Saturday, September 06, 2008

Japan 2008: Aichi, Gifu and Tokyo

Hey kids! It's that time of the year when I post pics of my recent Japan travels. I just got back yesterday and jet lag has warped my head. I couldn't sleep 'til 5 am last night so I instead took time to upload my photos. On this trip, I went to Aichi and Gifu prefecture as well as Tokyo. My goal was to stick to healthy meals...

My first dinner in Nagoya was very much that. Most everything you see is boiled. Hijiki is sauteed lightly in oil but it's high in nutrients so you can't go wrong. In my ideal world, I'd have a Japanese mom cook all these dishes for me every day along with a hot pot of rice. It's all so good.

Nagoya had a dance festival last week so all the outdoor stalls (yatai) were set up to feed the tens of thousands of tourists. On the left, it's grilled squid and other squid parts basted in sweet soy sauce.


While in the sticks of Gifu prefecture I happened upon a stand offering fresh vegetables at $1 a bag. Here you see (from left) red potatoes, pumpkins, eggplants, bitter melon, cucumbers, shiso and peppers. If only I had a kitchen at the time.


Beef is a regional specialty in central Japan (Hida). So when in Hida, eat like the Hidans:

Peppered beef skewer...

sliced beef cooked in a leaf...

...and a tender slab of steak. Good lord. Diet postponed.

Grilled mochi on a stick makes for an excellent post-lunch snack.

Now off to Tokyo...

I found this cake shop in the basement of Takashimaya in Shinjuku:


The glass display case wraps all the way around and what you do is grab a clip board (on the left) and check off each item you want. There must have been over 100 cakes all priced at around $5 each. I was jealous of the ladies buying for their family cause at least they'd have the opportunity to sample each one.

We have Qoo here in Los Angeles, but I'd never seen mango-orange flavor. Very tasty.

Whenever I'm in Tokyo, I can never seem to evade the luring scent of Jangara Ramen. Truthfully, the place inside stinks like something nasty because they spend hours (if not days) simmering their special pork-bone broth. I'm hardly a ramen fan, but with that said Jangara Ramen is an amazing bowl of noodles. The broth is rich, flavorful and topped with so many ingredients -- boiled egg, thick cuts of stewed pork, bamboo shoots, red ginger, scallions, spicy cod roe -- that you couldn't possibly get bored. Though, healthy it is not.

If you're a Japanese candy fiend like me, you'll know that most candy from Japan is now stocked at your Los Angeles Asian market. I double dare you to find something in Japan that you can't find here.

KitKat is the rare exception. If you look hard you can find unique flavors like this one, Matcha Tea. Sadly, I only had enough money to buy two. It was the last purchase of my trip, so I made sure I took a picture of it before passing it along to friends.

Already looking forward to 2009...
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5 comments:

Marie said...

I really enjoyed these pictures and am now wildly envious of your vacation! Especially all that beef. :P

*daisy said...

yum!! You make me so homesick for Japan and so hungry!!! love all the food pictures and loving descriptions- great blog entry! : D

Chubbypanda said...

Oh you wicked woman. You're trying to make me drown in my own drool, aren't you.

Pirikara said...

Heehee...

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