Kulinary Kansai (food.foto.spam!)

6 05 2011

One of the best things about travelling in Japan is trying the local specialities. So here’s a round-up of what I sampled on my last trip to Kansai!

Firstly while just getting to Kansai there was Ekiben (station lunchbox) of fried rice and wontons –

And arriving at Osaka I had to eat the classic Takoyaki (octopus balls) with a bit of a different spin, served in a light broth –

The Takoyaki was from this festive shop along Dotombori –

Eating out in Osaka also included Kushiage (fried things on sticks) –

Mexican with a friend –

Mystery Chinese –

And a Yum Cha set –

And moving from Chinese to Chinatown in Kobe, I had some Cha Siu Men –

Before stopping for some fruit tart from a french cafe near Kobe’s old foreigner’s quarter –

And continuing with sweets, in Kyoto I found soft serve ice cream with Yatsubashi (a hard cinnamon cookie) –

Shu cream (cream puff) made with real vanilla and sprinkled Yatsubashi on top –

And Mizuame (water candy) which is very similar to corn syrup according to wikipedia –

And finally some Unagi-don (eel rice bowl) served with sesame tofu at Mt Koya to keep up my stamina –

Yes, I think I did gain 5kg on this trip….

Yukimidaifuku Nama-choco Strawberry

4 02 2011

I’ve talked about Yukimidaifuku before, but now they have released a new seasonal flavour!

Nama-choco Strawberry!

Mochi filled with strawberry ice cream and a runny chocolate centre. And this isn’t your kiddy strawberry lollipop flavour. No, It’s almost an adult ice cream, not too sweet, and a little tart, but evened out by the sweetness of the chocolate centre.

Another win for Lotte!


15 11 2010

This is Yukimidaifuku

Basically ice cream wrapped in a thin layer of sweet mochi (white rice pounded to make a gelatinous paste)

This is Yukimidaifuku Torokeru Nama Caramel

The current seasonal flavour of Yukimidaifuku has caramel flavouring in the mochi, and a runny caramel centre!

The only words I have to express the awesome-ness of Yukimidaifuku is ‘Om nom nom’…


12 07 2010

Attention please!


that is all….

Yaki and Age and Ice! (oh my!)

22 04 2010

So, festivals (or matsuri) are pretty common in Japan, but some how I had managed to avoid them for the last 6 months or so.  Not intentionally, it just happened like that.  Anyway, at festivals there are always heaps of little stalls selling the standard foods like yakisoba, yakitori, takoyaki, okonomiyaki and chocco-banana.  So when you see something new, it’s pretty exciting (well, for a food geek like me).

When I went to the Mito Plum Festival there were two new stalls that I had never seen before –

Yakiniku Onigiri

Yakiniku Onigiri

Firstly we have Yakiniku-Onigiri, basically a rice ball wrapped in thinly sliced barbecued meat served with cheese, mayonnaise, lettuce and sesame seeds.  The line for this stall was really long, but well worth the wait.  At 300yen or so, they are slightly expensive, but they are really good!  Kinda taste like a burger actually.  And since the Plum Festival I have also seen stalls at my local Cherry Blossom festival, so hopefully they are catching on!



Next we have Agemonja, which is Monjayaki in a fried pastry shell.  Monjayaki is the Kanto region version of Okonomiyaki, a savory pancake made with cabbage, however Monja is… well… runny.  So I guess in order to make it a hand held food they needed to put it in a shell (as opposed to Okonomiyaki, which they just wrap around a chopstick).  Once again, the line for this stall was quite long, however this time it was due to the time it took to put it together and fry it.  It priced at about 500yen which, considering the size, is quite standard.  However..  it tasted kinda funky.  When Monja is good, its good.  When its bad, it pretty gross.  I think the ingredients were turning bad, it had a slight bitter taste.  But great idea!  I think if you had this made well it would be tasty.  Plus they should add some cheese.  Cheese goes with everything!

Here’s a view of the insides, to give you an idea of the consistency –

Inside Agemonja

Inside Agemonja

And finally, although not a stall, what festival is complete without ice cream!

Ume Icecream

Ume ice cream

And at a Plum Festival you have to have plum ice cream!  It tasted like Umeshu, which is plum liqueur with a sweet and sour flavour.  It was a little strong, and I think it would have been nicely toned down if you could get a mix of ume and vanilla ice cream, but yum none-the-less!

More ice cream adventures are coming next when I write about going to Hakone with Lauren!