Trip to Japan

Japan: Week 5

Hey! It’s Sunday, time to review what yummy stuff I had this week.

Let’s be logical, and start from Monday. As usually, lunch at the Japanese restaurant. That day it was a meatball with a sauce that seemed to be like between goulash and Okonomyaki sauce. Reaaaally good.

For dinner, I did another try on Crispy Shrimpy in the oven, aaaand… I still don’t know how to make that bloody oven work properly. But it was fine.

On Tuesday the main dish was tempura fish. The fish was so soft that you actually eat it with the bones but don’t feel them. And as side dish there were two mini sausages and bamboo shouts salad.

For dinner I decided to make some Udon in a miso soup, with Konjaku, green onions, Wakame seaweeds, eggs and sesame oil. But I made way too much — like 1L of soup — and didn’t have any proper bowl to eat it, soooo … Simply ate it straight out of the pot =D Soooo good!

Wednesday was Katsu day. With some cabbage salad and a ball of potato salad. I really love that restaurant! And for dinner I had my team over at my place and we had a Burger party. I made 4 different kinds of burgers — Triple Crisp, Chicken Curry, Classical and an experimental pepper sauce one — and 5 burger of each kind, for a total of 20 burgers. It was a fun party with a lot of drinks — and I got a bottle of sake — and a lot of food as I additionally made some fries and guacamole, and my teammates bring chips and ice creams.

The next day — as my kitchen was a pure chaos — I didn’t have breakfast at home and just picked up some “Donuts with Bean Paste” from the convenience store. They are so yummy, not to sweet but just sweet enough.

And for lunch it was cold Soba noodles topped with Nori seaweeds and I guess grated daikon. Additionally you can add some green onions and wasabi — which I did — for more flavors. I really liked it. And as side dish, that stir-fried veggies I like and some rice topped with powdered pickled plums. I need to find this powder cause it so nice on rice. For dinner simply had some grilled fish on rice.

On Friday, I forgot that we had the lunch Seminar so didn’t have any food and had to run under the rain to get some Onigiris from the convenience store. By the way, simple onigiris but really yummy, I should try to do some at home. Then in the evening there was a “Farewell Party” at work with a looooot of food and even more alcohol. So I had some sushis, some deep-fried  potato thingy, some “Chicago style” pizza — but mainly sushis as everybody was excited about western food and I prefer sushis =D —  and drunk some beer, wine, sake — and red sake which is like a mix of rosé and sake — tequila and some Yomeishu which is like sweet sake with a ton of herbs. And most of all I discussed with a lot of people. So it was very lovely.

And during the party we decided to go out for a drink on Saturday. So Since we finish quite late on Friday, I woke up late on Saturday, and mainly took care of my flat and rested. Then I started walking to Ibaraki-shi station to go out, and instead of going through the town, I took the road passing next to the nearby Golf club. Really lovely walk, very calm but a little bit longer.

So I arrived at Ibaraki-shi station a little bit early and waited there, but nobody was arriving. I started thinking that perhaps I misunderstood something and as I don’t have a Japanese phone number I was a little bit worried. But a colleague of mine arrived soon after and explained me that it will be only us as everybody else is still hungover from Friday’s party. So we tried to go to the best Yakitori restaurant/bar of the area but it was fully booked — next time we will reserve >.< — and walked around and got to another Yakitori restaurant: とりのねぐら 阪急茨木店. It was a very lively restaurant with a lot of figurines around the shop. We got places at the bar in front of a collection of One Piece figurines.

Started with a beer and the sort of Karaage in sauce.

Then we started getting all the different dishes. With first chicken sashimi, served with soy sauce, soy and vinegar sauce, grated garlic, ginger, wasabi and chili. Just soooo good. Then we got raw octopus with diced wasabi, a must try definitely.

Then the plate of Yakitori arrived. So I guess it was 4 of simple chicken, 2 traditional scallion and chicken, 2 chicken hearts one and 2 of some other chicken organ. Everything was delicious. On the left of the picture you can also see some tofu with wasabi and sliced perilla leaf.

