Review: Kaccharu Baccharu, Shin-Otsuka – the best Indian in Tokyo?

IMG_3713

I have had a lot of rubbish Indian food. Let’s not remember Moti in Roppongi.

There are a lot of places highly rated that I have found utterly underwhelming: Rasoi in Meguro and Dhaba in Kyobashi to name but two. SITAARA Aoyama was so bland and boring it was absolute joke, although they served possibly the nicest mango lassi I’ve ever had. Be thankful for small mercies.

IMG_3686

However, a friend insisted I tried Kaccharu Baccharu (カッチャルバッチャル).

“I also look at the rankings on Tabelog,” she told me. “Forget about a score of over 3.5, I always try the restaurants ranked number 1.” Continue reading

Bakery: Boulangerie Les Lis, Matsubara / ブランジェリー・レ・リース、松原

20141026_112827

I stumbled across this tiny little place whilst heading to a trial karate class. There is nothing more satisfying than tucking into something very tasty after exercise. And since there aren’t any seats, we had a picnic in the fresh air – all good for the health, no? Continue reading

Review: Noriya Shokudo, Oimachi

1469364919449

Exploring Tokyo – Tenso Suwa Shrine

It can be easy to get into a routine and move through the city in the same pattern throughout the weeks. I find that I normally plan to go to a place to eat – head straight there, and then leave.

This means that I don’t explore as much as I should, take the time to wander the streets and see what I find. It also means that every time I meet someone it tends to be for eating. Although I naturally love this, sometimes I feel like I should include a few more activities in my life…. Continue reading

Review: Sanpotei Tokyo Lab, Nakameguro

IMG_2783

Sanpotei Tokyo Lab / 三宝亭東京ラボ

Japanese food has boomed in the West over the past few years. Not just ramen, but all kinds of stylish “Japanese” places are popping up, with polished wooden surfaces and all fanfare of fusion dishes.

Although I’m all for experimentation, I’m naturally a little sceptical  when self-professed Japanese food lovers claim that going to one of these trendy joints is evidence!

“Places like this don’t actually exist in Japan,” I say, trying my hardest to tiptoe round being overtly sanctimonious. “And, no, Hirata buns, are a Western take on Taiwanese street food, and no, they have nothing to do with Japan.”

But having visited Sanpotei Tokyo Lab, I can now offer up a different response. There is at least one trendy place doing experimental food in Japan. And, naturally, it does it better! Continue reading

Dining at Minshuku Baikou, Shimoda

IMG_3808

This weekend was what is known as a “sanrenkyu” in Japan, or in other words, a three-day holiday. Although the Japanese have by law 10 days paid holiday per year for just 6 months of service, increasing thereafter to 20 days, due to the extreme work culture – which, incidentally is one of the least efficient worldwide – long-suffering workers only take an average of 9 days a year.

This gives national holidays a particular significance as everyone can legitimately take a bit of break. Which means that every hotel in a popular can area will be literally fully booked.

Which means it is normally a terrible idea to try and book last minute.

Which is something I always seem to end up doing. Continue reading

Eating in Taipei: street food snacks from 巧房餡餅

IMG_2929

Cōng yóubǐng / spring onion oil pancake

Would I write a blog post dedicated to an oil pancake, a  simple street food snack? Why yes, yes I would. To me, this is what is being a foodie is all about.

There’s been a backlash against the term “foodie”. The argument is that it has lost it’s meaning … and in a way, it has. That’s because it’s drowning in meanings. It can be someone who knows a lot about food, someone who enjoys their food, or someone who really appreciates high quality food and is probably/possibly slightly snobbish.

I would class myself as planting both feet and an elbow(?) in all three categories. Junk food is definitely out, but I’m flexible when it comes to the health benefits (or not) of different food.

So, no, my street food does not have to cost £9.50 and be soaked in truffle oil (London, I’m looking at you!). Continue reading

A Traditional Taiwanese Breakfast: Yong He Dou Jiang Da Wang 永和豆浆大王

IMG_2831

IMG_2842

Yong He Dou Jiang Da Wang / Yong He Soy Milk King / 永和豆浆大王

I know I may have written that I want to be Italian, but there is one other country I would happily claim some culture from – and that’s Taiwan. It all began with a fantastically fun trip to Taipei back in 2012, which was then followed by encountering someone who would become one my closest friends – and even get me into trouble for laughing too loudly. And that someone happens to be Taiwanese. We would joke that we were twins separated at birth. Except when I fervently photographed my food – at those times, she would sigh and say, “Why are you more Asian than me?!”

But if there were another a reason that I should be Taiwanese, it’s the fact that they take breakfast very seriously. There is a culture of crowding round street vendors or restaurants with street seating, buying all kinds of freshly fried and steamed treats. The news that I can stuff my face for under 80元 (~260 yen) whilst sitting on the street surrounded by all the sights and smells of breakfasting was a clear signal that Taiwan is a place where my stomach belongs. At least, in the mornings. Continue reading