Oh man. We are loving Japan. Check out my other 'lifestyle' blog Where In The World Is Kacey?!?! if you haven't already been doing so for our non-foodie adventures here. It's really easy to eat out here every day, so I try to make a point of planning meals 5 days a week. Don't get me wrong, we'd love to eat out every day, but it's not super friendly on the waist or the wallet of course. It's so refreshing to have options though. After living in the panhandle of Florida and Oklahoma for so long, we almost forgot what it was like to have too many options of amazing food.
Okinawan cuisine is influenced from countries all around the globe, and that makes us happy foodies. Below are some of the things that we've been eating since we've been here.
I may have shared this before, but Japanese exclusive flavored KitKat's are where it's at. It's sort of a 'thing' a lot of us Americans do here - track down the different varieties. Matcha (Green Tea) is of course a winner, but our favorite is the dark chocolate. We've found and enjoyed Beni Imo (purple sweet potato) and Hazelnut also. I'm currently on the hunt for Azuki (Red Bean), Soy Sauce, Wasabi, and Edamame. Let me know if you find them in a store (ordering online is cheating).
We've only been once to Hayatemaru Ramen, but enjoyed it. Since we've moved to Japan we've eaten the shit out of ramen, but really, who doesn't? It's addicting and delicious and it's everywhere. This place is in American Village downstairs next to SEGA. There are only a few seats inside, and some tables outside - giant bowls of ramen outside in the shade, yes please! If you can stop in for lunch, you'll get extra noodles for free. They also offer a punch card. Yay for free ramen!
Another American Village find, on the first floor of the Dragon Palace Building you'll find the Happy Bakary Cafe Van (that's how they spell it). Here you will find a variety of Melon Bread, which is sort of like a muffin and sort of like a roll, but it is all sorts of delicious. My favorite is the chocolate chip, pictured below. The inside of the bread is light and fluffy and the outside is a crisp and sugary, but never overly sweet. As you know, I don't like things that are too sweet, so Japanese baked goods totally rock my boat.
Every time we have driven past Toyo Hanten on Route 58 (which is all the time), I say I want to go there for Chinese food. Months later, we finally did, and really liked it. The restaurant itself is pretty cool, with large round tables fitted with lazy susans for sharing, and private tables/booths separated by curtains and beads for smaller groups. They do have an English menu, but thanks to Aaron's dedication to learning Kana, we were able to order off of the Japanese menu (and yes, there were more options on the Japanese menu). We weren't able to decipher every word, but enough to know the difference between a pork/rice/fish/noodle/etc. dish. We ended up getting a shared set meal of 3 main dishes in addition to tea, rice, soup, and dessert.
I don't remember where this was, but it was pretty tasty for a fast food style meal. It was white rice with shredded lettuce, chicken, and an egg. I LOVE that you can get eggs on anything here!!! I don't really understand the obsession with mayonnaise on everything, but they didn't put too much on this dish, so it sort of worked. (usually they smother stuff with mayonnaise). Would I put mayonnaise on my eggs at home though? Nope.
This is probably my favorite Japanese treat. I may or may not get one every time I go to the farmers market. It's really Imagawayaki, but I still refer to it as dorayaki since that's easier for me to pronounce. Both are the same idea. Imagawayaki is made in a special pan and filled with azuki (red bean paste) during cooking. Dorayaki looks more like american pancakes sandwiching the filling. Those are usually served cold. Both are delicious and traditionall filled with azuki (my favorite), but you can often find them with nutella or custard. Yum!
Sushi, sushi, sushi. Sushi. Oh man. Sushi. Let me tell you this right now. If we die from mercury poisoning or something like that because we've eaten too much fish while we have lived here, don't worry about it. We loved every second of it. How can we not eat fish nearly everyday when it's EVERYWHERE. It's going to be rough going back to the states. Even the sushi from the grocery stores here is higher quality than most sushi restaurants back in the states. Below is a picture from special set meal from Kouwa Sushi in the Sunabe Seawall area.
Well, I have a ton more food to share with you, so I think it'll be best to break this up into a multi-series post. What do you guys think of our normal everyday food so far? Is it something you could live with? For us, it's going to be hard to live without. I don't want to think about it.
Be sure to check out my other blog, Where in the World is Kacey?!? to see what goes on outside of the kitchen!