We had additionally some Karaage — sorry no picture — and I got some sake. And it is very interesting how they pour the sake.So you get that wooden cube with the glass inside and they pour the sake in the glass until it overflows and fill the cube to the half. Then you drink from the glass and when the glass is empty you refill it with the cube.

Then we had some chicken meatball in sauce and with cheese.

And my colleague explained me that this Yakitori restaurant does also Okinawa — that the Japanese tropical island — style food. So we shared some Okinawa style udon with pork and pink ginger. I really loved that restaurant and Yakitoris in general.

Then it was time to drink. So we went to a bar called the “Lazy Bar”. It is a very lovely bar with a big choice of drinks. And the barman was really nice. So we had a lot of drinks, like really a lot. Going from Hawaiian vodka — very good one — to whisky, awamori, sake aaaaaand I finally tried Absinthe. Really a nice evening, but the walk home is still a pain >.<

So today I woke up late again, and had a lazy day with some cleaning, watching stuff and etc… I was slightly hungover in the morning but it went away pretty fast. And as I really enjoyed yakitori, I decided to try to do some at home but without skewers and grill. So I created the “Lazy Yakitori” that you do in a pan. And I must say it was pretty good, so will publish the recipe in the next days.

Now will go to sleep so see you next time! 😉

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Trip to Japan

Japan: Week 3

Konbanwa! (Yeah it’s already the evening here)

The week is now finishing so it’s time for a post.
I had a lot of yummy stuff this week too and finally got my first “Holly Molly! Just why?” food moment in Japan.

So let’s start from Monday. So I had lunch as always as the lovely restaurant on the side of the campus. This time there were some meet with cabbage and pickled ginger in some sweet broth and as side dishes some blanched veggies and some big sweet beans. Everything was yummy and I was quite surprised by how sweet those beans were.

For dinner I decided to experiment a little bit. I made a marinade from rice vinegar, sesame oil, soy sauce and whisky — why whisky? Hum good question… Why not? =P —  that I used to quickly marinate some butterflied shrimps that I then breaded and cooked in my “oven”. Yeah I say “oven” because I am not sure if it is an oven, it’s like super small — about 5cm on 10cm — so perhaps it’s more a grill than an oven. And since I’m struggling with learning Japanese I did not really know what to press so just pressed random buttons and it somehow worked out ^^’. In the end it wasn’t bad but a little bit too bland so will have to improve that before presenting a real recipe to you.

Tuesday started with a discovery. So on Saturday I bought a cup to be able to have tea at work — I was using a cardboard cup before — and so I took it to work on Tuesday. I made some tea and came back to my desk, looked at the cup and was surprised that it changed the design. So actually it is a Thermocolor cup that changes the design depending of the temperature. So when it’s hot it is as on the picture, when it’s cold all the colors turns black so you just have dark mountains. So it was a cool surprise.

For lunch that day there was Oden. Very yummy and just perfect for that day as it was pretty called outside. It had some fried tofu — I still don’t understand tofu, it’s too bland to me –and egg, some daikon, konjaku,two other things that I don’t know what it is ^^’.

For dinner simply had some of my curry that I made on Sunday.

On Wednesday, we had some visiting student in our lab, so we went to eat with them in a cafeteria on the campus. I had my first (not instant) ramen but was so hungry that I forgot to take a picture >.<
As I was struggling to get motivated to do my fitness of the day — yeah I stated from Monday to do one to one and half hour of fitness every day — I decided to get some snacks on the way home. So After the fitness I finished the curry and had a snack party. So from top left to bottom right:

  • Coca-Cola with ginger flavor. It have a more earthy flavor than normal Cola. It sort of reminds me a Russian soda called “Baykal” and that have a earthy flavor. So not bad but not amazing.
  • Pepperoni pizza flavored chips: This one … JUST WHY? It does not taste like either chips, pizza or pepperoni. I tried three chips and then through the bag out because it’s just not possible. Haaa just writing about it makes me feel bad.
  • Snack maki rolls with 3 rolls with mayo tuna and cucumber and 2 with surimi and salad. Nice snack, really enjoyed it.
  • Thick jerky. I took it to try Jerky once. I love Biltong — it’s sort of South African jerky — so wanted to compare to Jerky. It was not bad but biltong is so much better.
  • Dried squid. This! This is the good stuff. I love it, we have the same in Russian and I just love it with a beer.
  • Spicy jerky: Geez it was spicy, the cola really helped me with this one.

