Mixed Plate Friday

One of the many gifts Kat gave us! I finally cracked open the Japanese Sriracha, I didn’t even know they had one! And you know we had that shortage for a while so it as hard to even get a hold of a bottle. And then people were saying it doesn’t taste the same anymore? I think they started using different chili peppers, boy oh boy. I was able to get a new bottle and I guess I agree that it tastes a little different but not awful. Sorry, got off-track. So how was the Japanese one? I liked it! Good balance of garlic and heat with a nice sweetness to it. I enjoy it a lot!! Thank you again Kat!

This was a gift from Chan’s friend and I had no idea what it was. I honestly thought it was like a biscuit or senbei. That was until we asked a coworker and was told it was miso soup!! I had to try it immediately and oh my goodness, it was delicious and look!

It is stuffed with all these great veggies and cute fishcake…what a great miso soup! I definitely have to look for this next time I am in Japan!!

Tanto Tonkotsu Black Ramen | $18.00 (includes 5 pieces of Tanto Gyoza)

Don’t have enough for a full post but Tanto Gyoza and Ramen Bar is located in Puck’s Alley in Manoa. They specialize in gyoza (yes, the gyoza is good) and the ramen is good too! But I think I need to try another broth, this one might be too rich for me so I get tummy ache. I think I get tummy ache from plenty foods…hmm…anyway, worth a try!

Chuka Soba Aoba – Ikebukuro, Japan

Located in the Sunshine Mall, Chuka Soba Aoba is just a small little chinese noodles soup that we tried. I actually think this was the first real bowl of ramen we had during the whole trip. It was a nice fill up – nothing too fancy or frou frou. The line was constant and they had a good system of seating. Singles were seated at the bar between the partitions and parties of 2 or more got seated at a table.

Super busy place and actually mostly locals which is a good sign right?

Chan got the tsukemen

I got the regular ramen. I gotta admit, it was the egg in the picture of the mall directory that got me. I just love Japan eggs so much and look at how bright deep orange these yolks are. What I was served looked exactly like the directory photo. Delicious! By the way, this is all they have. Ramen or tsukemen, nothing else. No gyoza, no side dishes, just noodles.

Nihonbashi Sui – Machida, Japan

Chan found his favorite kaiten sushi restaurant during this trip. On this day, we went to Grandberry Park to visit the Snoopy Museum and stuck around to get lunch. We timed it (by accident) perfectly, we were able to line up for the lunch openings. Plenty restaurants had long lines already so we decided to try Nishonbashi Sui – we were like 2nd in line so that was great! I can’t find too much online about this place, does anyone know if this restaurant has any other locations in Japan? The only cool thing I found was that it’s owned by Kyotaru! What a throwback, I used to work for Kyotaru. So that means I’m technically part of this family right?

We ate choke. I don’t have any prices or descriptions, just enjoy the pictures (there are a lot of them).

Kiharu – Kyoto, Japan

Chan and I took the shinkansen (thank you Rail Pass) from Osaka to Kyoto which was a breezy 15 minute ride. We met up with his friends Mai and Tomomi. Kiharu (NOT KIHARU Brasserie – also located in Kyoto) is Mai’s favorite restaurant, so much so that she makes the journey from Tokyo to Kyoto just to eat here. And when she’s in Kyoto, she’ll eat at this restaurant like 3 nights in a row. She loves it that much! Quite a tall order but my gosh, what a wonderful experience. Yet another restaurant we would never have found on our own, very small restaurant run by the master chef and him alone. It’s all by reservation so no walk-ins, you sit at the bar and he serves you dish by dish. It’s all omakase, you do no ordering, it’s based on his shopping finds that morning. If you’re a drinker, he serves up nice sake pairings with each course.

The master chef was so wonderful and happy, even though us tourists couldn’t communicate with him, he was excited and tried his best! He was also overjoyed to hear we were from Hawaii lol. This was an experience like no other! Highly recommend if you are able to make you reservations and can speak Japanese lol.

Green Pea Soup, Tofu wrapped in Fried Mochi Bits with Yuzu Miso

What an interesting soup, great starter. Awesome flavors, super fresh ingredients. The taste of fresh peas? Can’t be beat!

Green Salad with Fried Yuba and Goma Dressing

Simple enough dish but the fried yuba is so good. Light and crispy, loved this salad anad the different textures!

Buri and Hirame Sashimi

Can’t go wrong with fresh locally caugh fish. Delicious!!!

Big Daikon Oden with Aburage and Yuzu Zest

Simple dish right? But aren’t simple dishes the best? He visually showed us with his hands how big the daikon was that used to make the oden. I believe him. Perfect melding of flavors.

