Category Archives: FOOD

Dining Diary – Karaage no Tensai: Sangenjaya


The scrumptious fried chicken at Karaage no Tensai comes in three color-coded varieties – red (spicy chili), white (shio-koji) and black (flavored with a “secret” dark soy sauce). The large chicken pieces are all thigh meat and are freshly prepared, with very juicy meat inside a crunchy outer layer that’s refreshingly ungreasy.

The black variety seems to have a slightly more intense flavor than the others, but both black and white karaage are well balanced. The “red” chicken comes covered in red pepper flakes and a sweet sauce, and is best appreciated if you’re in the mood for something very spicy.

The shop’s potato-salad side dish is relatively orthodox, though with more bite, and more mayonnaise, than a typical potato salad. Tamagoyaki (baked egg omelet) is the other specialty of the kitchen here, and it’s also fairly traditional.

If you’re dining at the four-seat counter (rather than getting take-out), you can order whiskey-soda cocktails or beer to go with your chicken. Chicken is priced at just Y99 a piece, here or to go, and teishoku meals are Y529. …continue reading


Craft Beer Bars Japan – Karakuri: Kanda


Kakakuri is one of the rare drinking spots in Tokyo where you can find first-rate selections of both craft beer and craft sake. Despite the row of beer taps behind the counter, it feels more like a cozy neighborhood izakaya than a beer bar, and the menu of oden, tempura and sake-compatible delicacies reflects that.

You can choose from seven beers on tap, a mix of domestic and imported craft brews, and there are at least ten types of sake at any given time. Three-part tasting flights can be assembled from beer, sake, or a combination of beer and sake, another unusual feature here. They also serve a few kombucha variations, which can be part of your tasting flight as well.

Kakakuri’s oden is immersed in a very flavorful broth, and is well above average in quality. Some highlights are the whole tomato with cheese and cilantro, and the big, juicy daikon radishes and turnips. Among sake snacks, the thick, meaty eihire (toasted ray fin) really stands out, and the corn tempura is very tasty, though it can be structurally fragile.

Domestic beers on tap from breweries like Outsider, Distant Shores and Uchu Brewing are typically priced at Y1200-1300 for a pint and Y900-1000 for a 310ml glass, with imports a few hundred yen more. Sake starts at Y1080/ichigo (180ml), or Y600 per 90ml glass.

In addition to draft beers you can splurge on deluxe bottled beers from Stillwater Artisanal, Separatist Beer Project and Kings Brewing in the US, BFM in Switzerland and a few other breweries. There’s also a selection of shochu, whiskey, wine and cocktails. Budget around Y3500-4500 for food and drink at dinnertime. …continue reading


Top 5 Tips on Making Sushi at Home

Top 5 Tips on Making Sushi at Home

If you are a great fan of sushi and crave for this Japanese delicacy any time of the day, even in your dreams then trust us you are not alone. There are many who eat, sleep, and dream sushi but dining out at the finest sushi restaurants even once a week can be financially draining. Plus, if you have a dietary restriction such as sensitivity to gluten or you are strictly vegan, it can be difficult to find a restaurant that accommodates your needs. Even if they do, there can be a fair risk of contamination.

To satisfy your cravings and save your wallet too, we suggest that you learn to make sushi at home. You will just need a few basic ingredients to get started and trust me, it’s not as hard as you think. The ingredients can be sourced from any Asian grocery store and most of them have a good shelf life. The sushi rolls may not turn out restaurant-like on the first attempt, but you will love the fruits of your labor. Here are our top 5 tips to help you in this endeavor.

5 Tips on Making Sushi at Home

1. Cook the Sushi Rice Perfectly

Sushi rice is one of the most important ingredients that lends a body and texture to the dish so don’t ignore it. Always buy the shinmai variety (new crop) short-grain Japanese rice to get the perfect restaurant like flavor and taste. Avoid using medium or long-grain rice as they will not yield the same results. After you have cooked rice, let it cool down a bit before you season it with vinegar, sugar, and salt.

Photo by: James

2. Always Use Sushi-grade Fish

When using raw fish for sushi, always buy sushi-grade fish that has …continue reading


Michelin Miso Ramen – Ichifuku in Hatsudai

Michelin Miso Ramen Ichifuku

For Michelin Miso Ramen, Ichifuku (らぁめん 一福) in Hatsudai is the answer. Close to Shinjuku, Ichifuku was first celebrated in the Michelin Bib Gourmand Guide in 2017.

Simple, Light Michelin Miso Ramen

Ichifuku’s white miso ramen is relatively light. There’s a lot less pork lard and it’s not nearly as thick as your standard miso ramen.

Ichifuku has been going strong for more than 20 years. Therefore their miso ramen doesn’t include any modern touches, like the Junsumi style (Sumire and Junren). In other words, there’s an old-school simplicity to it.

Michelin Miso Ramen Ichifuku - Noodles

Toppings include firmer chashu pork, diced white negi, a sheet of seaweed, and crunchy croutons.

Spicy Miso Ramen

If spicy is your cup of tea, Ichifuku has a spicy miso ramen as well. Its dark red broth looks spicier than it actually is.

In this one, the miso flavor fades into the background, with the chili oil politely brushing your throat. The spicy miso paste in the center of the bowl also adds to the heat.

Overall Thoughts

For me, Ichifuku ticks the nostalgia box and with a bit more refinement. I personally prefer a heavier, punchier miso ramen. But this bowl gets the job done if you’re in the mood for something light.

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An Elegant Ramen Shack – Nara Seimen


Nara Seimen (楢製麺) is a new ramen kid on the block. But they’ve quickly made an elegant splash. You’d expect nothing less from the creators of Udon Shin.

Dining Elegance

Nara Seimen has an unassuming exterior. But when you enter, you’ll feel a rush of classiness.

I used the word “shack” because of the low ceiling, the sparse number of seats, and the overall snug environment. But their shack is an elegant one, complete with elegant menus.

Biggest Ramen Takenoko I’ve seen

Choose from shoyu or shio. The shoyu is softly flavored, with just enough chicken bone goodness glistening on top. The chicken bones come from Yamanashi and Tottori prefectures. No chemical seasoning here.

Nara Seimen - Ramen
Shoyu Ramen with All Toppings: ¥1,380

Ordering all toppings is on the pricier side (¥1,380) – but such is the cost of elegance. Cripsy white negi and silky egg are from Tochigi. It’s a triple treat for the chashu – low-temp cooked, broiled chicken from Yamanashi, pork jowl from Hokkaido, and pork shoulder from Miyazaki.

Nara Seimen - Noodles

But the topping that physically stands out is the gigantic bamboo shoot (takenoko). It’s crunchy, earthy, and so pure in taste.

The ramen noodles are made on-site and with three types of Hokkaido wheat. Just like in udon, these noodles don’t contain kansui. It’s a deliberate choice – …continue reading