Archive for the ‘Tokyo’ Category

Torafugu Tei – Ginza

I’ve eaten fugu fish and it’s been 5 hours and I’m still alive so I think that’s a good sign. Right!?

Kyung wanted to try fugu fish before we left Tokyo. Since our vacation days are winding down and we only have 48 hours or so left here, we scrambled to find a restaurant that prepared fugu fish. Fugu is not one of those fish you can find by just randomly stumbling into a sushi restaurant. According to Wikipedia, only a few places can legally prepare fugu fish, since the fish is so deadly if it’s not prepared properly. We asked around, and it seemed that even the locals didn’t know where to go really. I did some searching on Google and found a Yelp like local review tool for Tokyo called SunnyPages. From here I found reviews for a place called Torafugu Tei, a chain in Tokyo that specializes in fugu fish only.

We dashed into a cab in the rain and made it to the restaurant. The restaurant is inside what looks to be an office building, so from the outside you can’t really tell there’s a restaurant inside (though the office like building is on a street with many restaurants). We walked into the building and found the restaurant, which is split across several floors. We sat one floor below the main entrance, and you get to sit in a traditional dining room where just your party is ensconced in a small wooden room where you take your shoes off, and you sit around a table with an electric table top heat conductor in the middle. Very high tech!

We stared at the menu and decided to order the set course #1.
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Our first course was fugu skin sashimi that came in a citrusy ponzo sauce.
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The skin was thick and had a texture similar to cold pork belly. It was very refreshing with the light sauce and had a similar flavor to many starter sashimi dishes you would get at a restaurant that is Michelin rated. So far so good!

Second course was actual fugu sashimi, thinly slivered and arranged on a plate in the traditional fugu preparation style, which is a chrysanthemum (the flower for death). It came with a hint of lemon, more ponzu sauce, and various flavored greens like green onion.
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This dish was very refreshing as well. After I ate it, my inner cheeks started getting a weird tingly/itchy feeling that lasted for about 10 minutes. I kept stretching my jaws to get rid of the feeling. Kind of weird.

Next course was the deep fried fugu. The coating was very well seasoned, and the crispy texture of the outside complemented the soft and creamy fish inside. The only thing that was a bit bothersome was the fact that the fish was complete with bone, so you didn’t want to crunch into your fish too hard.
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After that was the fugu soup (like hot pot). This part was very shocking – we received large pieces of raw fugu that were STILL MOVING. See twitching fish here!

We boiled the fugu pieces with various light veggies like tofu, mushrooms, and cabbage shabu shabu style.
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The broth didn’t end up having too much flavor, unfortunately.
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We later took the soup and made rice porridge with it – that was yummy. We mixed in additional ingredients.
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The porridge came out much more flavorful and hearty. We added rice, raw eggs, seaweed, salt, and soy sauce. There was also pickled ume (plum) and daikon to add additional flavor (I loved the ume but not so much the daikon; Kyung gave me all his pickles).
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We ended with a simple slice of canteloupe.

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The simplicity and familiarity of the fruit after having such an exotic and unusual meal was a stark contrast. The meal was definitely a once in a lifetime experience, and while we were a bit worried about the poison, clearly we’re still here!

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Cobara Hetta – Akihabara

Would you believe there is Indian food in Tokyo? Not a lot of it, but enough to pique Kyung and I’s interest. Since we’re from Indian food heaven in Silicon Valley, how good could Indian food in Japan really be? While shopping in the major shopping mall Yodobashi Camera in Akihabara we decided to find out.

First, this Indian restaurant has fake food outside so you can see what you’re potentially ordering!
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Not something you see at home. In fact, you’re lucky if your menu even describes what you’re getting!

We ordered bhatura (unfortunately, does not come with cholle or channa), garlic naan, daal, and spicy chicken curry.
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The food was actually surprisingly really good! The food was prepared by Indian folks for one, and the food was pretty authentic tasting except for the fact that the spices were toned down a lot and the sauces were slightly more watery/thin than the Indian food at home. My daal had chunks of spinach and tomatoes in it, and was pretty satisfying. The bhatura was thick and fried just right. The garlic naan was very garlicky, and had the proper flavor and texture. The chicken curry was not that spicy, and didn’t come with as much chicken chunks as you’d expect, but Kyung ate all of it and was very satisfied with it.

That wasn’t all. We HAD to order the dessert when we saw CHOCOLATE NAAN.
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Naan filled with thick melty chocolate that was rich but not too sweet, and accompanied with vanilla ice cream with raspberry chunks. Wow. This is one of the best desserts I’ve had in Japan yet. We need this back home!

