

New & Limited‘ – a great selection of new and limited snacks from Japan for the Japanese snack connoisseur

Dagashi Box‘ – a nostalgic collection of snacks that will remind you of childhood in Japan

You can find more information about all these boxes at the WOWBOX website.

I was recently sent a ‘Fun & Tasty‘ WOWBOX full of tasty goodies to try during Obon in Japan. All the snacks were amazing with some cool and unique snacks that I haven’t even been able to find here in Japan at the supermarket or convenience store.


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Top 10 Vegetarian-Friendly Japanese Foods

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Visiting Japan but worried about finding foods that fit your dietary restrictions? Some of the most popular Japanese dishes also happen to be vegetarian. There are some dishes that have secret fish-based ingredients inside, so we compiled a list of the best foods for both strict and non-strict vegetarians alike! Here are the 10 best vegetarian-friendly Japanese foods. No meat, no problem!

1. Tempura

Tempura (天ぷら) is deep fried seafood or vegetables in batter. Tempura is one of the easiest vegetarian Japanese foods to find when you’re on the hunt for something to eat in Japan. And, most tempura restaurants have a vegetable option on the menu, or you can ask for vegetables only. Popular vegetarian-friendly tempura include nasu (なす, eggplant), kabocha (かぼちゃ, pumpkin), kinoko ( きのこ, mushrooms), satsumaimo (さつまいも, sweet potato), and renkon (れんこん, lotus root).

Tempura can be found in many types of restaurants across the country, where it is commonly served as a main dish, side dish, or as a topping for rice bowls or noodle dishes. It is a very versatile staple in Japanese cuisine!

2. Noodles

Japan has a number of noodle-based dishes. These include varieties of chilled noodles served with a dipping sauce, as well as dishes of hot noodles served in soup. A fish-based dashi broth may be used in the dipping sauces or the soup base, so be sure to ask if vegetarian dashi is available.

Soba (そば) noodles are thin, earthy, buckwheat noodles. Soba noodles are enjoyed by the Japanese both hot and cold. Cold soba noodles, called zarusoba, is a popular food in the summer. Zarusoba is typically served on a bamboo tray along with seaweed, spring onion, wasabi, and a soy sauce dipping sauce – the dipping sauce has dashi in it, so strict vegetarians should avoid it. But if this isn’t a …continue reading