Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Hot drink from vending machine in Japan

Vending machine in Japan is quite advance and its everywhere. The machine sells item like hot drink, cold drink, cigarettes, coffee, water, energy drink, beer, alcoholic beverages and even beauty drink. The machine were high tech and its a next generation of vending machines.

I brought this hot red bean drink from vending machine in Tokyo. The taste were delicious and sweet.

Energy drinks such as these are quite popular in Japan as the lifestyle is demanding here. Tiovita and New Guromont are the famous brand here. Energy drinks usually are sold in small brown bottles and are supposed to give their consumer a boost of energy through a high dose of caffeine and other stimulants.

Plum drink and other energy drinks.

Hot beverages.

Premium ice cream of Haagen Dazs and Godiva in Japan

In most places in the part of the world, the ice cream brand name such as Haagen Dazs or Godiva is only available in huge hypermarkets or premium shopping mall. But in Japan, you can get these premium ice cream at any convenience stores. Not only that, the flavours available are also amazing and some weird taste as well.

Haagen Dazs premium ice cream with variety of flavours which can't be found in other countries.

For example special flavour of Japonais. Thick strawberry sauce with chocolate chips ice-cream.

Special edition Opera ice-cream only available in Dec 2014. Thick chocolate and coffee flavour. The best ice-cream tasted.

Rare cheesecake ice cream.

New chocolate brownie ice-cream.

Godiva imported chocolate chips ice cream.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Butter and Olive Pastry House @ Bukit Tinggi Klang

Originated from Taiwan, Butter and Olive opens its branch in Bukit Tinggi Klang recently. They have quite a number of outlets within Klang Valley and Penang with their headquarters located in Sri Petaling. Besides that, they also have their own bread academy which offers part time and full time baking course with a short course in Taiwan. Butter and Olive uses natural bread yeast, butter and fruits on its products.

Taste:8/10(Good. The bread were good and butter flavour. The cranberry bread with lots of cranberry and their spring onion bread with good aroma. Chicken floss bread and garlic bread were good as well).
Price:5/10(Near expensive. Their bread price average at range of MYR2.00 to MYR6.00 depending on the ingredient and size).

New bakery in Bukit Tinggi Klang.

Famous for their soft, not too sweet, light and tasty Hokkaido cake.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Mikiya Japanese Curry House @ Bukit Tinggi Klang

Mikiya opened its door on July 2014 offers Japanese curry dishes. There is not many good Japanese restaurant in Klang and none of them specialize in Japanese curry. They have quite a good deal lunch and dinner sets. Since the shop is quite new, I decided to give it a try. The curry were not spicy and the taste is rather good. I took their curry rice for two set which consist of two tonkatsu rice, salad, gyoza, edamame, two ice cream and a pot of green tea.

Taste:7/10(Moderate. Their curry taste were good and tasty. Goes well with the tonkatsu. However, the tonkatsu were a bit soggy and not crispy as I had it in Japan. Of course I can't compare this with the tonkatsu that I had in Japan as the food in Japan have a higher quality standard and made fresh. I ordered one pork tonkatsu curry rice and one chicken tonkatsu which is within their dinner set menu. Mikiya chicken tonkatsu taste better compared to their pork version. The salad is good as using the sesame dressing).
Price:7/10(Moderate. Ordered their curry rice set for two for MYR45.00. Plus tax is less than MYR50.00).

Mikiya Japanese Curry House.

My portion of pork tonkatsu curry rice. Its comes with some carrot and pickles.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Best roasted chicken of Ikkaku @ Yokohama, Japan

Found this restaurant via trip advisor by sorting the best restaurant serving Japanese food at a reasonable price in Yokohama. Ikkaku came out top and all the good reviews were in Japanese. The shop is quite difficult to find as it is located on 6th floor of a building near Yokohama station. I am the only foreigner visiting the shop and fortunately the staff able to speak basic English. All the menu were in Japanese and I know people come here for their chicken dish. So I follow the crowd as well. Do expect to wait around 20 minutes for them to prepare the roast chicken. The meal is worth waiting.

