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The epic journey, in chronlogical order

Follow me as I battle hungry dogs, the Akita dialect and angry old ladies as I hunt for the perfect sushi.

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Sushi · sake · sashimi - food listings.

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"The List"

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The List

[feature]* Raw horse, salt-flavoured ice cream and dancing squid rice?! The complete list of what was slurped, munched and reluctantly nibbled at. Updated live with the blog.


So without further ado, in chronological order...
(Last update 03-08-10)
  

Kanto (Part I)

Day 1 - Tokyo: Asakusa, Ueno

Nothing.

Day 2 - Tokyo: Shinjuku

#1 - McDonald's "Teriyaki Burger" set
$$ / ♥ 

Over-sauced, dubiously-sourced and with a disturbingly pasty chew. I really didn't like it.

Day 3 - Tokyo: Harajuku, Shibuya

#2 - Roast squid
$ / ♥♥♥

Lightly salted squid, pit-roasted to perfection. Nice.

#3 - Bonjiri (chicken bum) skewer
$ / ♥♥

Salt-roasted chicken bum, rich and delightfully fatty, chewy with a little bite. Marvellous.

Days 4 to 7 - Tokyo (hospital visit, etc.)

#4 - Convenience store food
$ / ♥♥

Well, this doesn't really count.

Day 8 - Tokyo: Asakusa, Ryogoku

#5 - Dozeu-nabe (loach pot)
$$$ / ♥♥

Loach double-cooked in sake and miso-base broth. Best described as... interesting? Most definitely worth a try.

#6 - Chanko-nabe ("sumo pot")
$$$ / 

Fresh ingredients cooked together in a miso, salt or shoyu base. Traditionally served to sumo wrestlers. Lovely as comfort food, but rather similar to hot pot found commonly elsewhere.

Day 9 - US Army Camp Zama

#7 - Chuka-ryori (Japanese Chinese cuisine)
$$ / ♥♥

A broad style of Japanese cuisine drawing heavily on Chinese influences. So common throughout Japan that it is worth trying just to see how these two great culinary traditions have fused.

#8 - Yakiniku (Japanese BBQ)

$$$ /  +1/2

Marinated meat, seafood and vegetables cooked over a charcoal or gas grill, then dipped in tare before serving. I like it (as a personal preference) but it's hard to recommend over more distinctive dishes.

Day 10 - Utsunomiya

#9 - Cream bread (from Mihara Port, Hiroshima)
$ / ♥♥

Japanese-style sweet bread with blob of chilled custard-cream inside. It's OK.

#10 - Mayo rice with egg ("makanai" rice)

$ / 

As counter-intuitive as it may sound, this is actually really, really good.

#11 - Utsunomiya gyoza (dumpling)

$ / 

Pan-fried dumplings. Well, I liked it, but somehow not as mind-blowing as I'd hoped. 

Day 11 - Tokyo: Tsukiji, Tsukishima, Azabu, Roppongi

#12 - Monjayaki
$$ / 

Cabbage and batter mixed and cookied into a thin pancake on a hot plate, similar to okonomiyaki. It does look pretty dreadful but tastes really, really awesome. 

#13 - Taiyaki
$ / 

Traditional waffle-like, fish-shaped snack with a sweet inner (usually red bean or custard cream) centre. Really cute, and surprisingly good as well.

 

Hokkaido 

Days 12 to 15 - Sapporo

#14 - Train kaiseki
$$$$ / 
♥+1/2

An ambitious and very, very expensive take on kaiseki-style cuisine aboard the "Hokutosei" overnight express train. 

#15 - Soup Curry
$$ / 

Rich, indulgent soup with five types of mushrooms, heritage pork, oven-roasted vegetables and just a hint of curry to the base. Just perfect.

#16 - Miso Ramen
$$ / 

Ramen in miso base that's just a little spicy, with an almost meaty bite. Served with soft, tender scallops and melt-in-the-mouth butter corn. Mm.

#17 - Genghis Khan
$$$ / 

Marinated, thinly-sliced lamb is cooked on a dome-shaped griddle, with pumpkin and cabbage on the side to soak up the gorgeous flavour. As an experience, highly recommended.

#18 - Sushi (omakase)
$$$$ / 

Traditional sushi course by a master sushi chef. Certainly an experience and fascinating to see authentic, top-tier sushi preparation, but at this price, perhaps once is enough.

#19 - Mister Donut
$ / 

Sinfully sweet, smoothly glazed, you can almost feel the trans-fat in its delicate crunch. Immensely popular with the new generation and... I'm ashamed to admit this, but yes, I liked it too.

Day 16 - Wakkanai

#20 - Tri-colour donburi
$$$ / 
♥+1/2

Sea urchin, ikura (salmon roe) and raw scallops on top of sushi rice, blisteringly fresh and full of umami, and nothing like your usual sushi bowl. Just a little pricey, but worth every bit.

#21 - Isobeyaki
$$ / 

Seasonal seafood and vegetables are cooked together in a white miso, spice and fish dashi blend on a scallop shell. The base draws out the flavour of every ingredient for a sublime experience. Absolutely wonderful.

Day 17 - Asahikawa

#22 - Asahikawa Ramen
$$ / 

Shoyu ramen with a distinct seafood, chicken and pork bone base, and thinner ramen with a lower water content. Decent without being exceptional. 

#23 - Chirashizushi
$$$ / 

In its traditional (Kanto-style) form, a seasonal selection of sashimi is laid on top of a bed of sushi rice. In the Kansai regions chirashizushi refers instead to rice mixed in with cooked ingredients.

Day 18 - Abashiri

#24 - Zangi-don
$$ / 

Salmon zangi (Hokkaido variant of kara-age, fried nuggets of meat or fish) and other garnishings are laid on top of a bowl of sushi rice and mixed with yama-wasabi to serve.

#25 - Moyoro-nabe
$$$ / 

A hot pot "in the style of" the Moyoro diet, including local seafood from in and around Abashiri and served in a clay pot heated by candle. Unabashed tourist trap.

...which means, so far

Day: 18 / 76
Cities: 6
Gobbled: 25 

 


 

Anything you disagree with? Anything I missed? Send in an e-mail, or comment below / twitter.com/foodjapan

 

10 Sec. Blurb

Left direction
Tokyo


The administrative and cultural capital of Japan, Tokyo is home to 12 million people, 160,000 restaurants and the most Michelin stars in the world (227)
Uni - sea urchin


Uni, or sea urchin, is one of the most treasured delicacies in Japan, but it's also eaten in Chile, the West Indies and in Mediterranean cuisine.
Right direction

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