Review: Shibasakitei (ramen!) at Tsutsujigaoka

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Shibasakitei / 柴崎亭

If you can walk away from a ramen place and not feel heavy and bloated, you’ve possibly found a good thing. Even more so if you’ve eaten tonkatsu and tempura only 2 hours beforehand. Not that I did *cough* *splutter* Let’s move on…

Shibasakitei is a small joint to the west of Tokyo, not far from Chofu. Squeezed in alongside the Keio line tracks, this store is a couple of minutes’ walk from Tsutsujigaoka station. However, it takes its name from Shibaskitei, the next stop west where it was originally located, but moved for slightly more spacious premises.  Continue reading

Review: Szechuan Aun, Yushima – Tantanmen

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“It’s like hanging out with a junkie. You’re already planning your next hit.”

My friend was surveying me with disbelief. I wasn’t paying him much attention though because I was bouncing on and off the pavement, and doing mini star jumps.

The cause of my happiness? Some really good noodles. What else?

As a matter of fact, I had eaten at Aun more than a year ago and had been itching to go back ever since. The anticipation – combined with the fact that I generally adore tantanmen – had elevated my mood to levels probably beyond that of normal human beings. I was also deliriously babbling about trying to go back the next day to eat more. Hence the druggie comparisons. I needed my next hit. Continue reading

Review: Tsuta – Michelin star ramen

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You’ve probably heard a lot about ramen – to be honest, it’s almost old news. Whereas sushi was the first morsel to whet the appetite for the fetishisation of Japanese food, ramen was surely the next.

As if to demonstrate they’re down with the cool kids that like to serve triple-cooked chips with a side of truffle oil to highlight that finer ingredients can indeed be used to exoticise the more mundane comfort foods we crave, the Michelin Star judges awarded Japanese Soba Noodles Tsuta, a tiny ramen joint in Tokyo, a Michelin star in December 2015.

As a matter of fact, Tsuta’s ramen actually does come with truffle sauce. And so it probably wins the Michelin Star Epitome Award. Continue reading

Review: Daidarabou, Takasaki / 大大坊、高崎市

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Daidarabou / 大大坊

I love adventures but sometimes I feel that I am a stranger in my flat, because I am home so infrequently. This weekend, I would’ve maybe tried to take it easy (I can hear my friends’ laughter echo as I write this….) but I had to catch a train to somewhere. Yes, had to. Let me explain… Continue reading

Review: Noriya Shokudo, Oimachi

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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

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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

Review: Marutama Ramen, Ryogoku

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I used to be a massive music fan, attending live concerts once or twice a month. From the age of 16 to 20, I was the epitome of fanatical. Then, I kinda chilled out a bit. I’m a rubbish fan – I get obsessed with something for a while, then lose interest. Fortunately, the connection between my full stomach and my happiness levels is quite strong so I don’t think I’ll get bored of food. Continue reading