I’m so excited that this is my first blog for the year and it’s about food. It’s been a busy few months with some wonderful big changes that I’ll talk about later!
But I had the luxury of taking some time off recently and decided to take off to visit Seoul and Tokyo, just to hang out. We didn’t do much site-seeing. We just hung out, walked around, ate, drank, shopped, and got to know the locals. But the eating is definitely one of my favorite things from this trip. The amazing part about the Tokyo portion, we had wonderful Japanese friends who recommended very special spots and made reservations for us in time for our trip. Those places ended up being ones that foreigners didn’t go to, and that was great! In this post, I’ve only written about dishes that I can’t manage to stop dreaming about. Frankly I think all I did in Tokyo was eat, and I’m not complaining!
Of course going to Tokyo and not eating Ramen would be blasphemous. We had gone to Komen last time and loved its soy sauce-based ramen with fried garlic on top! We decided to go again this time. Let’s just say if you’re not a garlic lover, this is not for you! You’ll continue to taste the garlic for the rest of the day.
We went to the original Ippudo, one of many around Tokyo. We actually ended up going twice to different locations. I had tasted the one in NY first which left me with deep disappointment as it didn’t do the original Ippudo justice. This is a Tonkotsu style Ramen shop (which is my preferred kind!). For lunch you order Ramen and you get these amazing gyozas with them! Can’t complain!
While we were there, our wonderful friend Shige recommended and booked a Japanese BBQ spot, 焼肉ジャンボ (Yakiniku Jumbo) that was to. die. for. It was the best meat I’ve ever had, sourced locally and from farms in Kobe and elsewhere. Actually, there are many areas like Kobe that have amazing cattle. It’s just Americans have only mostly heard of Kobe. The place was wonderful. I have to say that it’s probably one of the most memorable restaurant experiences I’ve ever had!
Apparently, Tokyo is known to have the best Italian food outside of Italy. Japanese cooking methods are incorporated into italian cooking which results in umami being one more flavor that you taste. I was skeptical at first but when I tried AW Kitchen Figlia’s Sakura (cherry blossom) chicken, I became a believer.
The homemade sausage and mustard is what one would have thought to be something very simple turned out to be an explosion of flavors.
And thought of this mushroom cacio e pepe with shiitake foam on top makes me drool…
We went on a hunt for some good Chicken Katsu and that was no easy challenge. We looked for GoGo Curry specifically and managed to find one location which was in the basement of a dense building. You order lunch from a machine and you pay then you walk in and sit down at the counter and your food is served. Amazing!
Izakaya food is supposed to be the simple fare that goes with beer. But this Karage and this bean sprout dish were anything but ordinary.