29 September 2008

Tokyo 11-16 April 08 - Food

As mum and aunt don't take raw food, sushi was not a choice for our meals. Otherwise, we could have enjoyed cheap and fresh seafood at those 100/200 yen a plate sushi eatery.
Nevertheless, there are plenty of value for money meal options in Tokyo.
Our accommodation did not include breakfast. So usually, we would buy sandwiches or onigiri from convenience stores near the hotel the night before. In fact, there is a convenience store right at the ground level of Shinjuku Washington Hotel. I adore convenience stores in Japan, they carry such a wide variety of food, drinks and snack items.
As turnover is very high, all food and drink items are freshly produced and delivered. And unlike convenience food in Singapore, the ones in Japan are nicely packaged and very delicious! So breakfast wasn't a problem at all. In fact, many blue and white-collar workers buy most of their meals from convenience stores.
First night's dinner - Katsu-don. Over-the-counter eatery at Shinjuku West (Shinjukunishikuchi). To order, purchase a ticket at the vendor machine located at the entrance, and hand it to the counter staff.Meal included a salad and miso soup.

Dinner on second night - Cha Siu Ramen. Another eatery at Shinjuku West (Shinjukunishikuchi). Same order procedure via vending machine.
Quite a tiny shop but immensely popular, especially during lunchtime. We saw long queues forming in the daytime.
The soup base was thick but not overly rich. Very soothing, especially during cold weather. Ramen had a Q-Q texture. Cha Siu was succulent and very tender. I love the egg best! Egg yolk was not fully cooked and slightly runny. Forgot to take photo as it was too yummy. This shop was one of our best finds for this trip.
The Japs like to eat Gyoza with their Ramen. The gyoza was really good, pan-fried to perfection. Skin was Q-Q, not too thick; filling of ground pork, cabbage and nira chives were fresh. Really oiishi with the dipping vinegar sauce!

Lunch on fifth day - Spicy Cha Siu Ramen. Random basement eatery at Ikebukuro. Same ramen but paled in comparison to the shop at Shinjuku.

Dinner on fifth night. Restaurant at Shinjuku East (Shinjukuhigashikuchi). Brother ordered a katsu-don set.
Mum and aunt ordered a Age-tofu and Karaage set.
As for me, surprised to see the a Jap version of Korean Bibimbap, so ordered to see what the difference between Korean and Jap Bibimbap. I guess the hot stone bowl was missing, along with Korean spicy sauce. But still delicious.
Lunch on last day - Tempura-don. Restaurant at Shinjuku West (Shinjukunishikuchi). We had a lot of meals at Shinjuku West, probably due to its proximity to our hotel. This eatery specialises in tempura and another of our best finds, other than the Ramen shop.
The tempura batter was very light and 'locked' the freshness of the ingredients (white fish, prawn, purple sweet potato, brinjal, lady finger, mushroom). Even though deep-fried, the meal wasn't oily at all! In addition, a fragrant light soy-based sauce was drizzled over the fluffy rice. Oiishi!
All these meals were in the range of 800 - 10000 yen (S$10 - $14), usually came with miso soup, pickles, rice and free flow of Japanese tea. Pretty reasonable, considering the quality and quantity. Even if one were to be sick of Jap food, there is still a wide selection of different cuisines. Otherwise, fast food or convenience stores - there is no lack of food and drinks.

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