Setouchi Shunsaikan Antenna Shop

Setouchi Shunsaikan Antenna Shop

Setouchi Shunsaikan Antenna Shop

Setouchi Shunsaikan せとうち旬彩館

Minato-ku, Shinbashi 2-19-10 港区新橋2-19-10

Tel. 03-3574-7792

10:00 – 20:00, no holidays

www.setouchi-shunsaikan.com/ (Japanese)

This shop is a collaboration of both Ehime and Kagawa prefectures in the rich Setouchi inland sea on the island of Shikoku. Naturally this shop has a wide variety of seafood. Ehime is also famous for its production of mikan, a tangerine like fruit that makes a refreshing juice. There is a restaurant on the second floor, Kaorihime, specializes in udon noodles.

Murakara Machikara Antenna Shop in Yurakucho

Murakara Machikara Antenna Shop

Murakara Machikara Antenna Shop

While antenna shops typically represent a prefecture, this shop carries a mishmash of items from all over Japan. The shop is not that organized, so you have to know what you are looking for. There are several antenna shops in the Tokyo Kotsu Kaikan, like Hokkaido, Akita, and many more, so definitely worth spending some time here. There are a wide variety of items including miso, natto, sake, wagashi, sembei, pickles, and more. Perhaps the most interesting is the selection of miso in the refrigerator section. Customers can taste through a variety of miso before purchasing.

Mura Kara Machi Kara Kan むらからまちから館

Chiyoda-ku, Yurakucho 2-10-1, Tokyo Kotsu Kaikan 千代田区有楽町2−10−1東京交通会館

Tel. 03-5208-1521

10:00 – 19:30 (10:00 – 19:00 on weekends and holidays)

http://murakara.shokokai.or.jp/ (Japanese)

Hokkaido Dosanko Plaza – Antenna Shop

Hokkaido Dosanko Plaza

Hokkaido Dosanko Plaza

Hokkaido Dosanko Plaza 北海道どさんこプラザ

Chiyoda-ku, Yurakucho 2-10-1, Tokyo Kotsu Kaikan 千代田区有楽町2−10−1東京交通会館

Tel. 03-5224-3800

10:00 – 19:00, no holidays

www.dosanko-plaza.jp/ (Japanese)

The large northern island of Hokkaido is famous for many agricultural products including kombu, potatoes, dairy products and its rich seafood including salmon and crab. Potatoes are represented here with croquettes, dairy with soft cream cones and the trendy salted caramels and the seafood selection changes seasonally. Here you will find some Japanese wine made in Hokkaido. Hokkaido’s climate is ideal for growing grapes as it stays much drier than the rest of Japan. Also, the cool evenings allow the grapes to ripen slowly giving the wines a nice, natural acidity. German varietals, especially a steely Kerner, does well in Hokkaido. And, it is also known for its unique fruit wines, look for strawberry, sweet melon (think cantaloupe), or pear. I’ve been drinking the strawberry Hokkaido wine for over twenty years. One of my Japanese aunt’s does not drink a lot, and she likes these as they are light in alcohol, sweet, and fruity.

The Hokkaido Dosanko Plaza is conveniently located in the same building with a few antenna shops so worth a visit if you have time and are curious about regional foods.

Kagoshima Yurakukan Antenna Shop in Yurakucho

Japan is a small country, about the size of California, yet each prefecture and region has its own local food and the Japanese treasure these regional products. There is no better expression of the diverse terroir of Japan than its local commodities. Kombu harvested from the rich mineral waters of Hokkaido. The southern prefecture of Kagoshima is famous for its sweet potatoes, which are the base for its heady imo jochu (sweet potato shochu).

Antenna shops act as both stores offering items that are often hard to find outside of the region as well as public relations office offering brochures about the local area. From local beverages like sake or shochu, pickles, sweets and meats, these antenna shops offer great finds and are worth carefully perusing. If you are looking for pottery from a certain region, for example the pastel glazed Hagiyaki from Yamaguchi, then these regional antenna shops are a good place to start.

Some shops will have restaurants featuring local foods, kyodo ryori (郷土料理) and these too are a great way to try food you normally would not have the chance to.

