12 Jul Grubin’ In Japan
I recently went on a two-week vacation to Japan and utterly fell in love. The country is very clean, fairly quiet, overly fashionable, the people treat you with the utmost respect, and the food is on another wave! Here’s a list in no particular order of foodie finds that I came across in some of my favorite cities.
1. Vegan Ramen at Halal Ramen Ouka
This experience blew my mind! I had to see what vegan ramen was like in Japan. I was expecting some pitty broth for non-pork lovers but instead, I had one of the best vegetable broths of my life, hands down! The spice was just right and the noodles were perfection. If you are ever in the Shinjuku area of Tokyo, Google this spot immediately! Their meat options are 100% Halal and the staff is so kind.
2. Pan Fried Dumplings
The street food in Japan was amazing and packed so much flavor. Something about their dumplings served street side made them reign supreme over others that I’ve tried elsewhere! I absolutely loved the pan-fried chicken dumplings and of course, you can’t be in Japan without trying the traditional pork dumplings.
3. Teriyaki Chicken Skewers
I was basically forced to try the teriyaki chicken skewers near the Fushimi Inari Taisha Temple in Kyoto. The man making them called me over and waved them in my face until I had no choice, Pandora’s box had been opened. They were succulent, cooked to perfection, and the sauce on that chicken was everything! I wanted to ask for a bowl of sauce so I could spoon it up like soup! Yep, it was that good! I could live off Japan’s street food!
You know how in the USA we have food chains like McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and Chick-Fil-A? Well, Japan has a chain called Ichiran and it’s known as one of their best ramen restaurants. They take the idea of food chains to a different level by providing you with a solo dining experience that is out of this world. You may come in with friends but you each get your own private booth so you can focus on your tasty meal. It’s delicious food and a great experience. If you’re in New York City you won’t have to go far to experience Ichiran. They recently opened up a couple of locations in NYC and I’m happy to report it’s exactly the same experience as it was in Japan!
Starbucks is on this list because the Kyoto Ninenzaka Yasaka Chaya Starbucks is a must see! It’s located on the historic Ninenzaka street and sits inside a 100-year-old Japanese townhouse. It’s far beyond beautiful and has the traditional Japanese style inside. There were Tatami mats and silk cushions to sit on in the Tatami rooms. In fact, it’s the world’s first Starbucks with tatami seating. I absolutely loved having to take off my shoes and sit on the floor to enjoy my coffee. It even had a traditional Japanese garden, I was so geeked! If you are visiting Kyoto check it out!
While in Kyoto we stayed in a Ryokan for a few days and quickly grew tired of Japanese breakfast so when we continued our journey to Osaka, it was all about finding some yummy western breakfast to satisfy our American taste buds. We found Eggs N Things, a Hawaiian themed breakfast restaurant. Hawaii and Japan are an 8-hour flight away from each other so the Japanese love this place because they travel to Hawaii often. My favorites items were the acai bowl, pancakes with bananas and whipped cream, and the eggs benedict was all the rave. There are several locations in Japan and Hawaii.
Totti Candy Factory was such a fun time! It was on my list of trendy food places to visit so I had to track down one their locations while in Osaka. The girls that worked at the store were so nice and pros at making the enormous cotton candy confections! It was a tasty sugar rush like no other, and it was definitely picture-worthy for the gram.
8. Curry Up
First of all, I must say that Curry Up is a dope name for a curry restaurant. How clever! I’m not a curry lover but I absolutely loved their curry! I had the veggie and chicken curry combo. They cooked my food like they were making it for Beyonce, but somehow it accidentally went to my table. It was perfect! There are locations in Shinjuku and Harajuku. Shout out to Nigo!
If you visit Japan you must try Yakisoba! It’s fried noodle heaven! I really can’t describe the taste in words because it’s that good, and you have to try it for yourself. I tried Yakisoba while visiting the great temples at Nara Park in Nara, Japan. Once again Japanese street food at its finest!
10. Hotel Drugs
Hotel Drugs caught our attention because of the name alone, but they also mentioned they had the best coffee in Japan so we had to go check them out! The owner Nathalie was fun and quirky just like her 90’s vibe shop where she had a display of Twinkies, Tic-Tacs, cereal, chips, and candy. She also served up some game-changing cups of Joe! I had the Mocha spiked with rum! It was the yummiest buzz I’ve ever had before 10 am, just what I needed! Their spiked and traditional coffee drinks really lived up to the hype. Visit the coffee shop in Tokyo’s Harajuku district.