Tag Archives: noodles

I ate this stuff.

Here is a post dedicated to some of the stuff I have eaten but never got around to posting. I don’t even remember when or where I ate some of this stuff, but I did my best to write down what I could. Hopefully it gets you all excited for lunch.

Food in Kyoto

This is a bowl of ramen, loaded with green onions. Before it was ready to eat, it looked like this…

Fire!

Here’s a quick video of Michelle and I losing our eyebrows. The first half of the video is the owner holding up a bunch of cards in English to tell us not to run away screaming.

These might look familiar to some of you. We went to Din Tai Fung in Kyoto. That makes three locations we’ve been to now. Kyoto, Shanghai, and Taiwan. We’ve never been  back home in Los Angeles. Now it’s almost like we can’t go because it’s too pedestrian for us.

Standard dumplings but topped with shrimp.

Pork chop rice!

Kyoto is definitely worth a visit, though it’s not a fast-paced, modern city like Tokyo. While it’s not backwoods town, it seems to move at a slower pace, sticking to its cultural roots. We were glad to get a chance to see Kyoto, but we were also very glad to be heading back to Tokyo.

Some well deserved drinks for the train ride back.

We did a lot of walking. This is relaxation time.

Raumen Museum

If you haven’t figured it out by the last post, Japan has museums for everything, but they’re not quite like museums in America. They tend to be more like mini amusement parks than museums. The Raumen  Museum is even called a food amusement park on the Wikipedia page.

Here we are at the entrance to the Raumen Museum in Shin-Yokohama. The doorway is a noodle bowl! This is going to be awesome.

What we walked into was mostly a gift shop that also housed this remote control car racetrack. We proceeded to head downstairs to find out what else was going on in this “museum.”

One flight of stairs here was like a time warp, dropping you into a 1950’s Tokyo neighborhood.

Inside ramen shops representing different regions of Japan surround a plaza, where performers entertain guests.

I was baffled at this place. Although it did not cost very much to enter, it was obviously very gimmicky. I wondered why they would even bother offering a yearly membership to this place. Then I realized that it was really buying a pass to a food court that serves up some pretty delicious ramen.

This is probably the first amusement park I’ve been to where the food was good but not sugary or fried. If I lived or worked near the Raumen Museum, I think I might get an annual pass. It’s be great to have so many good options for ramen in one spot all the time.

Nissin Cup Noodle Museum

Michelle and I jumped on a train to Yokohama, a short ride outside of Tokyo. It was a day of noodles for us. We arrived at the Cup Noodles Museum, and there were kids everywhere. It reminded me of the time we made the unfortunate decision of going to The Aquarium of the Pacific on Labor Day weekend.

You can create your own cup noodles? We’re all over that!

On second thought, too many kids.

There’s even a kitchen where you can make chicken ramen with fresh noodles but again, too many kids. We decided just to get something to eat.

Noodles Bazaar! They serve different noodles from all over the world.

China.

Thailand.

Singapore.

Each noodle stand had posters to represent the country. China had Mao.

Korea had a Pokemon movie poster in Korean.

Kazakhstan had…Borat!

The coolest thing in the museum was the Instant Noodles History Cube from the very start in 1958. They had all sorts of instant noodles, stuff I’d never seen or heard of before.

A sculpture to the glory of noodles in a cup.

This man probably kept me alive freshman year of college. Raise your noodle cups in honor of a hero, Momofuku Ando.

Wandering Harajuku

Harajuku is a fashion-forward region in Tokyo. This is where Tokyo’s youth like to spend their time. On Sundays it is crowded, people everywhere. We didn’t step into most of the clothing stores because they were packed.

There are people everywhere!

Again with the options. Clean in any color you wish.

And the snacks!

So many snacks!

MoMA has a store where you can buy expensive, cleverly designed products.t

Japanese people love crepes. There are crepe shops all over the place.

They also love condoms.

Just a chicken sandwich from a fast food joint we poked our heads into while walking the area.

They cook noodles perfectly, but they also always cook eggs perfectly so the yolk is perfectly runny, not so thin that it runs away from the sandwich.

I really want this foosball table.

Stopped for a coffee break.

We got hungry so we stopped for some ramen. There is one rule in Japan for food. If the line is long, it’s probably awesome. We kept getting into lines and then realizing they were places we already had on our map to check out.

Hungry customers slurping down noodles.

Michelle always goes the spicy route. Always.

Egg, pork, chashu, bamboo, onions, and seasoned cod roe.

So, so very good.

 

Ghibli Museum and some more wandering Tokyo

I’ve got a golden ticket! Too bad they won’t let you take pictures inside the museum. Some of the animations are pretty neat.