Taste:10/10(Excellent. The roast chicken here is excellent. The meat were so tender and flavourful. Although a bit oily, but the taste were so good and melts in your mouth. Slightly spicy and salty which goes well with rice. If you prefer to have it with beer, it is well recommended).
Price:6/10(Moderate. The chicken thigh price at 890 Yen. I add rice, soup and pickles at 365 Yen. Total include tax at 1,356 Yen).

The best roasted chicken.

Pigeon hole dinner at Ichiran ramen @ Shibuya, Tokyo

Having ramen in Ichiran was an unique experience. The serving was fast and its delicious. The restaurant is located at the basement of a building in Shibuya. As you enter the shop, you need to order your ramen via a vending machine. Choose on the type of ramen that you like based on the pictures. After you have purchased your ramen from the vending machine, the hostess will give you a piece of paper to specify your preferences of your ramen. You need to specify the thickness of the broth, richness level of the taste, the size of onions, garlic amount, noodles texture and option to have their sliced pork. Then you will go to the hall and seat to a booth where you are separated from others. This is pigeon hole concept. Then a person who you can't see will take your ticket and gives your your ramen. After that she just shuts the window and let you eat in isolation. Ichiran ramen is a chain restaurant and currently have more than 40 stores around Tokyo.

Taste:9/10(Delicious. You are able to customize your ramen according to your preferences. From the noodles texture to the richness of the broth are customizable. The broth was flavourful and spicy).
Price:6/10(Moderate. The basic ramen with sliced pork price at 780 Yen).

My delicious bowl of spicy ramen.

Delicious pastries from Gontran Cherrier Artisan Boulanger @ Shinjuku, Tokyo

Gontran Cherrier in Shinjuku located just opposite of south exit of the busy Shinjuku station. The double storey space at Southern Terrace were steps away from Shinjuku Lumine departmental store. I was attracted into this store as I saw many people were queueing to buy their pastries and bread. I thought to have a try since I was hungry at that time. From the display outside the shop, you can already see trays of beautifully made breads and pastries. I do noticed their pastries product were very creative as well with many unexpected varieties such curry baguette, green tea scone, squid ink baguette with cumin and miso cheese bread.

Taste:9/10(Delicious. Their butter croissant covered with milky crust is the best bakery item that I have tried so far. The taste were amazing and the croissant have much butter flavour. Aromatic, buttery fragrance, soft and fluffy. Their cheese baguette with cheese and olive also good as well with balance hint of saltiness. The green tea scone have full butter flavour however were a bit too sweet).
Price:5/10(Near expensive. The bread in Gontran Cherrier is not cheap. You get good quality pastries and bread from the price that you pay. The bread range from 200 Yen to 400 Yen per piece. The scone price at 230 Yen, butter croissant at 250 Yen and cheese baguette at 250 Yen).

Broccoli cheese pie.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Chee cheong fun at Restaurant Long Kei @ Taman Eng Ann, Klang

Long Kei restaurant serving good chee cheong fun and yong tau foo located near the wet market of Taman Eng Ann, Klang. Usually chee cheong fun will only occupy a stall inside a restaurant or sell on a bike. But Long Kei ability to occupy a whole shop proves their popularity. The shop does get crowded especially during lunch time.

Taste:8/10(Good. The chee cheong fun texture were good and the items were fresh. The sweet dark sauce is not too starchy and they also have curry as well).
Price:8/10(Cheap. The price of each piece range from MYR0.60 to MYR1.00).

Chee cheong fun with curry.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Cheap lunch set at Kappabashi Kiku zushi @ Kappabashi Street Kitchen Town, Tokyo

I found Kappabashi Kiku zushi located beside the famous Tsubaya knife shop from a signboard promoting their lunch set. Lunch set from Kiku Zushi quite value for money considering you get a hot pot of oyster soup, chirashidon and salad.

Taste:8/10(Good. The oyster in the soup were fresh in delicious broth. Chirashidon rice is slightly hard and sour. The sashimi quality on top of the rice were good).
Price:8/10(Cheap. The seafood lunch set with chirashidon and oyster soup price at 972 Yen including tax).

