Japanese Kit Kats

British blogger Haikugirl has a great blog dedicated to the startlingly wide variety of Kit Kat candy available in Japan. Nestlé makes special Kit Kats for various regions of Japan that reflects a particular dessert or food product associated with that area. So you can all sorts of interesting and exotic flavors in addition to the standard chocolate.

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Beat the Heat: Cold Yuzu Ramen at Afuri

IMG_7816 Afuri (阿夫利) is the gift that keeps on giving great ramen.  I went to the branch in Azabu-Juban again a few days ago to introduce the restaurant to a friend. It was a very hot, humid and sunny day and we weren’t really in the mood for hot soup.  Luckily, Afuri offers other ramen options better suited for the weather, including a summer special: cold yuzu ramen. Continue reading

Snack & Surf: Street Food at the Beach in Enoshima

Photo by: RocketNews24 (http://en.rocketnews24.com/)

It’s summer, which for many people (Japanese included) means it’s time to head to the beach for sun, sand, and surf.  RocketNews24 has an interesting article on various street food you can eat down in Enoshima, a beach community southwest of Tokyo and a short drive down the coast from historic Kamakura.  Whether it’s green tea ice cream in a cone shaped like a clam shell, octopus crackers or super-fresh, locally caught clams and other shellfish, there’s a culinary adventure to be had while hanging out by the sea.

Beyond Top Ramen: Hidden Treasure at Tsumugi in Akihabara

IMG_7629Akihabara is one of those neighborhoods that is synonymous with Tokyo. Its electronics shops and more recent stores dedicated to the obsession with Japanese comic books (manga) and animation (anime) represent many of the modern images that people around the world have of Japan. It’s also home to maid cafés and the wildly popular all-girl musical ensemble AKB48. If you visit Tokyo, Akihabara may be one of the places you will go to. And while you are there, you will probably at some point look for something to eat… perhaps ramen, at a place called Tsumugi (らーめん紬麦).

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Some Like It Hot, Part 2: Tantan Noodles at Rashohan

IMG_7662Best tantanmen in Tokyo. That’s a serious declaration, one that gets your attention especially when it comes from multiple people, including ramen blogger Ramen Adventures and local English magazine Metropolis. So my friend TC and I had to go and check out Rashohan (辣椒漢), also written as La-Show-Han.

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Some Like It Hot, Part 1: Tantanmen at Kisurin

Ramen is arguably Japan’s national dish, but it originates from Chinese la-mian (pulled noodles). In fact, another term for ramen in Japan is chuka soba — Chinese noodles. If you’ve been to China or even a local Chinatown, you may have come across a noodle shop where someone made la-mian by taking a big piece of dough and stretch it out with to the full length of his wingspan, separating it into many individual strands in the process, and doing it over and over until he achieves a pile of noodles. Interestingly, I’ve never seen or heard of any la-mian places in Tokyo. Maybe I’m not looking hard enough or perhaps I need to go to a fancy high-end Chinese restaurant. It’s also possible that the demand for la-mian is limited here, overshadowed by the locals’ affinity for their own iconic ramen.

However, what I have found are plenty of noodle joints that serve tantanmen (dandan mian in Chinese), a spicy Sichuanese noodle dish.

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Blue Seal Ice Cream: A Taste of America with a Big Twist of Okinawa

“Born in America, raised in Okinawa” is how the makers of Blue Seal Ice Cream aptly describe their product. Born after the end of World War II to provide American military service members stationed in Okinawa with a taste of home, it was was only available on U.S. bases until the 1970s when stores opened throughout the rest of Okinawa to serve the local population. Soon, Blue Seal was recognized as the ice cream of Okinawa itself, not just the Americans serving there.

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