Roasted Onion with Homemade Salt and Fried Soba Miso Dip

Okay, not all dishes can be winners. This dish wasn’t bad but it wasn’t my favorite. He roasted the onion over his grill and…it’s not like the onion takes in the smoky flavor you know? He deep fries buckwheat and mixes it into the miso. It was okay.

Salmon with Giant Shishito Pepper and Garlic Sauce

Salmon? Check. Giant Shishito Pepper? Check. Garlic Sauce? Check. I’m just ticking off all the things I liked in this dish. Yum!

Fried Taro with Fried Pickled Sakura Leaf

Another winner dish! Taking a bite out of the taro and then a bite out of the sakura leaf, the balance or the dense starch with the sourness of the leaf? Delicious! I enjoyed it quite a bit!

Matsutake Mushroom Rice with Carrots and a Chicken Base

Closing dish of the night, to me, just simple home cooked style dish. Comforting on a cold night. Look at how brightly colored the carrots are! It was delicious. Thank you again to Mai and Tomomi for a wonderful dinner and the wonderful company!

Bikkuri Donkey – Osaka, Japan

When my friend and I visited in 2022 and stayed in Osaka, we really enjoyed Bikkuri Donkey. It’s a silly name and really more of a family restaurant vibe (imagine Japan Denny’s but specializing in Hamburger Steak). This is a perfect place for tourists because it’s just all kine burgers and fried foods. Anyway, we ate there twice in about as many days but always in the Dotonbori location. Chan had quite a laugh at the name of the restaurant and we would toss around jokes leading up to the trip but you know…that I had to make a return visit. So we did! Visited the Umeda location this time, same good food. They do have an English menu, just gotta ask!

Zangi & Potato | ¥620

Appetizer! I don’t know why it’s called zangi, just wanted some fries and chicken karaage, was good!

Black Demiburg Dish (300g) | ¥1,610

I’m trying to find the exact item names and prices for you folks – I think Chan must have added an egg to this dish so I’m sure it cost a bit extra. He enjoyed the dish!

Egg Curry Burger Dish (300g) | ¥1,610

My dish. I’ve been getting this since the beginning of my visits and I love it. Something about it works and I’ll continue to get this dish, thank you!

Folk Kitchen – Osaka, Japan

Folk Kitchen is located within the Hilton Osaka. Thanks to Chan’s perks, we were able to eat breakfast free in the hotel and boy did I enjoy eating here. Haha one morning as we were waking up, he asked me if I was okay because I had been laying there and I just meekly answered…”Folk Kitchen?” That’s how much I was looking forward to eating there. You just had to be there haha.

Folk Kitchen offers a full breakfast buffet and you know Japanese restaurants are going to do right by buffets. No disappointments here! And for some odd reason, I loved the apple juice in Osaka. Specifically Osaka lol.

We came pretty early in the morning so we could avoid the crowds, mission accomplished!

Smaller portion of food this round. They had battered fried fish with tartar sauce (I loved it!), tater tots, fried rice, etc.! They also had a Japanese section to make Japanese style breakfast, and a congee section!

I absolutely toasted my own slice of bread and slathered it in butter and strawberry jam. YOU BETCHA.

Day 2! Much fuller plate. The brown noodles I think were yakisoba and were bland and junk! The pasta was good and I ate plenty saba! Chan must think I’m crazy but I really really enjoyed Folk Kitchen and it was definitely one of my top places we ate at!!!! Yum!

Kura Sushi – Osaka, Japan

Yay! We got to a Kura Sushi! Woohoo! Conveyor belt sushi for a great value – super easy for tourists. Once you’re seated, you can make your own hot tea and order on their iPad that has English as an option! Every five plates you eat, you input them into their cleaning dispenser located right in your booth and you can “play” a game and win a prize! I put play in quotations because it’s really just you watching whether your cartoon character “wins” their game on the screen. We didn’t win anything lol. Not much details or prices on these pics, just a bunch of spam photos (not literally)!

Fresh Salmon with Mayo and Onions
Can’t go wrong with this!

Raw Scallop
I steered clear just in case. I don’t know how far reaching my allergies are to raw shellfish.

Raw Shrimp
Raw shellfish…sigh…

Otoro~!

Tuna Salad
Of course this was mine, don’t you know me by now??

Shirako with Ikura

Okay, remember the other post where I said I liked shirako. Here’s the place where I tried it second and did not like it lol. It was groce here. So sad.

Tan Tan Udon
Ehh, just alright.

I forget haha

Chawan Mushi (look at that crab!)

It me! *waves*

LOL!!!! The cheese sauce wasn’t bad!

