Review: Bon Gout Hamburg, Kamiyamacho (Shibuya)

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In Japan, one of the first things you should learn is just because a word sounds like a borrowed English word, or indeed is a borrowed English word, does NOT mean it is in fact that word.

Let’s get straight to the important difference between “hanba-ga-” and “hanba-gu”. The former is indeed a meat patty wedged in a bun; the latter a meat patty minus bread, often served on a sizzling hot plate with some kind of sweet sauce. For the sake of being easy to understand, let’s call them “hamburgers” and “hamburgs”.

It is my very professional opinion that the Japanese do hamburgers terribly, whereas hamburgs tend to be rather good. Continue reading

Coffee in Tokyo: Streamer Coffee Company, Shibuya

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Right, I’m going through a lot of old photos that I need to put up on my blog… And here is an oldie from Streamer Coffee Company from over a year ago! You’ll hear a lot about them if you Google “best coffee in Tokyo” or something similar.

That, unfortunately, is a bit of a stretch. They’re famous because the coffee is pretty. Served in giant bowl-like mug that would be quire inviting for a quick dip if diving right in wouldn’t destroy the beautiful feathered milk patterns on top. Continue reading

Cheap Meat Eats: Gyukatsu Motomura, Shibuya / 牛かつ もと村、渋谷

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Japan, having spent a good few centuries not eating a lot of meat, doesn’t always get it quite right. I’ve had steak so tough I’ve had to discreetly spit it into napkins (to be fair, this is also a very common crime in the UK). I’ve also had meat treated like fish. Sometimes this can really good – as it turns out, semi-raw chicken with wasabi is great. But sometimes, this is absolute sacrilege to the the poor animal that died. Thinly-sliced beef, with no seasoning, swished through water to then be dipped only in soy sauce can be dull beyond belief. Continue reading

Licking Pikachu – the Pokemon Pop-up Cafe

Pikachu, I'mma lick-you!

Pikachu, I’mma lick-you!

In case you missed my wonderful piece on Akihabara News, I’ve recreated it for you below:

To Lick a Pikachu

If you have ever wanted to a lick a Pikachu, I can confirm that he/she/[insert your preferred gender here] tastes of mango. Yes, that’s right. If your childhood dreams of catching them all actually involved eating them all, you now can. Except, by all Pokémon, I actually mean mainly Pikachu.

Pokémon, which still retains huge popularity in Japan, has currently invaded The Guest Cafe and Diner on the seventh floor of Parco department store, Shibuya, Tokyo. Continue reading

Review: Chopsticks Cafe, Shibuya (also in Shimokitazawa)

As I may have raved about on several prior occasions, I love Japanese izakaya, which are evening hang-outs and drinking places. Not being a big drinker, what really appeals to me is the fact that izakaya serve tapas-style sharing dishes. The food often has stronger flavours than much of Japanese cuisine in order to go with the alcohol. So I often happily leave rubbing my food baby belly, leaving a trail of garlic fumes in my wake… Continue reading

Black Buns and Batman – Halloween in Japan

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween

One thing you can’t help but notice if you spend any length of time in Japan is the awareness of seasons and the seasonal food and products that come with it. Seasons seem to be set in Japan, regardless of the weather. For example, the swimming season runs from mid-July to the end of August, despite the fact that the sea is more than warm enough to allow swimming before and after this.

When it’s September, it ‘becomes’ autumn. This means a wilful ignorance of the up to 30°C temperatures outside and an excruciating amount of layers topped off with a thick scarf. For four amusing and accurate signs of autumn in Japan, refer to this article.

With all this love of mascots, characters and seasonal food, it doesn’t take a giant leap of imagination to move into Halloween food. So begins the tale of the black burgers. Continue reading