Thursday, back at the restaurant with some delicious Katsu, cabbage salad and beans and seaweed salad. really tasty.

For dinner first did some fish but was still hungry and had some chicken breast that would go bad if I did not cook them so I did an experiment for an idea of recipe I had. I was asked a long time ago by my sister, what a Russian burger would have in it. At that time I just answer joking “Red caviar and black caviar” as in the picture of the “Russian Big Mac“. But I finally got an idea this week after watching some Russian recipes done by a funny guy on Youtube: “Shashlik Burgers”. Shashlik is the russian way of doing barbecue and generally the marinade is quite simple. For example my mom simply marinates chicken in a mix of vinegar, salt and onions. So I thought of a recipe that I will present you later when I try it. But to come back to Thursday, I simply marinated a chicken breast in that simple marinade and cooked it in a pan with the onions from the marinade. I added some mayo and ketchup on the buns and served it like that. Aaaand… It was pretty good. I think my final idea will be pretty awesome =D

I additionally got myself a little Japanese bread that I thought was sweet. So I had it as pudding and NO! Curry filled bread! It was still yummy but I wanted sweet >.<

For the Lunch Seminar of Friday got a take away from the convenience store with a variety of fried stuff. Pretty good.

But for Friday night I got some cool stuff. As a starter, sushi — I really love it, could it it everyday without a problem, except for my wallet — followed by some Karaage, love that too. I had some plum soda with it. After that, beer and dried squid and cheesy crackers. And finally mini donuts and an ice cream waffle. That waffle really reminded me of Russian ice creams, made me ever more happy about that dinner!

On Saturday morning went to do some groceries, took care of the laundry and in the afternoon left to meet up with a teammate for a drink. As I am a little bit tight with money this month, I walked to the meeting point. It was a nice one hour walk through the town of Ibaraki.

We met at Ibaraki-shi station and he showed me around the area. Then we went to a lovely small bar — like for maximum 10 people — and had a few pints of beer and some smoked food. The owner was in a St-Patrick mood wearing an Irish t-shirt and a Leprechaun hat. Then our boss joined us for one more pint and a spicy pizza with smoked fish and egg. Actually it was very tasty.

Then we went to another bar. My boss wanted to go to his favorite bar but it was full so we went to another bar. Again a very small bar but with a very lovely atmosphere and a nice bartender. He even tried to do some Yodel when I told him that I am coming from Switzerland.

We had one more beer with some Japanese cabbage and beef roll. Then we got shoshu. I had brown sugar shoshu and my teammate had rice one. The taste is quite different. And as final dish of the night we had Chicken Sashimi. I know you are like “What the hell?” but in Japan they are extremely strict with food and the quality of chicken is so high that you can have it raw in restaurants. It is not actually raw, it is seared at very high temperature on both side, so it even has a slight burn taste. But it was very yummy.

After that had to walk home for one hour, totally drunk and already getting a massive headache. I somehow managed to do it and even got a Apple-Peach-Mango water on the way. But it was tough. Crashed in my bed until lunch time on Sunday. So on Sunday — today — I was quite hungover so stayed at home in my “Slime” mode. But still had lovely food. For lunch I warmed up some Unagi — caramelized eel. Soooooo good.

And for dinner I made some rice to eat with sashimi =D

And now I am sitting and finishing to write this post and really wonder if I should go get some waffle ice cream at the shop.

See you next week 😉 And have a lovely week.

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