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Seasonal Food in September in Japan

There's a matsutake mushroom broth that is served from a little tea pot, I can't remember the name just now, maybe someone else will. It's very simple but oh so good, if you have a chance, give it a try.

Aug 05, 2010
deraumai in Japan

Favorite Japanese Comfort Food?

miso nikomi udon
ton jiru
seki han
curry udon
buri daikon

Aug 05, 2010
deraumai in Japan

Seasonal Food in September in Japan

fish-sanma, try it grilled
fruit-Japanese pears (nashi)
there will probably be matsutake mushrooms available by then too... a lot of places do matsutake theme menus

Most decent restaurants will be offering seasonal fare, so you needn't worry too much about seeking it out.

Jul 28, 2010
deraumai in Japan

Summer eating in Japan

By then sanma should be available- salt-grilled is the regular way to enjoy this oily fish, but it's also quite good as sashimi or sushi.

As for fruits, by September the Japanese pear season will be underway and those pears are awesome.

Jul 11, 2010
deraumai in Japan

did you know about the history of kaiseki

I think you may want to finish reading that book.

Jun 27, 2010
deraumai in General Topics

family trip to japan

No fish can tough in Japan as dashi (fish stock) is used in a lot of otherwise veggie dishes.

How does your son feel about chicken? A yakitori joint could be fun. Most of the items will be on sticks so everyone can choose what he/she likes.

Kyoto is well known for tofu and there are several tofu specialty restaurants. Some of the dishes may include dashi but there would certainly be items he could eat.

Izakayas may also be a good choice because as a group you could order a number of small dishes. Some of them would fit his restrictions, some wouldn't, but it's all out on the table for everyone to share. Most izakayas have simple vegetable dishes like sliced tomatoes, grilled lima beans, edamame, tofu steak, rice with pickles, chicken dishes, etc. Just be sure to ask them to hold the katsuo bushi (dried fish flakes) that often top many things.

Cold noodles (zaru soba/udon) would be OK, just skip the usual dipping sauce (contains dashi) and use straight soy sauce. There is often tempura offered with such noodles. He could just eat the veggies. (sorry, I don't know how severe his allergies are.... fish/shrimp/veggies are most likely fried in the same oil, which may or may not be a concern) With tempura, again, don't use the dipping broth, use salt or soy sauce.

If chicken is OK, a basic om-rice (omelette wrapped chicken rice) may be acceptable. Om-rice can be found in almost any shopping mall or food court. Maybe a good lunch option. Lots of variations.

Something I often recommend to vegans is Seki Han, sticky rice with adzuki beans and sometimes topped with black sesame seeds. I love it! It's not really restaurant fare, but you can find it in supermarkets, rice shops or department store take-out zones. It may fit the bill.

Not sure if anyone in your group has Japanese language ability. A lot of travelers with food allergies have someone help them print up a card in Japanese that states the allergies so there's no confusion with waitstaff.

Sorry no specific restaurant recs, but hopefully this gives you some ideas! Have a great trip.

Jun 10, 2010
deraumai in Japan

14 days trip to Kyoto and Tokyo hoping can get some great budget suggestions

You'll get the most bang for your yen at lunch time. Many places have excellent value set menus at lunch time.

Jun 03, 2010
deraumai in Japan

Were we overcharged?

It is also possible that you were overcharged, just by accident. The small dishes are almost always NOT complimentary.

May 06, 2010
deraumai in Not About Food

6 days in Tokyo - April/May - Solo traveller

Ume no hana is great, but from what I remember (eating at one of the Nagoya shops) , it's not strictly vegetarian. Meaning there may be dashi (fish stock) and egg in some of the dishes. There was even a raw tuna component in my lunch.

If you're not super sensitive about the grill surface, how about a variety of grilled veggie skewers at a yakitori counter? Combined with a grilled rice ball or two, a salad... nothing fancy but tasty. I think the biggest challenge may be avoiding dashi.

Check one of the department store basements, there's usually a specialty rice counter where you could pick up some kind of mixed rice...Seki Han is awesome, simple but delicious, red beans and sticky rice topped with some black sesame seeds and salt. Could work well for a breakfast as there's not a lot to choose from in the morning. There may be other options that include things like fresh bamboo, veggies. Some will have chicken though, be warned.

Sorry, I don't have specific locations to recommend, I don't know that area of Tokyo well.

