Posts Tagged ‘shinjuku’

Ramen Jiro, Shinjuku, Tokyo

Yes, there can be not great ramen in Japan. There’s a chain in Tokyo called Ramen Jiro, which apparently is a good way to start your ramen tour in Tokyo if you’re trying to find the best ramen. I’d like to point out we first heard about this on a NY Times article about ramen (thanks Asta!). This article highlights finding the best (or local favorite) places for ramen. There are apparently blogs and serious ramen scholars dedicated to finding that perfect noodle. This article took some of those finds.

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The ramen place is on the corner of a small alley, and is actually near some other fast food restaurants we like (Mos Burger, anyone?).

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Like most ramen places, you go to the machine, put in some money, and get a ticket. We randomly picked (again) and got our tickets. This place is famous for using lots of garlic, and we hoped we bought stuff with garlic. We then sat at the counter, which was tiny. They actually had a couple booths but they reserved those for large parties of business men. By the way, the guy who took our tickets was a complete jackass. Yes, you heard it from my mouth – JACKASS. He completely ignored us, and took at least five other people’s tickets first. I was so upset.

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The chef was much more mild, and sometimes smiled. Whereas the jackass didn’t.

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This was Kyung’s. I have no idea what it was, other than it was a large size. I think it was pretty much mine, except with more noodles, while mine was smaller but had more meat. weird.

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Here’s mine. The final consensus? The broth is thick and really savory, but after like three spoonfuls of it you’ve pretty much eaten your entire meal. The meat was tough and flavorless, the noodles thick and almost too heavy in your stomach, and everything was covered in inches of sprouts. And this is supposed to be good ramen?

I think if I were drunk, and wandering the streets of Shinjuku with no shoes, I’d eat here. But otherwise, not so much.

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Tamago to Watashi in Shinjuku

When Kyung and I first started dating, he would randomly cook me omurice. I had no idea what it was before him, so it seemed fitting that while in Tokyo we would search for omurice. And search we did! We found it in the MyLord restaurant megamall that is part of the Odakyu mall, which also happens to rest on top of the Shinjuku station. And it’s pronounced ‘milord’ not ‘my lord’. The restaurant we went to was called ‘Tamago to Watashi’ and had a catchy sign.

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Now, before seeing this restaurant, I always thought omurice was basically just an omelet filled with rice (usually cooked with other little bits of meat and veggies). Here, it was that and more – everything came in unique sauces.

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Since they didn’t have an English menu, and the descriptive fake foods weren’t descriptive enough, we blindly ordered. I ordered omurice in a thick, dark curry like sauce filled with chunks of beef, carrots, and potatoes. The omurice was delicious (thin layer of egg crepe covering hot seasoned rice), and it went well with the thick curry sauce. Some of the chunks of veggies didn’t taste very fresh, but that’s okay, the rest of it more than made up for it.

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Kyung ordered another mystery dish with came with a red sauce and a large slice of what looked similar to Canadian ham. The omurice was tangy with the sauce, and pretty satisfying as well.

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This makes me appreciate omurice even more! Now at home when Kyung makes it I’ll probably make some thick curry sauce to go with it. It’s so tasty!

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Donuts in Tokyo

I love donuts. It goes to figure we would look for donuts while in Tokyo. Before heading over, I was curious to see if there was any difference. In a nut shell, they are less sweet than their American counterparts, and have different presentation and flavors. Overall though, I think I prefer the super junky donuts of the US, but for variety I’d go to Japan.

First up is Doughnut Plant. This isn’t a Japanese chain, it actually started in New York, but it is prominently displayed in several subway stations, so I figured I’d give it a try.

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I tried the pumpkin cake doughnut, the apple cinnamon glazed donut, and the kinako glazed donut. The pumpkin and kinako ones were fails. No flavor, strange after tastes. The apple cinnamon one tasted the most like what I would expect a fatty donut back home to taste like – it was moist, cinnamony, and soft.

Next up is Mister Donut, which apparently wasn’t always an Asian company but became a predominantly one when an Asian company bought the franchise/chain. These donut shops are all over Tokyo. We went to the one in Akihabara.

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I ordered a chocolate dip crueller which was sliced in half and filled with light creme, and a strawberry cake donut. The strawberry cake donut was pretty flavorless as well, but the crueller was delicious – the chocolate was perfectly hardened and had the right crunch when biting into that and the soft donut filled with creme that wasn’t too sweet. A good afternoon treat!

Here’s a better shot of the entire counter:

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Okay, for something a little less donut looking but still a donut, we went to a bake shop called Kimuraya. This was in the Matsuya Ginza shopping mall on one of the bottom floors. We ordered a curry bun, and an azuki (red bean) bun.

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The curry bun was delicious, even when cold. Kyung and I each ordered one, and it came in a deep fried bun filled with fragrant and delicious curry with bits of meat.

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The azuki bun was even more delicious – chock full of red bean that was not overly sweet, in a deep fried soft bun covered in sugar. I love eating these azuki ‘donuts’ and I eat them at home all the time too!

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Daily Ice Cream Ration

One of the things I’ve been known to do on each trip somewhere is to have that one thing that I do – whether it’s to look for a certain store, buy a certain item, or eat a certain food only. In the past some examples have been to only drink pineapple juice when ordering at a restaurant, or always buying a Gucci bag when visiting New York (I broke this streak the last time I went to NY, I think I’m getting soft). This trip my thing has been to have a nightly ice cream snack from the AmPm across the street. A quick look into my daily indulgence –
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On the first night I went a little overboard and bought a bunch of things, one of which was sweet potato pie haagen dazs. It was very tasty! The way it was packaged was really awesome too – crumble on top!
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I also got rum raisin on another night, but that was kind of a fail. Slight rum flavor, with raisin chunks, but overall pretty bland. I didn’t eat it in favor of eating the other one, which is a ice cream sandwich encased in a wafer outside, and with a thin layer of chocolate inside. That one was really good! I ended up eating a few other variations of it (green tea with azuki – red bean – layer, and then another vanilla one with a chocolate wafer outside and a crispy chocolate layer inside).
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One thing you may have noticed on this particular ice cream wrapper are the notations of 80 kcal. I don’t know if that’s for one sandwich, or half of it, or a quarter. What I have noticed though, is that people here, especially girls, are very concerned with calories and being thin. It’s a little unfortunate, because everyone here is already so thin, and while I’m sure they can’t be thin without such care when eating, it’s a little sobering that what I thought was an American obsession is actually elsewhere as well. Life is so short, is it really worth all the obsessing? After we die, I doubt people will paint us as ‘oh, that fat person.’

Anyway, besides my nightly ritual, I also sometimes ate ice cream at breakfast.

This particular strawberry parfait was gross. It tasted like cheap strawberry and vanilla ice cream.photo (1)

This one is very very good though – Lotte brand chocolate mochi. Thin mochi skin that was soft, and delicious chocolate ice cream inside. Yummers.
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I’m a little sad that once I head back to the States I can’t do my daily ritual anymore. There isn’t a convenience store down the street that I can walk to at all hours (and feel safe doing it). Maybe it’s better for my health!

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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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