Tuesday, January 15

Pocky, Tokyo

The variety of snacks in Japan is mind boggling. Even for a simple item like Pocky – choclate covered sticks, you can select from regular to this sticks, milk, white, dark chocolate, with nuts, with coconut sprinkles, with green tea flavour… mind-boggling!!!

Tonkatsu, Tokyo

It was the final meal in Tokyo before we head for home and we just had to try the dishes that we didn’t manage to fit in the last week – oyakodon (egg and chicken on top of rice) and tonkatsu (deep fried pork fillet with rice) that came with a sesame dip on the side. We even had the Japanese style steak. I love eating in Tokyo.

Japanese Jelly, Tokyo

Available everywhere

I was never a fan of prepacked jellies but friends said I had to try the ones in Japan. They have a range, from the very inexpensive to the designer grade. I tried the ones sold in the food hall (even there, there was a wide range to choose from), and it was yums. Melt in your mouth with fruit at the bottom.

Waffle Sandwich, Tokyo

We took a break at the Shishedo café on Ginza and saw this one interesting item – waffle sandwich. Very much like a typical ham and cheese only waffle is used instead of bread. Its beautiful looking and tasted pretty good too.

We also tried their version of the strawberry shortcake. Nice and light.

Unaji Restaurant, Tokyo

The Japanese have specialty restaurants for just about everything. This one specialized in unaji or grilled eel. We had the standard lunch set, but wished we had room for more. Absolutely delicious!!!

Tomago “Cakes”, Tokyo


I learned something new today – that the Japanese sell the egg “cakes” in strips. The cost varies depending on the ingredients that went into the mix. Typically eaten with rice or on top of sushi.

Frozen Strawberries, Tokyo

Strawberries filled with cream and then frozen. Quite a nice sweet ending to a meal.

Isakaya Dining, Tokyo

This is big in Tokyo – pubs for business men that serve up small plates that go with beer. Even at 9pm when I walked it, the place was teeming with people.

As with all non-Japanese speaking folks, we had so much trouble placing our orders till we found out that the majority of the serving staff were Chinese. With the language problem out of the way, our ordering got much easier and we quickly filled out table with a variety of yakitori items including quails eggs wrapped in bacon and other small plates like fried chicken, and spicy tofu. The food was great and the ambience jovial.

Sashimi, Tokyo

Travelling with friends who are not big on sashimi can be a hazard in Japan. All the good stuff that we are passing up on. Thankfully, I was not the only one who was hungry for some raw bites. Shared this with some friends – not the best that I have had but good still, considering I had ordered this in a food court.

At the same food court also, we found Japanese style pot rice – where the ingredients and the rice are cooked in the same pot.

Japanese Grilled Cakes, Tokyo

It’s a sweetened grilled rice cake that is commonly consumed as a snack. It had that smoky flavour. Interesting taste but not quite my thing.

Green Soda, Tokyo

Green soda and Japanese beer – what best to go with the monja!

Monjya, Tokyo

This is new to me. I was introduced to this by colleagues in the city. A little like okonomiyaki (rice fried on a hotplate), it works on very similar principles. A bowl full of vegetables and sausages and whatever else you order is tossed onto a hotplate, followed by a flour mix. When cooked, you top it with a sprinking of a seaweed mix and a bit of worchester sauce. It’s a communal dish that you eat it by scrapping off tiny bits off the hotplate. It was totally yummy especially in that cold weather.

Sunday, January 13

Supermarket Eats, Tokyo

Wandering around the food halls in Japan must be one of my favourite activities. I am amazed at the large variety of items available – from the most beautifully dressed up pastries and delicious desserts to super crunchy katsus (deep fried pork fillets), oden… I even had a taste of a variety of tofus and miso (fermented bean paste). Divine.

Daifuku, Tokyo

I am not much of a fan of these pre-packed daifuku – rice balls that are filled with an assortment of ingredients. I tried the one that was filled with red bean paste. It was delicious. I never had one that was just so delicately made, it just slid down my throat. I even had a second!

Fresh Wasabi, Tokyo

Interesting to know how the plant that is used for wasabi looks like. Its very much like daikon (Japanese radish) only minus the whiteness.

Designer Tomatoes, Tokyo

An arm and a leg and more – that’s what this box of tomatoes cost. For this tiny package, expect to pay S$140 / US$100. Incredible. I expect that this would apply to the way it tastes as well.

