Saturday, July 25, 2015

Tasty uni ikura don from Sushi Zanmai @ Tsukiji Market, Tokyo

Tsukiji market in Tokyo is a one stop centre where you can find the best and freshest raw seafood. One of the attraction dish here is uni ikura don which combined two best melt in your mouth delicacy which is sea urchin and fish roe (red caviar) on top of cooked rice. The firm globes of salty salmon roe complement well with the rich and softness of sea urchin. There are many variation of rice bowl available in the market but I found uni ikura don offers the best flavour.

Taste:10/10(Excellent. Fresh fish roe and melt in your mouth sea urchin. Adequate flavour on the rice with slight sourness of vinegar and the sea urchin taste sweet).
Price:3/10(Expensive. The rice bowl priced at 2,800 Yen).

Rice bowl with a lot of caviar.

Uni ikura don. Sea urchin and fish roe rice bowl. I like the popping juicy fish roe.

Fresh fish roe.

I eat it from this Sushi Zanmai shop in Tsukiji market.

GPS/Coordinate: 35.665316, 139.770458
Address: 4-4-3 Tsukiji, Chuo 104-0045, Tokyo Prefecture
Public transport: Tsukiji station on Hibiya line Tokyo metro or Tsukijishijo station on Toei Oedo line.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Okame Sushi @ Tsukiji Market, Tokyo

Okame serving great sushi without waiting in a long queue if you want to savour fresh sushi of Tsukiji market. Just located beside two famous sushi restaurant - Sushi Dai and Sushi Daiwa, Okame is surprisingly less queue if compared to both. In term of quality, Okame does serve fresh sushi with even more pieces when compared to Sushi Dai and Sushi Daiwa. Having tried Sushi Daiwa before, I can tell the difference between both. I ordered "Omakase" course which was assorted sushi combination selected by a sushi chef, and quite like the taste of a few pieces of sushi. Some of the pieces with some salt on top of it which creates an intense saltiness and adds flavour to the sushi. This sushi restaurant is good and it is one of better the sushi bars in Tsukiji market area. If you have limited time and don't want to queue in long line, Okame is simply an option to consider and it will never disappoints you in taste.

Taste:9/10(Delicious. The sushi were very fresh and the taste is great. The sushi here is a bit different as some of the sushi have soy sauce ready and some is not. Also, some of the sushi have some salt on top of it which is quite unique. Their sea urchin, toro and fresh prawn is taste the best. Buttery and creamy. Sushi Daiwa taste better than Okame but it's not that far off. The difference is Sushi Daiwa have their sushi ready with correct amount of soy sauce and wasabi which makes the sushi taste better).
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 3,600 Yen. The price includes 10 pieces of sushi, a tuna roll and a choice of 2 extra pieces of sushi).

Long queue outside Sushi Daiwa and Sushi Dai.

Looking for other good sushi option which have shorter queue.

Came to this sushi restaurant. Okame.

Similar environment inside Okame compared to other sushi restaurants.

There are two chefs preparing fresh sushi.

You can see that the queue start to build outside.

My first 5 pieces of sushi.

The broiled tuna comes with dash of salt. It does enhance the taste of sushi.

Scallop, broiled tuna and raw ebi prawn.

Horse fish sushi.

Ikura or fish roe.

Delicious sea urchin with dash of salt.

Tuna roll.

Last two pieces of toro or fatty tuna.

Delicious hot miso soup.

Satisfied breakfast.

GPS/Coordinate: 35.663705, 139.769599
Address: 5-2-1 Tsukiji | Tsukiji Fish Market Bldg. No.6, Chuo, Tokyo Prefecture.
Public transport: Tsukiji station on Hibiya line Tokyo metro or Tsukijishijo station on Toei Oedo line.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Japan bullet train (Shinkansen) experience

Japan’s high speed bullet trains, also known as Shinkansen trains give visitors an experience to reach to their destination on time with speeds reaching up to 320 kilometre per hour. The main Shinkansen lines with bullet trains include Tokaido, Sanyo, Tohoku, Joetsu, Nagano and Kyushu. Most popular routes include Tokyo to Osaka and Tokyo to Nagano with high frequency departures and punctual. Lets follow me below to discover my experience of boarding bullet train from Tokyo to Nagano.

