Kushiage @Kushiage Shinjuku Tatsukichi
After watching an Anthony Bordain Layover episode on Tokyo, I knew I wanted to incorporate Kushiage into my list of must have meals.
I found Kushiage Shinjuku Tatsukichi after looking at quite a lot of online reviews and I’m so happy that I read ahead and added it to my list. It’s on the 9th floor of a building with signs only in Japanese so I basically never would have gone there without doing the research.
The staff were incredibly friendly as were the other diners at the bar. The concept of Kushiage is that these are little fried bites of amazingness that are prepared by the chef and delivered to you one by one as they are ready. You have no idea what you’re getting until it ends up on the plate. You pay at the end based on how many sticks of Kushiage you’ve eaten.
Each stick is paired with a different sauce. Here is the plate laid out with the Kushiage.
Kushiage Shinjuku Tatsukichi
They first roll the inside goodness in a light batter and then panko breadcrumbs and then into the fryer it goes. The tempura like batter is so light and the contents of the Kushiage are so delicious in flavor that it’s a really yummy glutenous meal served best with a draft beer. That being said, it doesn’t have the heavy greasy taste that American fried foods have.
Two of the winning sticks that I received included asparagus with a creamy pepper sauceas well as some kind of ham/cheese combo.
Although I could only get through 5 sticks because I got full pretty quick – diners around me took down so many sticks! Each Kushiage stick has a different accouterment and the chef lays them all out on a plate. The sauces included on my plate were spicy mustard, Soy Sauce, Japanese Curry, Salt, and Katsu. Also my mind was blown by this amazing little lemon squeezer that accompanied one of the sticks.
Oishi! おいしい Delicious!
Okonomiyaki Pancakes @ Asakusa Okonomiyaki Sometaro
I don’t think this is an insanely popular dish in Tokyo, but it came up on a few blog posts I was reading and then on some travel show I was watching.
I saw that Asakusa Okonomiyaki Sometaro was one of the top spots to get these and had an amazing Ryokan ambiance that I thought would be special for my time in Japan. You take your shoes off, sit on the ground with a small table and grill in front of you and enjoy the process of making your meal.
Asakusa Okonomiyaki Sometaro
Just a 5 minute walk from the tourist site of Asakusa, it’s a popular spot that often has a line outside of it (including when I went at 12 on a Wednesday afternoon).
For just about 900 yen for lunch I got to make a pancake. It was pretty good although I was trying to do something different and got one with fermented soybeans which for me – wasn’t a highlight.
You first get the batter in a dish.
Then are asked to mix it and lay it in a pancake form on a fryer.
Once the pancake is finished, you add on some thick soy sauce mixture and a mayonnaise like mixture and eat!
Fuunji Yoyogi, Shibuya 151-0053, Tokyo Prefecture
Ramen was a must on my trip. I LOVE RAMEN.
There are so many different Ramen options available in Tokyo and I had to choose just 1. I chose Fuunji based on a lot of great online recommendations and the line outside at 2pm on a Thursday afternoon was a good indication it was a solid choice.
People are pretty quick about eating ramen and the staff is super quick about serving it up so the line moves quickly.
You first have to choose one of 4 options and pay via an old school ticketing machine.
Then, you wait in a line behind the diners and peer pressure them to finish quickly.
The ramen is prepared right in front of you and it’s awesome. Huge pots of thick ramen sauce are simmering on the stove and the thick noodles are constantly being thrown into a boiling pot of water and then taken out and shaken until most of the water comes off.
The special ramen dipping noodles are served with noodles on the side and you dip the noodles into the ramen soup. It’s amazing albeit very very very rich. I couldn’t finish mine (but I was also very full). You can tell this is a soup that has been refined and developed over time with a ton of ingredients.
So much slurping!
Weirdly enough department stores play a huge role in the Tokyo food scene. At the bottom of each department store is a food bazaar that ranges from fresh meats and seafood to prepared bento boxes to incredibly gourmet desserts. I wandered into several and they were all amazing. Mitsukoshi and Isetan were two I liked the most – although they both scolded me when I tried to take pictures (I snuck some in).
Isetan Department Store
Isetan Department Store
And the fruit there is amazing and EXPENSIVE! That melon is $50!