Take a bite of these tasty treats from our trip to Tokyo. Itadakimasu!
by Erica Sanae
While Japanese designers are skilled at interpreting fashion through a distinctively Japanese lens, chefs in Japan are also successful at re-interpreting world cuisines using Japanese ingredients and techniques to create brand new genres. We enjoyed Japanese-Mediterranean carpaccio, the Japanese delicacy shirako as a gratin, purple risotto topped with shirasu (tiny whitebait fish), and pasta with Japanese sansho pepper. (PS Thank you Saori and Rickmond!)
Classic homestyle dishes like rice with tea and fish (ochazuke), and light dashi udon noodle soup with burdock root tempura (gobo ten udon), are warm and comforting on a cold day, and taste as though your Japanese grandmother spent all day making them.
Ramen is always a good idea, especially in the winter, and during one of Tokyo's longest snow days on record! There's soy dashi broth, rich tonkotsu bone broth, seafood-spiked broth, chicken infused broth, and the list goes on- there's a ramen for every mood and every day. The only rule? That you eat it quickly! Nagi Ramen is as narrow little joint in the center of Golden Gai- perfect after (or during) a night of drinks. Try it with a few splashes of the house vinegar spiked with sardines to add acidity to the rich broth. Ichiran is a great place when you want to give in to your cravings in private. Individually partitioned booths let you slurp your ramen in (relative) solitude.
Golden brown and deep fried foods are always a winner! Juicy tonkatsu (breaded pork cutlet) and kushikatsu (battered/breaded fried items usually on sticks) pair wonderfully with white rice to soak up the oil. Be sure to try the potato salad, one of Marie's favorite side dishes at these types of taverns- where we also had red ginger kakiage, a nest of fried red ginger matchsticks. For dessert, we even had tempura battered matcha white chocolate. Technically not deep fried, takoyaki (octopus balls) are cooked in a pan with spherical wells and shaped into round balls as they cook. These were the largest that we had ever seen- and straight off the griddle are like balls of molten lava! (Thank you to our consignor Kara for the Tonkatsu Maisen recommendation!)
KUSHIKATSU (TEMPURA STICKS)
Near Ebisu Station
Setagaya Boro Ichi Market
Google Map Link