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Whopper 7 – Tokyo Exclusive

Okay, let me preface this with I am NOT only eating fast food while in Tokyo. I just happen to be slow about blogging about what I eat, and when I finally get to it, for some reason I focus on the fast food chains. I promise I’ve eaten lots of udon, soba, curry, tonkatsu, and raw fish! And countless pastries and sweets. Really!

Now, onto the Whopper 7. If you remember my Facebook post a few weeks ago, I mentioned this article from Yumsugar outlining this limited edition burger. It was meant to celebrate the launch of Windows 7, and would feature a 7 patty Whopper for 777 JPY to 7 days (from 10/22-10/29).

Since we’re in Japan, we thought it made sense for us to try it. However, the 7 days passed and we never quite made it to Burger King. Thinking it was over, we shrugged it off, and then suddenly today we passed a BK that STILL had it on the menu (until 11/6). But, the price was doubled to 1450 JPY. Undeterred, we tried it anyway.
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I’m not going to sugar coat it, it was pretty bad. It was a Whopper on steroids. Way too many soggy meat patties that couldn’t be held together by the soaked buns, and too little condiments/lettuce/tomatoes/pickles to offset the overly meat taste. I normally order Whoppers with Cheese (if I ever go to BK, which is not often at all), and so this burger was not only missing the cheese, it was too skimpy on everything else and just way too meaty.

We couldn’t even finish it and the sandwich fell apart quite quickly.
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It was a pretty hilarious experience all in all, and we sat there giggling at the monstrosity of our burger. A few other people in the restaurant ordered the same sandwich and took pics, so at least we weren’t the only suckers!!

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Mos Burger, Shinjuku

I’ve heard many good things about Mos Burger, so of course one of the things we had to look for in Tokyo was Mos Burger! Luckily, there’s one very close to the hotel we’re staying in.
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This is a chain like a McDonalds, but it’s very specific to Asia (Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, etc). I wasn’t too keen on trying the regular burgers, but I was very keen to try the rice burgers, which is basically a special burger where cooked rice is shaped into hamburger buns (top and bottom) and filled inside with beef, or seafood, or vegetables. I ordered the yakiniku beef burger.
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So unique – thinly sliced hot pieces of beef that tasted a lot like Korean bbq, fresh leafy lettuce like the kind you wrap Korean BBQ in, and rice patty top and bottom that was perfectly shaped with a slighty brown crispy outside. Mmm. They should have this kind of stuff in kogi trucks back home.

Kyung ordered the pork cutlet burger, which comes with a regular bun, and a tonkatsu filling smothered in BBQ sauce. He wasn’t a big fan, and only ate half.
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Finally, we also ordered a side of fries with the ‘chili dipping sauce.’ We were expecting spicy chili, but it was almost similar in texture and taste to Wendy’s chili (which is not a bad thing).
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A different experience, I’m glad I came here. It definitely puts my McDonalds experience here to shame!

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Tokyo McDonalds

…and she’s back! Thanks to my acid reflux meds and my decrease in stress, I’m on a semi normal eating binge again. Except for the occasional waves of nausea.

So, this comeback post comes to you live from Shinjuku, Tokyo! Kyung and I are currently on day three of our Japan trip. It’s been amazing so far! Our first meal in Tokyo was – you guessed it – McDonalds! I have a thing about going to a MCD in each country to see what’s different, since I practically know the MCD menu at home by heart. We arrived at our hotel room tired and starved after a long flight, and the first thing we saw was MCD. Bingo!
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We ordered the ‘shaka shaka’ chicken, which is a fried, flattened piece of chicken that you can ‘shake’ with different powdered toppings – cheese, pepper, and garlic. I chose the pepper one – it’s great, actually, it comes with black and white pepper, and it covers the chicken so it tastes almost like Korean fried chicken, crispy and salty as hell – mmm.

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Next, we ordered some mystery sandwich, which later turned out to be a Croquette burger – it was not very tasty, the croquette was oozing and at first Kyung thought it was a squid paste burger. Gross.

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Finally, I ordered the famed ebi filet-o. Again, a fail in my opinion – just like a filet-o-fish, but with chunks of mini shrimp, which was covered and oozing in oil. Somehow filet-o-fish patties absorb the oil better, whereas the shrimp patty is very porous because there are whole shrimp smushed together into a patty. I couldn’t finish this one.

Crikey, I was expecting lots from the Tokyo MCD, but was not too pleased. Oh well, at least I can say I tried it!

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