Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Ramen Ginza Powered By Ramen Gallery Takumen, Singapore

Rish Tonkotsu

Having spent the last five days in Japan, you'd think that ramen would be the last thing on my mind after getting back to Singapore. But last week I remembered seeing that the Takumen folks had set up a stall at Lau Pa Sat featuring a fish tonkotsu ramen, and I was curious. It had a smoky katsuobushi taste, presumably the result of a strong dashi that was blended with tonkotsu. It worked, and considering that it was at a hawker center, it was actually pretty good. It's too bad then that they used those thick yellow noodles though.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Jinroku Anti at Haneda International Airport in Tokyo

Okonomiyaki

After clearing immigration at Haneda, I went to the food court near gate 140. I nearly went to Rokurinsha, especially since they had a shrimp-based broth.

But then I saw the okonomiyaki shop and I was curious, as it seemed to be a chain from the city. It was only after I ordered it did I see the dude take a pre-made one out of a glass case and then throw it on the grill. Had I known that I was not getting one made from scratch, I would have never have ordered it. Sigh.

Note to self: landside at Haneda has a huge number of restaurants and places to buy gifts as well as even slot car racing and samurai classes. Also, try to clear security on the north side as there was no line on that side today...and it's also closer to the food court.

Gyukatsu Motomura in Shibuya, Tokyo

Gyukatsu

This gyukatsu wasn't as good as I'd hoped it would be. That might've been in part due to the picture that they have hanging in the stairway while you stand waiting to get a spot at this nine-seater shop (3-18-10 Shibuya, B1F Ono Bldg, +81-3-3797-3735). The picture featured what looked like some beautifully marbled beef, and I immediately started to think about all that tasty fat. But when it came out the fat was all gooey and didn't really taste like beef. Instead, all I tasted was the breading and maybe one of the seasonings like horseradish sauce. I'm glad that we came here to try it, but I won't wait 45 minutes for it again.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Kushiwakamaru in Naka-Meguro, Tokyo

Kawa

I can't remember how I found out about this smoky yakitori place, but it was on our way home tonight and still open late (1-19-2 Kamimeguro, 03-3715-9292). We popped our heads in and fortunately got seated right away. The cuts of meat were larger than I was expecting, but nonetheless still tasty with a wide variety of available. Highlights included grilled anago with a potent dab of fresh wasabi on top, as well as natto kushiyaki. Yes, it made us wonder how one would put natto on a stick and grill it: it turned out to be chicken breast with natto spread on top. That worked for me.

Kamukura Dining: Soup With Noodles in Tokyo

Oishi ramen with sliced roast pork (small size) and soft-boiled seasoned egg

Here's another place that came up in conversation last night. And they conveniently had an outlet at Ebisu station where we were transiting this afternoon.

The shouyu broth was pretty good, especially with its complex onion-laced depth yet still being clear and crisp. But I was disappointed in the pork, which wasn't fatty enough. I wasn't a fan of the yellow noodles, and the cabbage was a distraction too; it would've been better had they grilled or sautéed it in advance.

There were an array of condiments available, including negi, minced raw garlic, and chili paste, but I still couldn't get it to a point where I liked it. Oh well.

AFURI in Ebisu, Tokyo

Yuzu Shoyu Ramen

Somewhere during the course of conversation tonight, this shop came up. The original store's location (1-1-7 Ebisu, 03-5795-0750) was just a few minutes walk from the bar that we were at, and fortunately they were open until 5 AM. It was thus a no-brainer on where to go next.

They specialized in that yuzu ramen above, and I liked it much better than the one from Oreryu earlier today, as the yuzu taste was much more pronounced here. They didn't just put a few slices of rind on top like a topping; the whole broth had a citrusy taste to it, and I loved it. The aroma from that charcoal grilled slice of pork was a great touch, as were the thicker temomi men noodles that I upgraded to.

I would happily eat here again, although I need to remember to ask for the maroaji option of extra chicken oil rather than the normal tanrei option that I had today. I think I saw a sign for a basil and ume bowl that might be worth a try too.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Teyandei in Nishiazabu, Tokyo

Caesar Salad

This was a cute and cozy little izakaya in a very quiet neighborhood not far from Roppongi (2-2-20-1 Nishiazabu, 03-3407-8127). It's too bad then that I liked the venue more than I liked the food. To be sure, nothing was of bad quality; after all, what's not to like about some juicy grilled fat-attached Iberian pork, or their take on Sichuan kou shui ji using tender (and boneless) Jidori chicken? But I prefer a more traditional approach to food, and that Caesar salad with sliced octopus above wasn't anything that got me excited. Maybe it would've been more fun had we sat downstairs at the counter watching the action in the kitchen.

Yuzu Shio Ramen From Shibuya's Oreryu

Yuzu Shio Ramen

Given that we didn't really have a proper breakfast or lunch today, we went to go get a bite to eat. I was hoping for something soupy, and an outlet of this small local chain was in front of us, serving some kind of yuzu ramen. That crisp clear broth is exactly what I needed; I nearly drank all of the soup before even getting to the rest of the items. Either way, it eventually all went into my belly with ease, especially with some of that spicy black pepper sprinkled on it.

A Gyudon From Tokyo Dome's Concession Stands

Gyudon

I used to be able to say with a relative degree of confidence that I've never had a bad meal in Japan. That changed with that gyudon above. It was gross. The rice was mushy and the beef wasn't very exciting either. Granted, it was at a baseball stadium, but I still would've expected something just a little better.

Menya Akanoren in Roppongi, Tokyo

Ramen

After a night out on the town, I needed some food. My friend pointed to this tonkotsu place (Nishiazabu 3−21-24, 03-3408-4775), saying that it was good and still open during the wee hours of the night. The menu had quite a few items on it, but they recommended the simply named "ramen," and it was exactly that salty rich bowl of soup and carbs that I was looking to shove into my belly before going home.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Roppongi Taira in Tokyo, Japan

Grilled fish

High-end sushi restaurants in Tokyo can be difficult to secure a reservation at unless you do it far in advance. On short notice though, my local friend got us a few seats at this place, and it was fantastic (6-2-35 Roppongi 662 building 8F, +81-3-6406-8501). Everything was of extremely high quality; perhaps the most mind-blowing item we got was a steamed abalone with a liver dip that was deliciously rich and savory. Other highlights included blowfish milt, grilled baby squid, a yuzu gratin, as well as progressive courses of different types of shrimp and tuna. Even the ginger was impressive, as it actually tasted like ginger rather than that sweet pickling juice. The staff was friendly and engaging too. Yes, I liked this place better than Mizutani.

An Outlet of Katsu Midori in Tokyo, Japan

Fish eggs

Sushi was requested for lunch today, so we went to the hotel concierge to ask them for a recommendation, and she suggested this kaiten sushi place. Conveyor belts weren't exactly what we had in mind, but she insisted that this place was good, as this chain was apparently run by another sushi place that presumably is rather high-end.

Anyway, it was indeed of good quality, including some delicious scallops and a seared threadfin or something (that thing above is a cluster of fish roe). And the prices were impressively low too; much cheaper than Ikeikemaru and of much better quality. The only thing I was disappointed in was the tasteless melon, but I suppose I can't expect anything high-end when it was only 300 Yen (US$2.60) a slice.