Food, Glorious Food

The people, the culture, the sights but most importantly, the food. All these factors that help to mould your feelings about a destination and push you to decide whether you did or didn't like that place. For me, food is a key factor and does tend to influence my feelings on a place. Japan was definitely interesting in terms of food. Putting aside the fact that I am a fussy eater, when in Tokyo, I tried to open my mind to all the quirky things I was about to experience. Reading blogs and guide books glorifying the Japanese delicacies and wonderfully unique creations, a mild excitement got me wondering if I'd become a sushi fanatic upon my return.

I can confirm, I most certainly did not. The language barrier had a small part to play and although the Japanese were more than welcoming and amused by our games of charades at every meal time, I couldn't help but feel hugely ignorant to the fact I had turned up to Japan thinking most people would have a basic understanding of English. Brit fail #1.

However, I concluded that raw fish, seaweed and pickled veggies are not my friend. Regardless, there were a few dishes that left a lovely Japan shaped stamp on my heart.

Udon Noodles & Tempura
If you love anything deep fried, you will have to taste tempura. Whether you opt for a veggie or shrimp option, the wonderfully light and crisp coating will put a smile on your face. Best enjoyed topped onto a steaming bowl of Udon Noodles - a thick wheat flour noodle, often served in a classic broth of soy sauce, dashi and mirin. It's such a simple yet satisfying combination!

Where to begin with these little dumplings of happiness? They became our best friend in Tokyo, specifically the ones served at hidden gem, Osaka Osho, located in Shinjuku. A pan fried dumpling, beautifully crisp on the bottom and delicately soft on top, these crescent shaped beauties can be filled with anything from pork or veggies. Yum. Yum. Yum! 

These soft, steamed buns with minced fillings ranging from pork, vegetable or beef are warm and pillowy and often sold as street foods or found in their many 7eleven stores. On some days in Tokyo, it got quite chilly, so these warm little buns were the perfect winter warmer.

It's strange to be recommending a crisp cafe but when in Tokyo! Calbee a brand of snack foods and generally sold in supermarkets as regular crisps, however, the cafe offers you freshly made, warm crisps served in a tub with a choice of having them plain, with cheese or...with chocolate! It's unfathomable, yet the salty, sweet combination was surprisingly heavenly. 

And finally, we couldn't finish the list without the staple of Japanese cuisine - sushi and sashimi! It was quite the bucket list moment eating fresh sushi off a conveyor belt in Japan. The chefs were slicing away and as gross as it sounds watching a fish get cut open, you feel how fresh your food is. Of course, as bucket list-y as it was, I'm still not a sushi convert! The pinnacle moment of the meal was definitely when we all tried mixing matcha powder with water thinking it was wasabi - I can still hear the chefs laughing at us!

There is a huge array of wacky restaurants to test in Tokyo, from the Robot Restaurant to Hello Kitty Cafe, you'll be sure to create your own wonderful foodie memories from Japan. Just be sure to pick up some phrases before you go, it's not easy finding vegetarian or pork free meals out there!

More Adventures:
Travel Tales of an Introvert


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