Mar 31, 2010
deraumai in Japan

Japan Board is dead, lets discuss Pizza

I know most of the posters and readers are concerned with the Tokyo metro, but I'll throw in the Nagoya news on this too... At the Fushimi branch of Salvatore Cuomo they have an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet for ¥1000. It's only on weekdays and drink bar is an additional ¥200. The pizzas come out and disappear quickly, very little cheese on any of them. There was also a small salad bar and a few other side dishes like rosemary roasted squash and Japanese nimono. 3 or 4 pastas and a risotto or two plus yogurt with a ribbon of fruit sauce for "dessert". Kakuozan Salvatore also started some sort of lunch buffet, but it appears to be one pizza/person and then a buffet of salads and sides.

Mar 15, 2010
deraumai in Japan

kaiseki - hakone or kyoto?

If you're not going to do the ryokan plus meal spread out in your room, then have your kaiseki in Kyoto.

Mar 01, 2010
deraumai in Japan

Valentine's Chocolate Beer by Sapporo

It's worth a try, as a novelty, although I probably wouldn't drink it again. As stated earlier, it's very cocoa-y. Not at all like a chocolate porter or some other chocolate beers I've tried in the States.

Feb 02, 2010
deraumai in Japan

Miso Paste with Dashi & Bonito After Power Outage

No need to toss.

Feb 01, 2010
deraumai in Japan

Quest for Great food in Japan for 31 Days! Need Suggestions

Here are some suggestions I made a while back about Nagoya. Various local specialties as well as names and addresses of some izakayas and noodle joints.

Read through the thread and if you have more specific questions feel free to ask. Cheers.

Jan 28, 2010
deraumai in Japan

Jonathan's Worldly Eats: Confessions of a Foodie - Gyoza no Ohsho - Hanazono, Kyoto

Please don't misunderstand. Ohsho has never been destination dining for me! Just weighing in with my two yen on the OP. And yes, Osaka does have a lot of good Korean spots. Most often when I'm in Osaka, it's with my band and eating is restricted by time (too early/too late) and location, fortunately, there are lots of tasty neighborhood joints scattered throughout the city.

Jan 10, 2010
deraumai in Japan

Jonathan's Worldly Eats: Confessions of a Foodie - Gyoza no Ohsho - Hanazono, Kyoto

For a chain, I find Ohsho to be rather inconsistent. The price is consistently cheap, yes.

I live in Nagoya and the gyoza at the Imaike branch are heavy on the plate and even heavier in your gut. Some of the stir fries are doable, but honestly, I've always felt lousy and stinky after eating there.

The best Ohsho experience I had was in Osaka, sorry can't remember which branch. I was there for an after show party with the band and was skeptical and then totally surprised! It was like an entirely different taste and vibe. The gyoza were outstanding.

I've also had a decent experience at an Ohsho in Kyoto, before gig eats. Their set menus were super budget-priced, they even had signs up for broke students. If you wash dishes you could eat all you want or something.... The food at this branch was far above the Nagoya one but not as exceptional as Osaka. The master was really grumbly at the size of our group (8 people) and the fact that someone dared to ask if there was meat in one of the dishes. Still, the chow was good, I was especially surprised by the cup of seaweed soup, which at most Chinese restaurants is just kind of flavorless and tepid, but there it stood on its own.

Ohsho may not be the essential meal in Japan, true, but I'm a firm believer that if you have time, you should definitely try Chinese food in Japan, at a local joint, not a high-end dining spot.

Jan 09, 2010
deraumai in Japan

Cheap beer

Most of the major Japanese beers (Asahi, Kirin, Sapporo...) are about 217yen for a 350ml can (about 12oz) at the convenience store. You only save a couple yen when you buy a 6-pack. Imports, Ebisu and the occasional Japanese specialty beer are more expensive. There are also numerous happoshus (beer-like beverage) that are considerably cheaper than real beer. Not sure if you want to drink them or not, I personally steer clear of them. Happoshu usually runs about 140yen per can and there are many varieties.

Oct 21, 2009
deraumai in Japan

Sukiyaki in Osaka

Shabu-shabu and Sukiyaki are nothing like teppanyaki, not sure if you were comparing all three, maybe I misunderstood. Shabu-shabu has a much cleaner, simpler flavor than sukiyaki. Sukiyaki has the salty-sweet thing happening. Both are tasty, it just depends on what you're looking for. Personally, sukiyaki, about once a year at a home party is enough for me.

Sep 19, 2009
deraumai in Japan

I just can't decide

Info on cheaper places is very useful, it's nice to have some balance.

Sep 09, 2009
deraumai in Japan

Kobe Beef in Kobe

Agree with Uncle Y. A lot of sushi restaurants in the States seem geared towards folks who may be a mixed lot, some liking raw fish and others not. Even sushi and sashimi tend to be separate over here. You may want to consider an upscale izakaya or counter-type wa-shoku place, that's where I usually find the best sashimi, along with many other dishes (fried, raw, veg, grilled, simmered....) seasonal goodness, not just fish. Then you can both eat happily! Order up an o-nigiri (rice ball) and miso soup at the END of the meal and impress the chef with your dining savvy.

