Monday, February 23, 2009

Japanese Feasts

So the boyfriend and I gallivanted to his motherland, Japan, along with 8 of our finest friends to enjoy some R&R at an onsen, do some skiing and of course, partake in my favorite travel activity: eat, eat and eat!

If there is one thing I truly commend Japanese people for, besides producing some pretty cute boys, is that everything in that country tastes good, even that nasty little dish called natto. There is this unparalleled standard for quality, that even if you pick up a sushi roll at the local A.M./P.M., you can be sure that it is fresh and tastes decent.

So this time around, the eating agenda is even better as H. worked in Japan and knows quite a few eateries that are not only tasty, but have good atmosphere. But the place that I love the most, is at the onsen restaurant where we gluttonized ourselves every night with feasts that involved many tiny dishes of delectable delights. I don't know if it is because H.'s relatives owns the hotel, but the treats we got were AMAZING!!! The freshest sashimi, the tastiest morsels of things that I don't even know exists. Regardless, I cram them into my mouth where they danced and had a party. Ummm....

We also delighted ourselves with eating delicious ramen, perused through the basements of department stores where the food markets are surreal, and had some of the best beef around at this teppanaki place where they focused on the cooking rather than the typical knife wielding show we get at teppanaki places in Canada. Actually, I was kind of looking forward to the performance that never happened :(

So what do I think are the top 10 foodie things to do in Tokyo? Here goes:

1.) Go to Tsukji fish market and line up for 2 hours to eat the BEST sushi that patience can buy.
2.) The Japanese's fascination with French perfection is obvious in the beautiful pastries you find at practically every bakery around the city
3.) Eat ramen, anywhere! Although there is this hole in the wall place in Shibuya that I love but won't be able to tell you how to get there. Sorry!
4.) The fruit in Japan not only looks so perfect they look fake, but in fact, tastes perfect. Except for an U.S. $10 apple, that for sure, was not the best apple that money can buy as advertised. But it was definitely worth the money for the fascination and anticipation that it brought me.
5.) Go to any Izakaya where it looks busy, and practice sign language with the local waiter/waitress as you ask for recommendations because you cannot read Japanese. A nice beer also helps in the process, and most Izakayas chill their beer just right.
6.) Eat natto. Just get the process right. If you mask those foul smelling beans with a raw egg and plenty of soy sauce, it can actually be quite a tasty breakfast with rice.
7.) The crepes off street stands are more delicate and refined than the ones you get in France.
8.) There is this guy on the main food street in Ueno who makes this strange pancake with an egg on top. You will not miss him, as I heard he is constantly surrounded by a crowd.
9.) There is also this place that sells beef croquettes in Kochijoji that has a perpectual crowd of people. There are specific marks on the ground by this shop to guide the line up so that you don't block human traffic.
10.) Go to the basements of department stores such as Mitsukoshi and Isetan where there is edible eye candy everywhere. You will see kiosks upon kiosks of delicious snacks and take away. Perfect place to go before the airport for souvenirs and a snack!