There are many types of trips, ones for sightseeing, ones for living in luxury and ones for relaxing. Tokyo was for eating. This post is only about the food in Tokyo, so have some food prepared next to you. You’re going to be hungry after this.
Ramen is a staple in the Japanese diet. There are a variety of soup bases, noodle thicknesses, toppings and styles to choose from.
One of the most famous ramen restaurants in Tokyo is called Ichiran Ramen. There’s usually a wait for this restaurant, but we arrived quite early in the morning (8am) and there were plenty of seats. The cute thing about this place, as well as many other restaurants in Tokyo, is the vending machine that you order from.
These buttons allow you to add toppings, and the photos help you figure out what you’re ordering if you don’t happen to read Japanese. As you can see, the prices are really cheap in Tokyo, from $9-$15 per ramen. After ordering, the machine prints out a ticket, confirming your order. You then have the option of sitting in any number of individual booths lined up in 2 columns.
This is so rare in Canada, but there is a big culture in Japan of dining alone. We were seated in individual booths and served through the open slot in front of us. The cook/waiter appears through the slot and gives an extra sheet of paper that lets you decide on the type of noodles, soup base and toppings you want. There is a personal tap at the left hand side for water. When the server delivers your meal, he pulls the bamboo sheet to give you some privacy and you are left to eat on your own. If you ever need the server again, just push a button at the front of the table, and he’ll appear to help you again.
After you’re done your meal, you have the option of ordering another serving of noodles to put in your leftover broth. This allows you to have 2 whole bowls of ramen noodles for just a small price more. When you’re finished, you can just leave! You’ve already paid for your meal and there’s no need to tip in Japan.
Kagari Echika fit Ginza
This ramen place we found just under Ginza station. Its common for many popular restaurants to seem unassuming, even located at a subway station. The location is convenient for many business lunches, and the bar setting allows for ease in dining alone, as well as quick service.
This is their tori-paitan tsuke-soba (also known as Tsukemen). This is a dip ramen, where cold noodles are served next to a hot flavourful broth. Most ramen noodles usually come with pork meat as a side, but this place offers a tender piece of chicken with your meal.
Rokurinsha Tokyo in Ramen Street
The next place we had Tsukemen again was in Tokyo Station. There is a strip of restaurants here that all sell ramen, giving the name Ramen Street. We chose the most famous out of the bunch, a restaurant called Rokurinsha Tokyo.
The format for ordering was the same again (as Tonkotsu Ramen Bar), pay at a ticket machine and get seated. At this restaurant, there were hot water kettles stationed on certain tables. We soon found that it was common practice to pour this hot water in your concentrated soup base, once you were done with your noodles, and then drink the soup to finish your meal. The soup base itself is too concentrated on its own, and must be diluted before drinking.
You can’t have sushi in Tokyo without eating at Tsukiji Market. It is Tokyo’s largest fish market and where you can get the freshest sashimi.
There are a few very popular stores that sell sashimi in this market, but have lines that span hours. There are hundreds of store fronts to choose from, so we just walked into one of the more affordable ones. It is also worth trying the different types of fatty tuna they offer, as they have multiple levels of fattiness.
The freshest sea urchin you can find.
Uobei sushi is where the technological advances and culinary expertise of Tokyo collide. Sushi dishes are ordered individually on an electronic screen and delivered to your seat via conveyer belt.
Each selection costs a dollar or two and can include udon noodles, sashimi orders or even drinks. When you’re done with your choice, you push the order button and the screen will indicate which conveyer belt to expect your food on. There are three conveyer belts: top, middle and bottom, so as to facilitate traffic. When you food comes, you can take it off the conveyer and push the confirmation button on the screen.
The quality of the sushi here is obviously not as good as some other restaurants, but the price and novelty of the place is definitely worth trying.
Although everyone hears about Kobe beef in Japan, we did not have the money to spend on the real thing. Wagyu beef is a very similar type of beef however, and was quite mouth watering as well.
P.C. Daphne Lung
Kyoto Katsugyu is a Japanese steakhouse located in a food court above a commercial building. It features wagyu beef deep fried in batter and served with an assortment of dipping sauces. You can dip your beef in a poached egg, worcestershire sauce, pepper, curry sauce or soya sauce.
My favourite meal of the entire trip was when we had wagyu beef just by itself. This restaurant offered different cuts of raw wagyu beef, seasoned only with salt and pepper, and a grill to cook them on.
It was one of our most pricey meals, at $80 CAD a person, but the beef was definitely a ‘cut’ above the rest (haha). They practically melted in your mouth when you ate them.
Wagyu beef was by far my favourite meal. And I mean in my entire life.
So go and try your favourites in Japan! The ramen, sushi and beef is unparalleled in the world. If you made it through this post without snacking on anything, I’m proud of you! At least you can say you’ve achieved one thing today..