Aug 03, 2009
deraumai in Japan

Food gifts for Japanese friends?

More ideas here on another current thread

Aug 01, 2009
deraumai in Japan

Food gifts for Tokyo hosts

Any type of food or condiment that is specific to where you live or grew up. Japanese people often ask people they first meet what their hometown's "original delicious food/dish" is. It doesn't necessarily have to be high-end or gourmet. What's important is that it's from your region. If it's in cute or fancy packaging, even better!

Jul 31, 2009
deraumai in Japan

Feedback on 6-day eating in Tokyo

While I personally am not much of a beef eater, most of my Japanese friends swear that Matsuzaka beef is much better than Kobe beef. They are of the opinion that Kobe beef is simply more famous overseas due to marketing/exporting.

Jul 31, 2009
deraumai in Japan

Beppu, Nao-shima, Takayama, Nikko

There were some suggestions recentlyfor Takayama on another thread

Takayama is a mountain town so there should be different types of mountain vegetable specialties, pickles and misos.

Jul 22, 2009
deraumai in Japan

Nagoya, Tokyo, Osaka, and Sapporo Essentials?


Where did you end up eating in Nagoya?

Jul 09, 2009
deraumai in Japan

mid-price restaurant in Shinjuku

It's never on the top of my list either, but being open late and being able to accommodate large groups without prior booking is what makes it a go-to place for band-after-show-parties. And certainly, decent value.

Jul 09, 2009
deraumai in Japan

mid-price restaurant in Shinjuku

The Watami menus I've seen have English subtext and the photos are also quite helpful.

Jul 07, 2009
deraumai in Japan

Nagoya, Tokyo, Osaka, and Sapporo Essentials?

Of the things I wrote about, there's probably a branch of Yamamoto Honten somewhere near there (miso nikomi). The ramen shop KOKUYA is in the Sakae area which is one subway stop from the Hilton (Fushimi to Sakae, yellow Higashiyama line) or about a 15 minute walk. There's a Yama-chan (one of Nagoya's two major tebasaki-izakaya chains) across the street from the Hilton, I've never been to that particular branch.
Something I didn't write about as you were asking about noodles, but not far from the Hilton is a 24-hour sushi shop called Maru-hachi Sushi. It's just outside of the fish market, nothing fancy, but really awesome super fresh sushi at reasonable prices. It's just west of your hotel, on the second floor, if you're game, the hotel staff should be able to point you there.


Jul 07, 2009
deraumai in Japan

Solo diner tips in Tokyo and Kyoto

I am a woman and I often dine solo here in Japan. I do speak and read(some) Japanese, but I didn't when I first moved here. Izakayas can be great because there's usually counter seating and you may even make some new friends after a couple drinks. The downside is, most of the dishes are meant to be shared, so if you hope to try several things, it may be too much or too expensive. (I don't know your budget.) Yakitori or kushi katsu joints are also good because most items are ordered by the stick, sometimes two sticks per order. I've never felt unwelcome as a single, white woman at these types of establishments, but you may feel like you are on display and that all the salarymen are staring at you, so if this makes you uncomfortable, be aware. Ramen and noodle shops are filled with solo diners.

Communication and just finding places will be your biggest challenges, I suspect. Addresses are virtually useless and it's not always obvious what kind of place it is from the outside. Smiling, gesturing and appreciation of the food will get you far!

Kyoto seems to be very tourist friendly and many places have English menus and many of the restaurants are run by women.

If you're adventurous, you can always ask for "o-su-su-may" (recommendation) or "o-ma-ka-say" (chef's choice) You may sometimes end up with less challenging food, as many Japanese are worried about what foreigners can and can't eat, but they won't try to stick you with yesterdays leftovers.

Have fun!

Jul 03, 2009
deraumai in Japan

ryokan in Kyoto with excelent food?

I second this. In Kyoto, you'll probably get a better value for your money by staying at a less expensive place that doesn't include dinner and go out to one of city's many delightful restaurants. There are places that serve kaiseki lunch or dinner, even in the Gion that will fall within your budget. Here's one that I like, it's called Mame Tora

Set menu Lunch is 3800yen Set menu Dinner 5000-15,000 yen (I've had the 8000yen dinner twice and it was excellent and included the box of "maiko style sushi") You need to make reservations, so if you don't speak Japanese, you will need to get someone, perhaps at your hotel, to help you.

Jun 27, 2009
deraumai in Japan