Trip Taken: 2007
It was a mission of mine to eat a huge variety of foods in Japan as I possibly could. I ate sushi, tempura, donburi, and even fast food from corner stores like 7-11 or Lawson’s. I’ve listed here some of the meals and snacks that didn’t really belong to any other post.
Vending Machine Steak Store
This is was definitely one of the more interesting dining experiences I have ever encountered in my life. Outside of the restaurant, there is a vending machine where you choose the meal you want. You put in the coins, choose your meal from the images on the buttons, and you receive your token to take inside. I wouldn’t have known how to do it if it wasn’t for the teenager who came before me. Monkey see, monkey do. Once inside the restaurant, you sit at a bar and hand the token to the waitress. She comes out a few minutes later with a hot sizzling plate. You put up one side of the paper so the splatter is deflected and wait for the sizzle to die down before you start eating. It was a tender piece of beef and worth the 800 yen price.
The Japanese have their own take own pastries. It’s heavily influenced by French techniques but I would say that a lot of it is now it’s own type of cuisine. I picked up a few sugary breads in a Tokyo bakery. One of them was the standard Sugar-crust bread and another was an apple-cinnamon bread. Both very good and not too heavy on the sweetness. They are definitely more like desserts or snacks than anything else.
Katsudon was a meal I had after doing some major temple hopping in Kyoto. It was the early afternoon and I had been up since 6am going from temple to temple. I was dead tired and didn’t care where I ended up eating. I went into the first eatery that was still open for lunch. I plopped down and pointed at the Katsudon picture on the menu. It tasted much like the katusdon here in the US. I guess somethings don’t change that much.
My ramen in the Shinjuku district was disappointing to say the least. It wasn’t the mind-blowing experience that I had envisioned. I probably went to the wrong place and it was already the last day during my trip. There was no second chance. The ramen was just alright nothing too fancy. I did finish the bowl but next time I will have to do more research and good ramen.
Matsuya, a Yoshinoya competitor, was the sign I saw walking in the main shopping area of Kyoto. They were serving beef bowls and with no Yoshinoya around I went right in. I ordered off the picture menu and got a beef bowl for about 500 yen. It was definitely much better and prettier than the US Yoshinoya beef bowls. I downed it like a gourmet meal.