Traveling to Japan this summer? So am I! Mostly for personal reasons, so if you are considering hiring a tour guide, whether you are interested in photography, food, or just a general tour of Japan, take a look at how I can help you make the most of your experience in Japan. Since I am going either way, whether you want a portrait session in Kyoto, or help navigating the super megapolis that is Tokyo, discounted rates are available! Just contact me using the form on japanphotoguide.com and we will get the ball rolling. While I do have some flexibility, since I am going for vacation, I am only accepting a very limited number of jobs… See you in Japan!
Going back to food, two of my favorite dishes in Japan are shabu shabu and sukiyaki, both of which are kinds of “nabe.” I like to describe this as Japanese fondue, except there isn’t cheese or chocolate (which is a too bad). Nabe dishes are ones where the ingredients come raw and you cook them in some kind of soup stock at your table (hence the Japanese fondue comparison). One major difference with this is that the beef (or sometimes pork) comes sliced very thin so the cooking time is just a few seconds, depending on how you like you meat cooked of course. After cooking, usually there is something to dip your food in. For example, for shabu shabu there are two sauces, a ponzu sauce and a sesame sauce and for sukiyaki it is common to dip your beef in raw egg (I am not a fan of this one to be honest). Of the photos below, the one of the left is sukiyaki and the one on the right is shabu shabu.
In addition to being very tasty, eating these nabe dishes are a good and fun experience and a must while visiting Japan, especially if you like beef. You can find places all over Japan, both local shops and chains; however, there are two that I want to recommend (both of which are “all you can eat”)! See more photos and read the rest of this entry »
Before I had ramen in Japan, I thought ramen only came in the form of “almost tasteless instant ramen” that costs like 30 cents for a single bag. I had no idea how many different kinds of ramen there are(Sapporo and Fukuoka quickly come to mind as two of the most famous kinds) or exactly how delicious ramen can be. If you go almost anywhere in Japan, you will find tons of ramen ( ラーメン ) shops and probably will get something decent at most places. That being said, I have decided to share with you an excellent place in Ikebukro, Tokyo, Nakamoto with their spicy ramen, or I think they call it “tantan-men.”
Chashu is “Chinese” style pork that is usually boiled or grilled, and served sliced or sometimes in chunks. I used quotes because I have only had it Japan, so for all I know it could be different in Japan, you know like how in America, Chinese food isn’t really Chinese food and Japanese food usually is not really Japanese food (in my 3+ years I have never eaten or even seen teriyaki chicken). Anyway, chashu is usually served atop ramen, but sometimes you can order it as a side dish, or as my favorite, Chashuman. Chashuman comes in a couple different variations, but the one that is the best is this one that you can get from Family Mart. Don’t be fooled by impressions, notice the unique shape of this one (hint: it is not round)!
See more photos and read the rest of this entry »
Like pizzaman and chocoraman, gyozaman combines two things that I love, gyoza (which is the Japanese version of Chinese dumplings. In the USA often they are called “pot stickers”) and the fluffy, warm, doughy goodness of nikuman. So you might think that I am all about the gyozaman…
See more photos and read the rest of this entry »
No, not Chocolate “Man” like a person, but pronounced “mahn.” Anyway, not too long ago I wrote about nikuman and mentioned that I would be missing it a lot. Like I said, there are many variations of nikuman and one such–and probably my favorite– is the chocolate one. There are a couple different chocolate ones I have found but the two I have photos of are just the regular chocolate “man” (commonly called chocoraman or chocoman) and the ever so sweet Belgium chocolate “man” (also known as Belgi chocoraman).
Sticking with the food theme, I have to share another food with you, tonkatsu. According to wikipedia, tonkatsu is:
Tonkatsu (豚カツ, とんかつ, or トンカツ), invented in the late 19th century, is a popular dish in Japan. It consists of a breaded, deep-fried pork cutlet one to two centimeters thick and sliced to bite-sized pieces, generally served with shredded cabbage. Either a pork fillet (ヒレ, hire) or pork loin (ロース, rōsu) cut may be used; the meat is usually salted, peppered and dipped in a mixture of flour, beaten egg and panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) before being deep fried.
I have a couple more months left in Japan, and before I leave I am on a mission to find the best tonkatsu in Japan. I have been to many restaurants and tried many different kinds of katsu, but so far my favorite has been a place called Saboten. There are two main kinds of tonkatsu, pork loin and fillet, I prefer the fillet because it has less fat. Of course Saboten has these but they also have many different variations like dishes with cheese, shiso and ume, minced meat, chicken or shrimp. Also, you get a small bowl of sesame and (i think?) poppy seeds to grind and then mix with the tonktasu sauce. Below is a photo from saboten’s site that shows one of their meals.
Anyway, I like I said, I am looking for the best tonkatsu in Japan, so if anyone has any recommendations, please please share them with me!