Monday, February 13, 2017

Memorable Tokyo Eats

I haven't eaten anything in Japan that I didn't like or maybe I really just like food. We had ekiben which are boxed meals sold at train stations, bento (boxed meals) and onigiri (rice balls) from konbini (convenience stores), curry, ramen, donburi, etc. from whatever restaurant our hungry selves happened to gravitate towards. (For some reason we never thought to go to a conveyor belt sushi restaurant. Tsk.)

Of the six meals we had in Tokyo, all in different places, these two were the most memorable for me:

Komoro Soba

We stumbled upon this little restaurant while walking from Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden to Yoyogi Station. We were quite hungry and the shokuhin sampuru (plastic food samples) in the clear glass shelf outside this small corner restaurant caught our eye. We don't know what the dishes were—the descriptions (and prices) were all in Japanese—but everything looked good. Thankfully, I had paid attention to my elementary Chinese lessons way back when, that I could read the prices...and it was quite cheap with dishes starting from 230 JPY.

Order and pay here...if you can figure it out. It's in Japanese!

Although the restaurant's name is Komoro Soba, it does not only serve soba, but also donburi (rice toppings). We studied the display outside, picked what we wanted to order, went through the door and found a white kiosk where we had to input our order and pay. It took us quite some time because it was in Japanese! (Tip: Memorize or take a photo of the Japanese label on the display! Or just go before or after the usual meal hours when the restaurant isn't busy, the kitchen staff can surely help.) After paying, the kiosk spit out the change and the meal ticket. We gave our tickets to the kitchen and waited for our order. With speed and efficiency, we didn't have to wait long. As soon as we got our food, we settled down and ate our rice bowls (yes, it's a soba restaurant but all of us rice eaters chose a donburi). The serving looked small but turned out to be filling. We all agreed that the food was very good (mine was ten don 天丼 or tempura donburi). But we couldn't dilly dally in this place as more office workers on lunch break were spilling in through the door.

天丼 ten don, 四二0円 420 yen

Where can you find Komoro Soba? It has more than 80 branches in Tokyo! The one we stumbled upon was at 5-20-16 Sendagaya, Shibuya-ku.

Somebody in the group had the sense to search for ramen places and suggested we hunt for Gogyo, a restaurant that serves burnt ramen so says whatever it was he found on the internet. Off we went, no questions asked, after having our mandatory tourist photo taken with Tokyo Tower in the background. From Kamiyacho Station on the Tokyo Metro, it was just one stop and a 10-minute walk away. But I was so hungry that it felt like such a long walk and I had to ask "Are we there yet?" To my relief, and I am sure to my friends' relief (no more hearing the annoying "Are we there yet?" question from me), we found Gogyo.

I don't know what else was on the menu because I just zoomed in on the burnt ramen offerings: kogashi shoyu ramen and kogashi miso ramen. According to the menu, the kogashi broth is "prepared with lard (!) flambéed at 300°C." I am no food expert and don't know how to describe food, but, my oh my, my kogashi shoyu ramen with char siu was really really really good!!! Quite expensive at 1,130 JPY but well worth every yen I had to squeeze out of my wallet!

Kogashi Shoyu Ramen with char siu, 1130 JPY

Where can you find Gogyo? There is only one in Tokyo and it is at 1-4-36 Nishiazabu, Minato-ku. Aside from Tokyo, there are two other branches in Japan: Kyoto and Nagoya.

Know Before You Go
Single Entry Tourist Visa for Japan
Roam Around Japan with a Swagger
An Ignoramus in Japan: Vending Machines
An Ignoramus in Japan: Bathrooms and Toilets
An Ignoramus in Japan: Manhole Covers
I Spy With My Little Eye: Japan's Fashion Contradictions
I Spy With My Little Eye: On the Go in Japan

From Tokyo to Hiroshima (2015)
10D/9N | Tokyo, Toyama, Kyoto, Hyogo, Osaka, Hiroshima
Tokyo Accommodation: Shinjuku Airbnb
Tokyo: Memorable Tokyo Eats (you're here!)
Tokyo: Odaiba
Tokyo: Doing Touristy Things in Tokyo
Toyama: A Hamlet Called Ainokura
Kyoto Accommodation: K's House Hostel Kyoto
Kyoto, Japanecdote: Wisdom from the Road: On exits #2
Kyoto: By the Thousands (Kyoto Imperial Palace, Sanjusangendo, Fushimi Inari Taisha, Arashiyama Bamboo Grove)
Kyoto, Japanecdote: Turning Japanese
Kyoto: Braving the Crowds at these UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Kyoto (Kiyomizu-dera, Nijo Castle, Kinkakuji)
Hyogo, Japanecdote: If Only I Could Speak Nihongo
Hyogo: Day Trip to Himeji: Himeji Castle and Shoshazan Engyoji Temple
Hyogo, Japanecdote: Am I an Alien?
Hiroshima: Strolling and Snacking in Miyajima
Hiroshima: Remembering the Past in Hiroshima
Osaka, Japanecdote: How to Lose Friends
Osaka Accommodation: Osaka Airbnb
Osaka, Japanecdote: Where is Bentencho Station?
Osaka: Osaka Castle and Tenjinbashisuji Shotengai
Osaka, Japanecdote: Learn From Your Mistakes

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