I ordered their seafood and chirashidon set. This set is value for money as it have sashimi chirashidon and fresh oysters soup.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

5 reasons why Japan convenience stores are so great

When you go to Japan, you can find convenience stores almost everywhere. These convenience stores are known as konbini. The strong competition between 3 major convenience store players (7-Eleven, Lawson and Family Mart) in Japan have created innovative products and services which makes Japanese convenience stores very convenient and reasonable price. These convenience stores opens 24 hours a day.

1. Premium unique flavour ice cream
When comes to ice-cream and confectionary, Japan have many amazing and unique flavours.

Haagen Dazs premium ice cream with variety of flavours which can't be found in other countries.

For example special flavour of Japonais. Thick strawberry sauce with chocolate chips ice-cream.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Ramen Nagi Niboshi Golden-gai @ Shinjuku, Tokyo

This Nagi ramen shop located at quiet Golden Gai street in Shinjuku. The area famed with old school bar district and seems deserted when I visit it on sunday. The ramen shop located on the second floor of an old wooden house. The smell of the sardine broth is so strong even you can smell it from ground floor. The stairs going up the shop is so narrow and cramped. The speciality in Nagi ramen shop is their thick sardine broth which they claimed boiled for 12 hours. The taste is distinctive and boldly flavoured sardine soup. Nagi is open for 24 hours a day.

Taste:9/10(Delicious. I ordered their regular Nagi ramen without seaweed, egg and bamboo shoots. The broth is thick and pungent sardine taste. The noodles is a mixture of broad and thin noodles. The broad noodles is something different as its soft and smooth. The pork slice were great as it was done medium rare and the taste were so good).
Price:7/10(Moderate. The niboshi ramen that I ordered cost 820 Yen per bowl).

Nagi ramen with some anchovies spicy sauce. See the broad noodles which is different from other shop. The great thing about ramen is you get a variety of taste from shop to shop and not just limited to pork based broth. The topping and the noodles offered are different as well.

Amazing food models @ Kappabashi Street, Tokyo

Kappabashi Street also known as kitchen town is a shopping street between Ueno and Asakusa. It have many shops selling everything needed by restaurant operators such as dishes, pots, pans, cooking utensils, stoves, tables, chairs, signs, lanterns and more. There are also a few stores which sell plastic and wax food samples, used by many restaurants in their show windows. If you ever visit to Japan, you will be amazed that most of the restaurant that you visit in Japan have food models outside their shops. For those who can't speak Japanese, these food models are very helpful when comes to food ordering. One can just come outside and point to the waiter on which food item that you would like to have. Not many tourist come here as mostly think this place only selling kitchen utensils. However, I am interested to know the kind of food models which are available in the shops here. Initially, I thought I can buy some of the food models as collection or souvenir. But when I saw, the price, I was shock of how expensive those food models are. By purchasing one of those actual size food models, I can actually have the real food 6 times!

Reached kappabashi kitchen town. I made a mistake of visiting this place on sunday which many shops closed. However, I was still lucky to be able to find some good shops still open.

Variety of tonkatsu. Don't visit here if you are hungry :-) You can't eat the plastic models.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Famous ramen of Menya Musashi main restaurant @ Shinjuku, Tokyo

Menya Musashi is a famous chain ramen restaurant in Japan and their outlet in Shinjuku is their main restaurant. Do come here early or later if you would like to have their delicious ramen queue free. The restaurant is a bit hard to locate as the signboard does not have any English wording. The shop name is in japanese and I was standing outside the restaurant for a while figuring whether I am at the correct restaurant. Until someone came out from the shop then I asked whether this is Menya Musashi and they said "yes".

Taste:9/10(Delicious. The lean pork slice were tender and fatty meat were good as well. You can taste a hint of orange peel in the soup and maybe that is the secret to tasty soup. The soup was moderately thick and enough saltiness. Noodles texture were good and the place were clean and comfortable - unlike some of the places that I went which is cramped).
Price:6/10(Moderate. I ordered their ramen with everything in. I had the version which the noodles inside soup with bamboo shoot, egg, pork and seaweed. The price was 1080 Yen including tax. You need the specify the amount of noodles that you would like to have either small, medium or large. Do make sure you are a big eater before ordering large portion).