Check your train departure on the electronic board to determine the platform to board the bullet train.

If you are hungry, you can quickly purchase one of these bento box to have it on the train.

There is also bento box which comes in the Shinkansen train form. After the meal you can keep the lunch box as a souvenir. Brilliant!

Very busy Tokyo station. Heading to the train platform.

The bullet train is very long indeed.

Boarding Hokuriku Shinkansen to Nagano. The Hokuriku Shinkansen began service in 1997 as preparation for Nagano Winter Olympics.

Selfie with the train at Tokyo main station. Only here you can see many types of Japan bullet train as here is the beginning of all bullet train in Japan. The bullet trains here will go to Osaka, Nagoya and Toyama. All the trains look new and clean.

Inside the bullet train. Its a long distance travel. So its normal for the passenger to carry large luggage on board.

Spacious and comfortable seating.

You can purchase hot drink, soft drink or even alcoholic drink on the train.

Push cart in the train. Look, you can even purchase Hello Kitty toy, snacks and heavy meal such as lunch in a form of bento box.

Purchasing bento box on board the train as I haven't had my lunch yet.

Neat chopstick packaging.

Wow the meal is so nicely prepared. It's nutritious as well. With this meal, it covers my lunch needs for vegetables, meat, dessert and seafood. The rice were slightly sour with sour plum and glutinous rice wrapped with lotus leaf. Surprisingly, the price of the bento set is quite reasonable with same price as at the station. There meal were tasty and I can rate it 8/10. My only complaint is the bento box is a bit cold. Maybe the meal prepared much earlier as its already late afternoon.

Fried mackerel, tempura and spicy vegetables.

View from the train which route from Tokyo to Nagano.

Almost reaching Nagano with nice mountain view.

Reached Nagano station.

While waiting for train, you can have your hot meal on train platform.

Nagano station.

Nagano was host to 1998 Winter Olympics.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Dark shoyu broth ramen from Shinpuku Saikan @ Nagano, Japan

This ramen is the largest portion of ramen I ever seen. I didn't expect the ramen to be such huge bowl with all the ingredients. Shinpuku Saikan ramen originated in Kyoto have an outlet in Nagano. Since this is the first time I tried dark shoyu broth ramen, I was surprised by the dark color of their soup. After simmering chicken and pork bones thoroughly, their secret special rich sauce made from Kyoto-made soy sauce is added. Though the dark colour of the soup makes the soup looks very strong, the taste is surprisingly light. The ramen bowl that I have consist of straight noodles, slices of roast pork, plenty of chopped green onions, bean sprouts, two eggs (one raw and ajitama egg), bamboo shoots and the soup create a perfect match. Surprisingly this bowl contains 8 pieces of roast pork!

Taste:8/10(Good. Shinpuku Saikan ramen seems to be a healthier option of ramen as it contains balanced amount of vegetables and meat. The roasted pork or char siu is good with tender noodles. Ajitama egg were perfectly done and taste good. My only comment were the bamboo shoots are a bit crunchy. Would be better if softer).
Price:7/10(Moderate. This bowl of ramen is a good deal if you are big eater. Priced at 1,100 Yen, you get 8 pieces of roast pork, plenty of bamboo shoots and two eggs. The noodles portion is huge and you can drink the soup as well if you don't mind the saltiness of the soup).

Shinpuku Saikan ramen. Contains all the ingredient that a bowl of ramen should have.

Lovely dinner.

Ramen noodles. Slightly different type of noodles.

Ajitama egg.

The cook busy preparing ramen. You can sit at the counter or individual table. Its open kitchen concept. You can watch all the ramen preparation process if you sit at the counter.

Environment inside the restaurant.

Visit this ramen restaurant in Nagano if you looking for budget eat.

GPS/Coordinate: 36.645297, 138.187291
Address: Nagano-ken, Nagano-shi, Minaminagano, Kitaishidōchō, Japan.
Opening hours: 7.30am until 10.00pm.
Public transport: 10 minutes walk from Nagano station.
Website: Shinpuku Saikan (Japanese)