So where were we? Oh yeah, we were talking about food. Welcome to part 2 of my Japan food highlights. Enjoy!
Deep Fried Oysters
Discovered in: Miyajima Island, Japan
Man how good are oysters? Natural with a little lemon squeeze, Kilpatrick oysters with worcestershire sauce, so damn good. But have you ever come across deep fried oysters? Because I haven’t. Until I visited Miyajima Island, a short ferry ride away from Hiroshima, Japan. First time I had heard of it, but some things I learnt were: deer roam around the island just like in Nara, their draft beer is extremely quenching and most importantly, they’re well known for their oysters. Literally, they have it with everything. Breakfast, snack, sandwiches, noodles, you name it.
But deep fried oysters were a first for me. I have a personal soft spot for oysters because in case I haven’t chewed your ear about it yet, I’m allergic to seafood. However over the years, the spell has magically started to wear off but not entirely. So I’ve been testing and trying and tasting different types of seafood in order to understand what exactly I’m allergic to. Oysters in particular, was the very first dish I had tried and amazingly it tasted delicious and was not met with a itchy tongue or throat. Seriously, deep-fried oysters are a tasty treat, definitely try it out if ever in Hiroshima or Miyajima Island, where they’re famous for the way they cook their oysters. You won’t be sorry.
Shinkansen Sushi Train
Discovered in: Tokyo, Japan
To carry on from the seafood allergy spiel that I’ve been rambling on about, let’s continue. Now, it wouldn’t be a true Japan trip without at least one visit to a sushi train restaurant am I right? This one wasn’t just any sushi train, it was a Shinkansen Sushi Train! You all know from my previous story (Untitled-2) just how much I love the Shinkansen (Bullet Train) so you could imagine how hard it was to contain my excitement seeing my sushi delivered to me via a speedy, sexy Shinkansen.
This time I stayed away from your usual salmon, tuna and prawn. My two mates ordered it, and hey it looked great but I had a different goal in mind. I love my beef, so naturally I ordered this assorted Hima Beef sushi. But the main goal to conquer was taunting me at every glance. Eel Sushi. Upon ordering it, I could already tell how slimy it was, meaning I may not stand a chance against this. But all I had heard about it from my friends and family was that Eel is great, and nothing short of yummy so I just had to try it. I was in Japan after all. The cost if worst came to worse was thirty minutes of discomfort in my tongue and throat regions. A small price to pay if it meant satisfying my curiosity. First contact, a slimy texture but the flavour followed almost immediately and it tasted so fucking good. Unfortunately what followed the flavour was itchiness. You guessed it. I’m allergic to eel, can confirm. Discomfort came pouring into my mouth, itchiness everywhere but by God it was well worth it.
(Source: Shinkansen Sushi Train)
Discovered in: Tokyo, Japan
Anyone want to start a petition with me to get a Coco Ichibanya in Melbourne? Japanese katsu curry is amazing, I covered my amazement of the dish in Part 1 already I know, however Coco Ichibanya is on a league of its own. How is it, that the dishes served at this godly place so damn good but it’s considered a fast-food franchise? There’s heaps of these yellow and brown buildings set up around every nook and cranny of Japan, the service is fast as hell and everything’s affordably cheap. But the greatest thing of all is that none of these factors affect the taste of the dish. Definitely spoil yourself with this place, I know I did, on multiple occasions.
That extra hit of spice from the curry sauce just makes this place so damn unique. The rice is soft and fluffy, the chicken and pork katsu is unrivalled. The only downfall is that inside, the restaurant is extremely hot and not well ventilated. But then again, you’ll be so busy digging into your meal you won’t even have time to be irritated by it. It’s addictively delicious.
Discovered in: Osaka, Japan
You’re kidding yourself if you don’t understand the appeal of Ichiran Ramen. It’s a ramen franchise that recently became heavily popularised after video bloggers took to the internet with their personalised experiences on this ramen restaurant. You can find a bunch of these restaurants all across Japan. I had my first experience in Osaka. What is it exactly and what makes it so unique? Well, enter any Ichiran Ramen restaurant across the country and you will get served the same, amazing experience. You’re first met with a automated vending machine that pretty much has the entire menu there for you to choose from. You can also pick your drinks, whether or not you want extras like more noodles, pork, egg and the like. Once your happy with your selection, you’ll pay the amount and a little ticket falls out the bottom. You’ll give that ticket to the waiters and waitresses there and they’ll then guide you to your seat. This is the best part. It’s pretty much an exam room setting. You’re split from everyone else, it’s just you. Walls cover the other customers. The person that serves you the meal? A little slot opens up in the front, you never see their face. How crazy is that? There’s a slip of paper in front of you, where you fill out how you like your ramen with Ichiran’s recommendations circled as well for reference. Once your order is ready. The slip opens in front of you and all you see are a pair of hands placing the delicious Ichiran ramen you just ordered in front of you along with the necessary beverages and condiments or extras.
Personally, this is one of my food highlights in Japan for two reasons: I’ve never had an eating experience like this before and it completely amazed me. The second reason is Ichiran Ramen has got to be the best ramen I’ve ever had the pleasure of trying. The texture, the pork slices, the broth, the noodles, everything about it was perfect. I’m no Ramen expert or anything, but I know a damn delicious meal when I taste one.
Hope I helped gargle your stomachs with all this amazing dishes that Japan has to offer. If you’ve already tried some of these, amazing. If you haven’t, go do yourself a favour and treat yourself to just some of Japan’s amazing meals.