Finally I found the shop. Located two streets away from the underneath izakaya of train lines.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Freshest sushi at Daiwa Sushi @ Tsukiji Market, Tokyo

Daiwa sushi is one of the famous sushi shop serving freshest sushi outside the Tsukiji fish market. Daiwa sushi always rank second behind sushi Dai in term of sushi quality in any review that you can find online. I decided to try out Daiwa sushi to know the difference of sushi taste compared to other sushi restaurant within Tokyo. They have no line when I arrived around 11.00am compared to Sushi Dai which still have long queue. The sushi prepared were so fresh and the chef put the correct amount of wasabi and soy sauce on the sushi. The taste were perfect. I am fortunate to have the old chef sushi master to prepare my meal. The sushi prepared were well balanced in term of fish thickness, rice quantity, soy sauce and wasabi. Sea urchin here were surprisingly sweet unlike some which are bitter. The seat inside the restaurant were extremely cramped and do prepared for it.

Taste:10/10(Excellent. The sushi were very fresh and the taste is different when compared to normal sushi restaurant. The secret is probably the sushi were made on the spot and the correct amount of wasabi and soy sauce were added by sushi chef. This way you can ensure that the correct amount of wasabi and soy sauce were used. I noticed that the squid sushi were extremely buttery and creamy taste unlike some other places which are rubbery).
Price:2/10(Expensive. The restaurant does not accept credit cards and make sure you have enough cash. Their omakase set - chef choice price at 3,500 Yen. Their sushi price is higher than their competitor sushi Dai their omakase only have 10 pieces of sushi compared to sushi Dai 12 pieces).

Busy restaurants outside Tsukiji market.

Get a seat in Daiwa sushi restaurant. I ordered the 3,500 Yen omakase sushi set.

Omakase sushi set start with 3 pieces of premium sushi.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Delicious pork sirloin tonkatsu at Tonki @ Meguro, Tokyo

Tonki is a famous restaurant serving tonkatsu located in Meguro area. This area is particularly famous for its sakura river view. Located around 3 minutes walk from the JR Meguro station, Tonki serve the popular cutlets of breaded, deep fried pork. The restaurant looks simple from outside but once you slide open the wooden doors, duck under the short noren curtain and step inside, you will realize that this restaurant will give you different experience of dining. You will be amazed kitchen area located in a large hall with only one horseshoe single long counter running three sides with no tables. The kitchen area are open and spacious. When you dine here, not only you have good pork sirloin tonkatsu but you also feel the environment of how the way people dined back in 1939 when Tonki was founded. The place is run like a factory production line. I know this place is going to get crowded so I arrived early at around 5.30pm. I get a seat as soon I entered the restaurant. By the time reached 6.00pm, people already start queuing at the back.

The choice in Tonki is simple. You choose either rohsu-katsu teishoku (fatty pork) or hire-katsu teishoku (lean pork) which is their most popular dishes. I choose the fatty pork version as I like the pork to be tender and moist. What makes the tonkatsu here different from other restaurant is they use whole piece of pork sirloin then double dipped in egg mixture before dipping in bread crumb coating and covered by another layer of egg mixture.

Taste:9/10(Delicious. The meat here were tender and moist. I am surprised of very little oiliness on the pork and on the bread crumb coating. The meat is whole piece of pork sirloin and firm with slight layer of fat. The original pork taste were maintained although the meat were fried. The soup provided is delicious as well. The Japanese are very well thought in their diet. Since having a whole piece of meat is considered a lot, the meal compliment with free refill of shredded cabbage to make up the lack of vegetable in the diet).
Price:5/10(Near expensive. The price of the tonkatsu here is actually higher compared to other normal restaurant in Tokyo which usually cost around 1200 Yen to 1400 Yen. Tonki set charge at 1900 Yen. The set includes free refill of shredded cabbage, rice and miso soup. However, the meat that they use are of better quality as they use the whole single piece of uniform meat sirloin for frying. You still can taste the real meat texture. Other restaurants are mostly from chopped meat).