They will let you take picture of the Giant Robot from Laputa Castle in the Sky. Our eyes are barely open here as the wind whips dust around everywhere. It was pretty painful being on the roof.

We tried to return the favor and take the picture of the couple behind us that took our picture. No, they trusted their five year old instead.

I did manage to sneak one picture of an exhibit from Princess Mononoke.

After seeing the museum it was starting to get rainy, so we decided to head back into Ginza to hang out in shops where it was dry.

That is where we found this.

And where I took this.

Sony has a great showroom, where you can play with all of its newest toys. These little cameras made me wish I had a smaller body camera like this, that is until I saw the price tags on them.

They have different lighting setups so you can play with camera in different scenarios. The software is so good on these cameras now that they adjust for damn near everything. The only thing these things can’t do is compose the shot. A great camera still doesn’t make you a photographer. Damn. I was so close.

Dinner was tsukemen. Every single place we stopped into cooked noodles perfectly. This was no exception. Great bite and the dipping broth was excellent. It was packed with flavor but not heavy.

After dinner we said we’d take an hour nap and head out on the town for the first night since getting to Japan. Four hours later we woke up and forced ourselves downstairs to our hotel bar. At least they had some good Scotch.

 

Early Morning Eats in Tsukiji

After wandering around the fish market for a little while we got hungry. We decided to get some ramen at a little stand we passed by earlier in the outer market. We didn’t even realize this was the ramen shop my friend recommended to me, Chuka Soba Inoue.

It opens at 4:30 AM, but prep starts well before that.

Different websites say they only serve shoyu ramen in chicken broth, but these bones used in the broth say otherwise, unless they have gigantic chickens in Japan. Regardless of whether other meat stock is also thrown into the mix, there is still only one item to order.

Early in the morning customers line up to get a warm bowl of ramen.

The master at work.

Chashu, bamboo shoots, and onions in a warm, savory broth. So delicious.

Seating does not exist here. Tables are set up for customers to stand street side. Here is Michelle is slurping down the rest of her broth as the sun begins to make its appearance.

Not being satisfied with only noodles, we decided to take in some fresh fish since we were in Tsukiji and had plenty of it available to us. We opted for chirashizushi.

Fresh fish, hours from the ocean and right into our mouths. You can’t beat that.

First Meal in Tokyo: Ordered by Robot (Kinda)

We took a redeye flight to Japan and landed at about 5:00 AM.

The sun was just rising over Haneda Airport. Since it was too early to check into our room, we dropped our bags off at our hotel and went wandering. Hunger quickly set in as we explored the city.

Here is Michelle putting in our order for our first meal. Since all taxes and service fees are included in prices, a lot of restaurants use vending machines to take orders. Select your order, insert your money, and out comes a ticket for your order.

This is one of the more advanced units that has a digital screen with photos of the food, which makes ordering easier for people that don’t speak or read Japanese like us. Others just had mechanical buttons with Japanese writing on them.

While the use of a vending machine may seem a bit odd, it’s pretty common in restaurants in Japan. It is not a lack of personal touch either, as there is often someone in these restaurants to greet and seat you after you’ve ordered through the machine. I wish we had more of this in America. I’d probably have my food order screwed up less often.

Who wants to go to Japan?

Lately I’ve been working on planning our upcoming vacation to Japan. I find that using Google Maps is super useful for planning options. I’ve thrown together some of the items that we have available to us when we are in Tokyo.


View Tokyo in a larger map

While I’ve done a lot of planning, I am relying a lot on the work that other people have already done. I’m supplementing my map with this great map of noodle joints thanks to Ramen Adventures.


View Tokyo Ramen Shops in a larger map

I’m so excited!

Zenya

After running some errands in Torrance, Michelle and I decided to check out one of the two Japanese restaurants I saw the last time I was picking up some Oskar Blues G’Knight at BevMo. We decided on Hakata Yamaya. Unfortunately reservations had the place all booked up. Instead we settled on Zenya next door.

The first thing we noticed were drink specials, on sake martinis or pop drinks.

Green Tea Pop Drink and Green Apple Sake Martini.

Chicken Karage, done in chicken wing fashion.

Gyoza. The best part is the fried skin, so they give you a whole pan full of it.

Tonkotsu Ramen.

Shio Ramen.

I did get to try a new beer at the place. Unfortunately their fridge is so cold that the beer was a slushy in the bottle. I had to wait for it to thaw a little bit before drinking it. Even so, it was a pretty tasty beer.

Zenya was overall a disappointment. The chicken and the gyoza were decent, but the broth on both ramen bowls was pretty bland. We still need to check out Hakata Yamada, but if the place is booked again, I will just wait for the open table.