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Eldarion's Profile

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Is it weird to do this?

double post.. oops..

May 27, 2008
Eldarion in Japan

Is it weird to do this?

Alritey I know I've been a bit thick in the head there. My apologies for being so annoyingly persistent about this, but all the same thanks for everyone who chimed in!

May 27, 2008
Eldarion in Japan

Is it weird to do this?

Yes I can understand that. Does it help to say that the sushi is delicious? I can see how if I don't say anything after eating two pieces in a sushi shop and leave, it would be implying that the food wasn't to my standards.

I'm wishing there was something I could say, to explain my intentions that I'm not there to insult him but someone there seeking to educate my palate about sushi, with the upmost respect. I'm not ordering other pieces simply because I'm a newly graduated student who cannot justify spending for a whole course at this point, but I'm keenly interested in this nonetheless. However I'm afraid to even make that request would probably involve a whole a long memorised script/letter in Japanese LOL...

All the same I think I would very likely have to give up on this thought and settle for lunch at Kyubei, since it does seem really irregular and insulting if I don't do things correctly which is a bit complicated for a non Japanese speaker.

May 27, 2008
Eldarion in Japan

Is it weird to do this?

Yep it has to do with the marination because the timing and the amount of seasoning has to be controlled accordingly to the size and season of kohada. I think it also lets him test out the shari, because the tamago was served without.

May 27, 2008
Eldarion in Japan

Is it weird to do this?

The late Jiro Ono was also famous for his shop's tamagoyaki. I saw a tv show where the tamagoyaki is one of the two sushi pieces he would test when visiting his disciple's shop (the other being kohada). As such it has added significance to me if I have the opportunity to try Sushi Mizutani's tamagoyaki, since the lineage is also from the legendary Jiro-san.

May 27, 2008
Eldarion in Japan

Is it weird to do this?

Hmm I suppose my interest in tamagoyaki is because it is traditionally a yardstick by which sushi restaurants are judged by. And yet there seem to be a variety of styles by which it is prepared in sushi shops, and it is this diversity of tamagoyaki intrigues me. I'd also love to be educated on what a superb tamagoyaki is like, and was thinking my trip to Tokyo would be useful for that. As for anago it just happens to be my favourite sushi and from what I know the sauce used for anago in each shop is made with their own unique recipe, often having been blended with previous batches of sauces made over the years.
While the ability to get the best seafood in the world is amazing, I think I would be at least as interested in learning something about the character of a good sushi shop through tasting dishes/components that require "preparation" such as anago, tamagoyaki, kohada etc. I would also love to educate myself on the fundamentals of sushi, such as how superbly formed and cooked shari tastes like. These things are common denominators among all sushi shops and hopefully by tasting the best shop in the world it will help me learn about how the standard of a sushi shop can be compared. (apart from their ability to access the bestest seafood from the bestest of prefectures)

May 26, 2008
Eldarion in Japan

Kurumi (Walnut) Soba in Tokyo, Kyoto or Osaka?

Cool, I see the shop began originally in Nagano. Thats sounds good. It opens till really late too. How much advance reservation do you recommend should be made?

Thanks for the heads up!

May 26, 2008
Eldarion in Japan

Is it weird to do this?

Ah okay. I didn't figure that going to order two pieces can be construed as treating the sushi master like a convenience store. Thanks for the elaboration.

May 26, 2008
Eldarion in Japan

Kurumi (Walnut) Soba in Tokyo, Kyoto or Osaka?

Hi guys,
I was wondering if there are any kurumi soba (soba with walnut dipping sauce) recommendations to be had, within the Tokyo or Kyoto / Osaka region?
Thanks!

May 24, 2008
Eldarion in Japan

Is it weird to do this?

Hmm there must be some socio-cultural thing I'm missing out here because I still don't get how it would be disrespectful and insulting to chef when ordering a single dish in a high-end restaurant. I can agree with as much as it would be weird to do that, but assuming 1) they do accept walk ins, 2) they do serve food a-la-carte, wouldn't it be perfectly within the bounds of ettiquette to proceed with what you want? Or is this something specific to Japanese culture, sushi shops, or 3 starred Michelin restaurants? Can someone enlighten me?

May 24, 2008
Eldarion in Japan

Is it weird to do this?

LOL... wow I didn't figure it to be that severe..
I'm curious though, why would it be highly disrespectful and insulting?

May 24, 2008
Eldarion in Japan

Is it weird to do this?

I'm toying with the idea of going into Sushi Mizutani just so I can try two pieces of their sushi: their tamagoyaki and anago. It would have to be an a-la-carte order as I don't think I can justify the expenditure of a full meal course there. Thus the best I can do for now is for me to go there just so I can educate my palate on what a supremely good tamagoyaki is like, and what a supremely good anago (my favourite nigirizushi) is like.