Mixed Plate Friday – Japan

Beef Gracoro Set | ¥770
Filet-o-Fish Set | ¥680

I am just imagining V asking me why we ate at McDonald’s. It’s different in Japan ok! And this was breakfast sets! The filet-o-fish was good, just like it tastes here. But can we get these salad shakers back in America?!

This was the salad dressing – goma dressing. Yum! Squeezed it in and then shook it up!

Gracoro Burger is a sandwich with a patty of macaroni, shrimp and white sauce. Chan had this, I think he said it was just alright. Me reading that description already triggers a tummy ache haha. But hey, when in Japan – gotta eat the Japan exclusive sets!

Wailele American Beer Bar

We headed to a cute little bar in Shibuya after dinner with friends, they specialized in Hawaii beers. Was super cool and the couple running the joint LOVE Hawaii. I thought it was really cool to see the different beers and they were even selling Maui Towels to raise money for Maui.

Bar Food – I’m sure V would enjoy this. It’s lost on me since I don’t drink.

Hey Kat, is this a good Tokyo People post? LOL nah if any of you are offended by this picture, I’ll happily remove it. This a late night on the train, the only late night I had on a train and well, this is what I saw. He had the whole row of seats to himself lol. Poor cleaners.

Nanpeidai Goryo-san – Shibuya, Japan

Thanks to Chan’s friends, we got to try another awesome Japanese restaurant we probably would never have found ourselves. Nanpeidai Goryosan is located in Shibuya in a residential building. They specialize in vegetable and meat rolls on skewers that are grilled. Not tourist friendly, thankfully Chan’s friends did all the ordering!

This is pretty cool, the server brings this platter out to every table to show you what the different items are. I assume they don’t use this for actual cooking because I saw a waiter sneeze on it lol. I can probably read most of these signs but it would just take 10 years for me to read and then translate it in my head.

Kampachi | ¥880

I’ll try my best to find the prices and names of these dishes. This was a seasoned kampachi sashimi dish. Very good!

Red Sangria | ¥600

I actually drank alcohol, can you believe it? I did not feel good after drinking this. It got to me a bit so it just further cements that I shouldn’t drink. I mean, isn’t this basically a juice? LOL

Seasoned Cabbage

If you know, you know. When you go to these yakiniku places, they serve up some seasoned cabbage as a free service. It’s very lightly seasoned with probably sesame oil and salt?

Assorted Meat Vegetable Rolls

Okay good luck folks, I don’t know what these were. They were all good though!

Shirako

You folks know what this is right? If not, sorry about this. This is fish sperm. I have never had it before but I think this is from cod? I don’t know. Well how was it? Not looking for a that’s what she said moment but man this tasted good. It was super clean tasting. I enjoyed it a lot. I tried this again in another restaurant that maybe wasn’t as high end and did not like it there. It was good here!

Deep Fried Yamaimo | ¥580

Very good! Surprisingly light and not that gooey haha

I forget what this was. Was good though, how can anything served in that much butter/oil not be good?

More meat sticks in my mouth! That’s what she said.

Heh. I don’t remember what this was either lol.

Iburigakko with Cream Cheese | ¥500

My freaking favorite dish of the night. It’s smoked daikon rolled with cream cheese and I just didn’t even know what it was when it was served so I thought it was some kind of char siu (lol). Do we have iburigakko here in Hawaii? Does Don Q import it? I need to eat it again!!!!

Hong Kong Hanten 0410 – Shinjuku, Japan

Have you heard of Baek Jong Won before? I’m sure you must have if you follow Korean stuff. If not, he’s a very famous Korean chef and I was so excited to finally try his food! He has a few locations in Japan – not sure why he calls it Hong Kong Hanten 0410 – they serve the Northern Chinese cuisine we see here in Hawaii but Hong Kong is not Northern Chinese (though he loves visiting Hong Kong). Anyway, sorry for the confusing words – let’s get to the food!!!!

Complimentary pickles and raw onions – gotta have em!

Tangsuyuk (Large) | ¥2,600

Looks as good as it tastes! So light and crispy – love when the batter is light. Delicious! We over ordered hehe.

Gogi Jjamppong | ¥1,250

Chan’s dish, he enjoyed it! It was actually spicy so that’s good because he’s Korean and he can handle spice.

Jaengban Jajang | ¥1,950 (serves 2)

I saw this on the menu and had to get it. I don’t know why they only serve this as a 2 servings dish, I wish they offered this just as a single serving? Well it doesn’t matter, I ate it. I was hoping to share it with Chan but let’s be real – I just bodied it myself after he tried it. It was the best jajangmyun I have ever had in my life. I liked this one because it’s all stirfried together and it has all these vegetables and seafood in it. Man, I’m still salivating thinking about this dish. I want to eat it again.