Strawberry Shortcake, Tokyo

The cakes were just too beautiful to pass up. Made all the more attractive by the chef who was so delicately putting it together behind the open kitchen. We tried the famous strawberry shortcake and the chocolate banana. Both cakes were nice, but as with all things Japanese, the way the cakes were presented made them taste even better!

Onigri, Tokyo

Onigri, Tokyo
Most convenience stores

Who needs a restaurant with you have these amazing convenience stores. This one has an extensive variety of onigri (rice cakes) with any filling you can wish for – mentaiko (fermented roe), salmon, ume (plum)…

Browse around the shelves and you will find more interesting finds – dark chocolate kit kat, green tea chocs and even an assortment of Pocky (choc covered biscuit sticks) never seen outside of Japan!

Noodle Stand, Tokyo

Noodle Stand, Tokyo
Most subway stations

This was one of most delicious noodles places I came across in Tokyo. The variety is endless. You start by purchasing a ticket for the noodle that you selected from the vending machine, and then proceed to the noodle counter where they toss the dish together in a jif.

We tried the cold soba and the seafood udon. Had it standing up – as is typical in such noodles stands. Delish – we could not have enough of it. Now if only we did not have to save room for everything else that was coming up, we would have slurped up a lot more!!!

Dinner, Tokyo

Dinner was with a friend, based in Tokyo, in a restaurant tucked in one of the back lanes off Ginza. Not quite sure where it was exactly as I was greeted by a confusion of neon signs just as we entered the side lane. I was totally amazed at home many of these secret dining spots there are just off the main drag.

Dishes here are from a particular Japanese district. There were lot of small eats, including the smoothest tofu that I have ever tried, served in a large dish and dressed in the most delicate soy. Accompanying dishes include the chicken wings and Japanese style crocquettes.

Desserts were interesting too. We had a mochi (sticky rice based cake) that was covered in fragrant sesame powder and almond tofu – all very delicious and incredibly affordable. Dinner for two was just over S$50 / US$30.

Conveyor Belt Sushi, Tokyo

Great food prevails throughout the city. The Japanese are fussy eaters and no restaurant can afford to dish out ordinary fare. Right in the heart of Harajuku, near Omote santo, we came across this conveyor belt sushi place that served the most amazing unagi (eel) sushi (also known as anago) and roasted corn sushi. The latter was incredibly sweet and the first such sushi that I have ever seen or tasted!

Oden, Toyko

Oden, Toyko
Most 7-11 convenience stores

Simple food – pieces of tofu, daikon (radish) and interesting items like the mochi (sticky rice cake) wrapped in a tofu skin, stewed in a clear broth. And you don’t even have to go to a restaurant for it. 7-11 does just that, 24 hours a day. Was a tad tricky trying to eat this standing up but it was well worth the effort.

Crepes, Tokyo

You can find just about anything in Tokyo, including these amazing dessert crepes served out of a stand in Harajuku. I had my favourite filling of banana, almonds, chocolate and a ton of whipped cream!!!

Japanese style breaksfast, Tokyo

Admittedly it was strange when I first saw it – Japanese style breakfast comprising lettuce salad, soup, hardboiled eggs, tiny sausages and chocolate crossaints?!! Came to like it over time. They served good coffee too!

Robotoyaki, Tokyo

This place was gorgeous with just a handful of tables. They first present you with this elegant little dish that you fill with some of your favourite sauces – soy, Worchester, mustard and salt.

Then comes the fun. The robotoyaki place specializes in everything on a stick, breaded and fried. There are close to 30 varieties at one seating, nothing is repeated unless you request for it. And the meal keeps going until you say stop.

I made it to my 15th stick – going through an array of fish, beef, vegetables, tofu, quails eggs before I admitted defeat. Fortunately I was pleasantly rewarded by a light ume (plum) filled jelly dessert. Yums!

Shopping in Tokyo

I could not resist adding this – the Japanese think of everything, including that little rain coat for your bags when it pours.

Shabu Shabu, Tokyo

Black pork from a particular prefecture in Japan. Apparently this is one of the best to be had and best savoured when eaten in a hot pot. And it was divine. The nice thin slices. Non of the porky smell nor taste. And an incredible intesting dip made of soyu (soy sauce) accented with a spicy ume (plum) paste. Delish.
We also tried some of the bentos (lunch box). And for a regular lunch spot, it was great food at a fab value. The entire meal cost about S$20 each / US$15.