Is it weird to do this, will I get refused or sneered at? Is there anything I can say so I can make clear my intentions of just being there to eat two items? (I don't speak Japanese apart from a few useful phrases I memorise) I was thinking to go in approaching to lunch closing time so I don't have to make a reservation just for it.

Thanks again..

May 24, 2008
Eldarion in Japan

Eating Japanese without Speaking Japanese?

Some food places I have planned on my itinery for my upcoming Japan trip are those which I have learned of from tabelog.com, such as Kawazakanaryori hayakou (unagi), Tempura Iwa-i, and Tokudawara (Izakaya). Problem is, I don't speak Japanese and these places seem to be more popular amongst Japanese natives than your average non-foody tourist. Would this be very much of a problem?

I have thus far learnt my hiragana and katakana so I should be able to read off a simple menu, and will learn basic restaurant phrases for getting the menu / bill / lunch set etc. I can also speak Mandarin, so I should be able to communicate to a waitress if she is Chinese. Will this be enough for me to survive in such places?

Thanks!

May 21, 2008
Eldarion in Japan

Best Places for Fugu during May?

Interesting.. do you know what happens to the Fugu-ya after March then?

May 13, 2008
Eldarion in Japan

Best sushi lunch for around 5000Y?

Yeah I saw Sushi Dai's rating on tabelog.com, they even scored better than Kyubei and Jiro. Dai will be on my list of places to check out for sure because this high rating really intrigues me. All the same, I think its great that they serve the set meal by individual pieces.

May 12, 2008
Eldarion in Japan

Best sushi lunch for around 5000Y?

Yeah I'm likely headed to Midori as well as the whole touristy sushi for breakfast at Tsukiji thing. At the same time I'm looking for something with a bit more finesse than those though, but thanks for recommending all the same!

May 11, 2008
Eldarion in Japan

Best sushi lunch for around 5000Y?

By the way, does lunch at Kyubei Ginza require reservations? Thanks!

May 11, 2008
Eldarion in Japan

Visiting tokyo

Hey Fourseasons, really I'm surprised to find someone from Singapore who has tried all those great sushi places. I'm a sushi fanatic in Singapore and am considering one out of the places you list, for lunch at my trip to Tokyo this June. I'm not sure what is the best for me though. Kyubei has been recommended and their lunch set is affordable, but I heard from Tabelog that their standard has not been maintained. Mizutani would be great but I might have to abandon my travelling buddies in order to eat there, as they likely would not see the value of it, not being as crazy about sushi as I am. That wouldn't be ideal. Sushi Kanesaka sounds like a possible candidate. Do you mind if I ask how much the meal at Sushi Kanesaka cost you, and if the chef served each piece individually (if you ate lunch there)?

May 06, 2008
Eldarion in Japan

Best of Singapore

Hi there, I just came across your query and hopefully its too not late, but I would suggest that if you were here only for three days you shouldn't aim for any of the European/Western fine dining establishments here at all. In that respect I don't think Singapore can compare with the best fine dining restaurants of NYC as yet. What you should be going for in that short period of time is definitely the hawker / local food places instead, it would definitely be something different from food in the US and provide you with a more localised cullinary experience. With sufficient planning, three days would be comfortable for you to sample the cross section of local cuisine. There isn't a single top hawker out of all hawkers because there is quite a bit of variety in terms of local food here and it isn't possible to compare apples with oranges. However, if you have the time to you could do a quick readup on the various kinds of foods you can get a feeling of which establishments are highly regarded by the local foodies. Sites like the forum at www.makansutra.com and http://ieatishootipost.sg/ are also useful starting grounds for research and both sites have a list of places they think are hawker food "must tries".

I don't really browse the SEAsia/Singapore section of this forum so I'm not sure what has been recommended. But off my head, some places you would have to go would be Maxwell Food Center for lunch where you get that really famous chicken rice stall Bourdain ate at (Tian Tian Chicken Rice). There is also a really good salted dough fritter stall (hum jin beng) which is run by a single person who prepares the dough - the customers actually help fry the fritters. Lots of other good eats there in Maxwell as you might be able to see from ieat's blog and makansutra's forum, but do go in the daytime (around 1, or 2 if you want to avoid the office lunch hour crowd) as more stalls would be open then. The Geylang Serai area would be good for Malay food (Hamid's Briyani at the Geylang Serai food center is good, as is Warong Sudi Mampir at Haig Road food center for their beef and mutton satay). From thereon you could head down to Katong for laksa, as well as eggskin popiah at Glory which is my favourite place for that dish. Theres more of course but its a long list. I'm not very fond of chilli crab and black pepper crab but being a tourist I think you should do the touristy thing and try it anyhow.

Since you are disposed to spending more on food, other things you might like to consider are the Asian cuisines such as Japanese cuisine, Cantonese dim sum, Northern Indian food etc in good restaurants. I'm not sure how good/authentic the Asian places at your locality are like, but depending on how well travelled/exposed you are, coming to Singapore might be a decent opportunity to sample a range of foods from various Asian countries.