Arrived at Tonki at around 5.30pm. The restaurant already almost full.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

260 years of unagi tradition at Izuei Honten @ Ueno, Tokyo

I was checking for lunch on my first day arrival to Tokyo during my March 2015 trip. Izuei Honten also show up as serving among the best unagi meal in Tokyo during my online search. So I decided to try on how well their prepare meal as this establishment already exist for almost 260 years. This restaurant is different from other restaurant in Tokyo which usually have limited space and only have 10-20 seats. But Izuei Honten have 7 floors of dining space which can occupy 150 patrons. The staffs are all dressed in proper traditional kimono. This place is recommended for unagi lovers.

Taste:9/10(Delicious. The unagi were well prepared and the rice were seasoned. The unagi here was pure, fresh and without any adulteration or masking of flavours. They have sansho (Japanese pepper) to put on unagi which makes the taste pungent).
Price:5/10(Near expensive. The unagi meal set shown below priced at 2,700 Yen. If you come early and able to have their lunch set, the price is lower).

Nice decoration inside the shop.

Cute utensils. Extra unagi sauce, sansho pepper and soy sauce.

I ordered the unagi (grilled eel) set.

The unagi grilled to perfection. Slight crispy with less sweet sauce when compared to my home country version. The rice were flavoured very well with their special sauce. The meal was non oily at all.

The texture were soft and non oily.

The meal set comes with pickles and soup. The soup was quite clear unlike miso soup which is cloudy.

There are plenty of miniatures inside the shop.

As soon you enter the entrance, you will be greeted by the miniatures display.

This is how the shop look like. Its just around 5 minutes walk from Ueno station.

GPS/Coordinate: 35.709723, 139.772690
Address: 2-12-22 Ueno, Taito, Tokyo 110-0005, Japan
Phone: +81 3-3831-0954
Hours: 11:00 am – 9:30 pm
Public transport: Ueno station. You can reach this station via JR or Tokyo Metro. This is a main interchange point on east of Tokyo.

Amazing leather clothing at The Real McCoy's @ Tokyo, Japan

The Real McCoy's is an amazing company which produce many high quality great military fashion gears. The fun thing about Japan is they have many shops selling Real McCoy's product which consist of cool leather jackets and jeans. The items produced by The Real McCoys are of high quality but of course you need to pay for the price. Their leather jacket can easily priced at 180,000 Yen to 240,000 Yen. And the shop does not participate in Japan duty free programme. So at that price, you still need to top up another 8% for the tax. The Real McCoy's leather jacket is branded as Buco. The Buco jackets especially the J24 and J100 model are the dream of leather jacket lovers. The jacket made from horsehide, have harder texture and smooth appearance makes this product well sought after and it does produce a beautiful patina when wear for a long time. The leather product does age as more you are wearing it. Anyway, all the stuff here are very expensive and it is for the serious fashion freak only. Enjoy the photos below.

The dream of leather jacket lover. Buco J24. Amazing jacket but price of over 200,000 Yen.

Huge stock of A2 leather jackets. You can basically get any size on the spot.

Japanese are fascinated with Amekaji style (American guys fashion).

A2 jacket in a cage. Wild Children.

Like in a dream world. Army Air Forces A2 flight jacket.

This is old vintage A2 flight jacket on display.

Amekaji fashion on display.

Cool J24 Buco jacket.

The J24 Buco jacket at the centre. So nice.

Many high end boots. High quality and made from high quality leather. Be prepared to spend around 100,000 Yen for one pair of these shoes.

Amekaji fashion on display. Leather bag, jackets and pairing with khakis pants.

Belts, hats, boots and shoes. Mostly leather products.

Awesome vintage settings.

Amazing collection of J24 and J100 Buco jackets.

Vintage J100 Buco horsehide cafe racer jacket. You can see the aging effect of this jacket. Nice brown patina colour.

Beautiful dark brown horsehide A2 Real McCoy's jacket with red satin lining.

Flight gloves. Horse hide.

Don't forget to visit The Real McCoy's shop if you visit Tokyo.

The Real McCoy's. Its time to go now. Bye.

GPS/Coordinate: 35.666160, 139.703346
Address: 6-25-8 Jingumae Shibuya-ku Tokyo
Public transport: Meiji jingumae Station via Tokyo metro Chiyoda or Fukutoshin line.