Osaka: Ippudo Ramen (at Momofuku Ando’s Original Ramen Restaurant)

  Ippudo probably severed me the best bowl of ramen that I’ve had in North America. I knew that I had to visit one of its locations when I made my next trip to Japan. I also knew that it wouldn’t be that hard to find an Ippudo in Japan since they have in excess of 60 branches all over the country. Out of the 60 some odd locations, I was fortunate enough to visit one of their most unique outposts. It is located in the building that housed the original ramen operation Momofuku Ando ran at around the same … Continue reading Osaka: Ippudo Ramen (at Momofuku Ando’s Original Ramen Restaurant)

Japan: Beef Bowls – both low end and high end

I have a soft spot for Japanese beef bowls, especially the ones from Yoshinoya. They were the single most important food item that helped me through many a hungry boarding school evening when I was between the ages of 13 and 14. The simple combination of relatively-fresh, boiled-in-sauce thinly sliced beef and onions with white rice often provided me with the tasty and nutritious satisfaction that I desperately needed after suffering through the reheated factory-made meals served by the soulless school kitchen. It is for this sentimental reason that I always make it a point to have at least one … Continue reading Japan: Beef Bowls – both low end and high end

Osaka: Instant Ramen Museum

Although it is not one of the “major” museums or tourist attractions of Osaka, my wife and I decided to make a trip out to one of the outlying suburbs of the city to visit The Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum on our most recent trip to Osaka. Instant noodles were one of those supposed “unhealthy” foods frowned upon by our Taiwanese parents while both my wife and I were growing up, so naturally it was the one type of food that we would never give up an opportunity to consume whenever we got a chance to. In addition, the … Continue reading Osaka: Instant Ramen Museum

Osaka: Breakfast At The St. Regis

I love breakfasts at hotels in Japan. There’s nothing better to start the day than a bowl of perfectly-cooked rice, hot miso soup, pickled vegetables, natto, and grilled salt-marinated fish. It was actually one of the things I looked forward to before my family’s trip to Osaka. Breakfast at the St. Regis in Osaka is served at its high-end Italian restaurant. Not only is it served in the Italian restaurant, it is cooked by the same chefs who work at the kitchen for both lunch and dinner. What was even more surprising was that I observed the head chef walking … Continue reading Osaka: Breakfast At The St. Regis

Japan: Tax Evading Beer

It has become a tradition for me on my trips to Japan to visit convenient stores nearby the hotel I’m staying in to purchase and sample a variety of Japanese beer or beer-like products. I think it was during a trip to Tokyo in 2005 or 2006 that I started purchasing a  beer alternative that I thought was called “tanrei”. This gold-colored carbonated alcoholic beverage tasted like beer for all intents and purposes, but seemed to be made with ingredients other than those traditionally used to brew beer. Somehow, I had it in my head that it was brewed with … Continue reading Japan: Tax Evading Beer

Osaka: I never thought I would say this in Japan but…Order the rolls, not the nigiri

Kaiba Sushi – Ever since my family and I first arrived in Osaka for our trip to Kansai, I had been looking  for a traditional sushi restaurant where I could have a proper sushi meal.  I asked the ‘personal butler’ (hotel concierge) assigned to our room to find us a table at a traditional sushi restaurant on the day we arrived and every day after that, but she was never able to find one that accommodated young children. Finally, on my second last day in Osaka, I gave up and told her to just find us any half-respectable sushi restaurant … Continue reading Osaka: I never thought I would say this in Japan but…Order the rolls, not the nigiri

Osaka: Salt, not Sauce…being educated on the finer points of tonkatsu consumption

If my memory is reliable, I think my wife, kids, and I visited this tonkatsu restaurant during our first night in Osaka. We were actually actively looking for a tonkatsu restaurant while blindly exploring restaurant rows in and around the commercial areas around one of the main train stations in Osaka when we found this restaurant. One look at its front display-case and we knew we found the restaurant we were looking for. As soon as we entered the restaurant, we were warmly greeted by the hostess/cashier who immediately took us to an empty table in one of the empty … Continue reading Osaka: Salt, not Sauce…being educated on the finer points of tonkatsu consumption