Best sushi lunch for around 5000Y?

Yep I originally considered Kyubei, because it seems like they would have a good tamagoyaki plus they have a pretty good reputation. There is also considerable hype with Kyubei (gunkanmaki, Bill Clinton, etc) and the fact that they were once considered neck to neck with Jiro, all of which might go down well with my sushi neophyte buddies. However I have also heard that their lunch sets are a far cry from their true quality in dinnertime. Tabelog users seem to be indicating that the overall standard is not what it once was. This is making me hesitate a little about Kyubei..

Does anyone have any comments about other places like Otsuka Takase or Shinbashi Tsuruhachi? Both these places are ranked better than Kyubei on Tabelog (but heck so is Sushi Dai). Otsuka Takase seems to be doing fairly well, hitting no.3 in the rankings once, while Shinbashi Tsuruhachi was much raved about on a Japanese TV Springtime Sushi feature. The master is supposedly quite an old school Edomaezushi fellow.

Apr 29, 2008
Eldarion in Japan

Tokyo and Kyoto Restaurant REVIEWS Summary: My Spring Japan Trip

I would be going to the same regions in Japan for about the same amount of time as well, so your blog has been whetting my appetite for what is to come. Thanks for your detailed reports!

Apr 27, 2008
Eldarion in Japan

Best sushi lunch for around 5000Y?

It looks like I would be able to squeeze in good quality sushi restaurant for lunch during my upcoming Tokyo trip. With a budget of around 5000Y for that meal, it means that it would likely have to be a lunch set thing. Does anyone have any recommendations for the best sushi lunch one can get for that price?

I'm not sure what is possible at the price, but I would ideally be looking for finesse in execution of sushi - impecable fundamentals such as rice preparation, fish seasoning (if applicable), good knifework and a killer tamagoyaki. Also, it would be good (but not compulsory) if reservations are not required so my choices and schedule can be a bit more flexible.

Thanks!

Apr 22, 2008
Eldarion in Japan

Food List for travel to Tokyo and Kansai region

Yeah I saw that youtube of Daikokuya too, it doesn't look like delicate stuff that is for sure. I would have put it off the list if not for a Tokyoite friend of mine recommending it. Thank you for the recommendation of Henri Le Roux!

Apr 22, 2008
Eldarion in Japan

Food List for travel to Tokyo and Kansai region

Hi there,
I'll be travelling with a group of friends, in Tokyo for 7 days. Our plan is to be based in Asakusa. Then I'll be headed to the Kansai region for about 4 days, mostly based in Kyoto, though not sure where I should be staying. Any recommendations for a budget traveller? I am well acquainted with Japanese cuisine and there is very little I won't eat - maybe except basashi. The Y3000 figure is without drinks.
Thanks!

Apr 22, 2008
Eldarion in Japan

Food List for travel to Tokyo and Kansai region

Hi guys,

I'm headed for Tokyo and the Kansai region for a holiday in June, and am compiling a food list from recommendations online. My budget is moderate, I'm hoping that most meals would cost not too far above 3000 Yen. Is there anything I left out that is a must try, or do you guys have any comments?

Tempura:
Tsunahachi
Daikokuya at Asakusa

Sushi:
Daiwa or Sushi dai in Tsukiji
Midori sushi
Hanaore (Kyoto) for sabazushi

Ramen:
Gogyo for Kogashi ramen
Ippudo in Ebisu (Ansley rec)
Akanoren
Ramen Jiro in Mita
Koumen chain in Ikebukuro
Jyangara ramen in Harajuku
(will probably not try all since I'm not that much of a sucker for ramen)

Udon:
Mentsu-dan

Unagi:
Obana at Asakusa
Kawachiya at Shibamata
Nodaiwa at Akabanebashi

French-Japanese confectionaries:
Pierre Herme for macarons
Jean Paul Hevin for chocolate
Sadaharu Aoki for salted caramel tart, yuzu eclairs
Hidemi Sugino for mousse cakes

Other food to try:
Amazake
Dango in both Tokyo and Kyoto
Train bentos

Most of the places I've listed so far are for Tokyo, I don't really have any places listed for Kyoto yet. I'd really like to get some nice wagashi though. I don't really have recommendations for Yakiniku, Shabu shabu or Izakayas either so yeah, those would be welcome too.
I am also wondering if there are any other good sushi places that are not too commercial and don't cost an arm an a leg to eat at? I am a sushi afficionado and have considered getting a lunch set at Kyubei, but I read that it doesn't taste representative of Kyubei's true quality. Looks like I've to wait till I'm a richer bloke.. But in the meantime I'd love some sushi shop recommendations that show more finesse than Midori, without being expensive.

Thanks!

Apr 22, 2008
Eldarion in Japan