Sunday, June 14, 2009

Markets in downtown Naha, Okinawa.

Glorious sensory overload, especially for seafood lovers:

Mini mangoes! Together now: Awwww.

An Okinawan specialty: Taco rice.

Miso that resembles salsa:

I picked up this strange fruit: kanisuteru. The flesh was sweet, soft and starchy, and tasted similar to chestnuts.

Mango Tango ice cream from Blue Seal -- how Okinawans do ice cream.

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Thursday, June 11, 2009

Multi-course meal at Ichi No Yuu.

Our hotel in Hakone, Ichi No Yuu, served up some of the tastiest dishes ever for dinner, which came with our stay. This was one of the best meals of the trip thus far.

Fried unagi salad appetizer.

Delicate, custardy tofu with shrimps.

Cold buckwheat udon noodles.

The main course: sliced, steamed pork belly.

..With ponzu. I was in heaven.

Smoked salmon with wasabi spinach.

No meal is complete without steamed rice.

It just kept on coming: scallop fishcake with nori and mushrooms.

And for dessert: Fresh yuzu sorbet with pieces of candied yuzu peel.

We also had a multi-course breakfast the next day. Mmm!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Shiso kamaboko from Hakone.

This was just a little ball of fishcake goodness with bits of shiso.

Sensei shared her bag of kamaboko (fishcake) with us. I was going to get my own, but we would have missed our train. Hakone is known for its kamaboko.

Serious comfort food.

Delicious shio ramen from a little dive in Chidori-cho in Tokyo, near our hotel.

I feel like I haven't eaten enough ramen on this trip. I've only had it twice. Blasphemy!

Pork katsu curry rice from Coco Curry House in Shibuya. The curry had bits of tender meat.

I finished it ALL.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

More food on-the-go.

We're traveling around a ton, so a lot of the food I've been picking up comes from the konbini (convenience stores), train stations, food stands, etc.

A mixed sandwich box right before we're about to hop on the Shinkansen (bullet train) to Hakone.

Ham and cheese, egg salad, and tuna. I tasted a hint of curry in the wheat-looking bread.

By the way, looking at this photo again is making me crave American food. A really big, cheesy slice of pizza sounds so good right now.

Harajuku crêpe.

This is the filling of a stuffed crêpe, obtained in the Harajuku district of Tokyo.

Fresh strawberries, strawberry pudding, whipped cream, and rice dumplings. I wolfed this puppy down, and then I craved another. Are ichigo (strawberries) sweeter in Japan?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

They just do some things a little better here.

Things eaten in Japan I just can't get in the States.

McDonald's McFlurry (makkufuruurii) with real strawberries and crushed Oreos.

Makku also cooks eggs perfectly -- as in: soft to medium, and not rubbery and overcooked -- for their breakfast sandwiches. Yes, I went there. So?

Thick and luscious mango gelato in a waffle cone from 7/11.

EDIBLE -- and delicious -- chirashi-zushi bowls from your local supermarkets and convenience stores.

Balls of fruity sorbet from Circle K.

As much as I love food back home, I know I'll seriously miss this stuff when I return.

Nishiki Market in Kyoto.

Biking allows for fantastic exploration. In Kyoto, I rented a bike and decided to find Nishiki Market, which I read about in my travel book. Tucked away between residential alleyways, the market takes up a couple blocks and, according to the book, is where chefs and cooks go for fresh ingredients and supplies.

I could totally imagine myself living in Kyoto and biking to this market regularly.

By the way, you know the scene in Kill Bill when The Bride gazes lovingly at Hattori Hanzo's collection of katanas, while angelic music provides the soundtrack? That is similar to what I felt looking at these knives.

As I was wandering around, I passed by a vendor selling various yakitori and fried things on sticks. They pulled me aside, quite forcefully, for a sample of fried unagi (eel).

I was so glad they did.