Kagoshima Yurakukan

Kagoshima Yurakukan

Kagoshima Yurakukan かごしま遊楽館

Chiyoda-ku, Yurakucho 1-6-4, Chiyoda Building 千代田区有楽町1−6−4千代田ビル

Tel. 03-3580-8821

10:00 – 20:00 (10:00 – 19:00 weekends and holidays)

www3.pref.kagoshima.jp/foreign/english/profile/gaiyou/yurakukan_main.html (English)

Kagoshima also on Kyushu is famous for its shochu, in particular imo jochu from sweet potatoes, of which the shop has an unusually large selection. The cuisine is rich with kurobuta (Berkshire pork) products, Satsuma age fish cakes and more. The restaurant on the second floor, Ichi nii san, serves up a kurobuta based menu in a variety of presentations including tonkatsu or shabu-shabu.

Tokyo Bargain Dining

Elaine Louie, who is a fellow author at The Little Bookroom, has penned this great article for the New York Times on cheap eats in Tokyo.

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/03/10/dining/10TOKY.html?pagewanted=all

Here is her book on Cheap Eats in London:

http://www.littlebookroom.com/savoirfare.html

Tokyo Cheap Eats – Kanda Yabu Soba

Yabu Soba

Yabu Soba

UPDATE: Kanda Yabu Soba caught on fire on February 19, 2013. 40 customers and employees were in the restaurant during dinner service when the fire was noticed. Everyone was safely evacuated. A spokesperson for Kanda Yabu Soba has said on NHK news the following day that the restaurant hopes to reopen in six months.

If you are to visit only one soba shop in Tokyo, then it should be Yabu Soba in Kanda. Soba aficionados from around the country trek to this fifth generation shop that opened in 1880. Enter through a compact garden and step back in time in this old building. The room is traditional Japanese with dark colored wood and paper-covered lights. Listen carefully and you can hear the girl behind the cash register sing out each order to the kitchen. This is the only place in Japan that I have seen this done. The elderly kimono clad waitresses efficiently manage the busy dining room. If you are hungry the diverse menu allows you to order a few dishes prior to closing the meal with noodles, like sashimi yuba, tempura, and grilled nori. There is also a full menu of soba, both hot and cold.

Seiro Soba

Seiro Soba

Kanda Yabu Soba かんだやぶそば

Chiyoda-ku, Awajicho 2-10 千代田区淡路町2-10

Tel. 03-3251-0287

11:30 – 19:30

some holidays in January and August

www.yabusoba.net (Japanese)

www.norenkai.net/english/shop/yabusoba/index.html (English)

Tokyo Bargain Dining – Maisen Tonkatsu in Omotesando まい泉とんかつ

Maisen's Tonkatsu

Maisen's Tonkatsu

If you have not had tonkatsu in Japan you probably have not experienced the juicy pork cutlet with the crispy panko breaded. This served up with a hot bowl of rice and a large haystack of julienned cabbage does not disappoint. Season the cabbage and pork with some tonkatsu dressing, a dark, sweet, thick sauce (think ketchup and Worcestershire sauce) and dig in.

There are many shops in Tokyo, but one of the perennial favorite on any round up of tonkatsu shops consistently has Maisen at the top. There are many shops, including in depachika for take-out, throughout the city. The main shop, in Aoyama, is a few blocks behind Omotesando Hills, and a short walk from the funky shopping street Takeshita Dori in Harajuku.

Maisen Interior

Maisen Interior

There are several rooms on the two story shop in Aoyama. This is the main dining room. It used to be a bathhouse. I don’t sense it when I am there, and I don’t know why anyone who writes about it seems to feel like they need to mention it. I am including it in this blog so that you can know that yes, this is the tonkatsu shop that used to be a bathhouse.

Maisen Counter

Maisen Counter

There is usually a line, don’t worry, it moves quickly as it is a large restaurant. This here is the counter and guests are usually lined up on the right hand side along the window. There is also a take-out cart in front of the shop.

The tonkatsu sandwich is also popular, fried cutlets with sauce between white bread. I prefer my tonkatsu hot so have not come to understand the popularity of these sandwiches. My recommendation is any small farmed pork on the menu. I have had a great Okinawan pork in the past. Also, be sure to upgrade the soup to a tonjiru, thin slices of pork with vegetables in a miso soup.

Maisen まい泉

Shibuya-ku, Jingumae 4-8-5 渋谷区神宮前4-8-5

Phone: 03-3470-0071

http://mai-sen.com/

Travel – