#seachangechopsticks was born almost immediately as we arrived in Osaka. We navigated our way from the train to the subway station and headed towards Kuromon Market. We came across a very long line of local Japanese people at this tiny pastry stall. Upon further inspections we saw racks of little hot apple pocket pies. After cooking them, and right before selling them, they inject a cream custard into the middle of them. In my opinion this turned out to be the best food we had on our trip, and if you know me, you know I am a pie snob. Check out http://ringo-applepie.com to have a look for yourself.
Chopsticks were the next order of business. It had been suggested to us, that we buy chopsticks and use them throughout our trip, both as a great souvenir and memory, as well as to reduce the number of wooden chopsticks that we might use and then throw-out. As you browse our photos of Japan on Instagram, you will see our chopsticks heavily featured.
Kuromon Market, Osaka
This small, unique, and slightly touristy market was full of odd and wonderful things to taste, and to simply view. We indulged in several foods, and steered clear of many others. The most intriguing thing we ate, we originally purchased thinking it was a BBQ beef shank, but it turned out to be a very large fish bone, and most of the meat was tucked inside the bone rather than on the outside. If anyone knows what this might have been, please let us know.
The Lunch, Kyoto
“The Lunch” took place in Kyoto , near the Gion district. We were following directions to a Tempura restaurant, however when we found it, we decided at $US 40 a plate, that it was too expensive, and so moved on. We then stopped at a very traditional looking house/restaurant offering a set menu for about half the price. We decided to give it a try. The guy that showed us in, asked us about 4 times if we were sure we wanted to eat here, and that there was only one set menu. Perhaps this should have been our first clue, that it may have been a little too traditional for us to truly enjoy. All in all, what I can say is that we all loved the experience and that the kids will talk about it for a long time to come. The food however was a challenge for us. It consisted of a lot of very gelatinous foods, soups, tofu, and just a little raw fish.
The Cube, Kyoto
In Kyoto we discovered The Cube, shopping center, and this turned out to be a food mecca for us. The 11th floor was filled with restaurants of all kinds, in addition to several floors on the lower levels, that were closer in style to how food is served at Whole Foods, except there were floors dedicated to different foods. There was a floor, that looked like jewelry counters at Nordstrom’s, that were filled with the most beautiful chocolates, sushi, and other delights. We ate here often, selecting different locations. One of the most memorable and delicious was a little Chinese/Japanese place, that once again had a huge line of locals.
Festival Food Stalls, Nara Park
What do you call a stick of mozzarella cheese, wrapped in a very thin crepe, and then deep fried? This yummy delight, might be number two on my list of foods we tried in Japan. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the sashimi and the sushi, but I have had those before. This was unique, and not something I have had at home.
Silk Ice cream, Himeji Castle
Who knew, that when you are freezing cold, and it is snowing outside, that there would be ice cream at every corner. I began thinking ice cream to the Japanese, was like Starbucks to Americans. I finally gave in and bought the kids some soft serve ice cream, that tasted like chocolate ganache. Simply divine, and nothing like soft serve at home.
Harbor Kitchen Food Court – Udon & Tempura, Kobe
One again we found ourselves in a food court in a shopping center. This one was not quite so fancy, and was only filled with locals. We ordered our tempura and Udon Noodle soup, by pointing at the person’s food in front of us in line. Once again we were not disappointed. This was some of the best Tempura we had had.
Overall, I think you get the picture, we loved Japan and especially the food. Look at Cameron’s blog post for a more detailed play by play account of our entire trip in Japan.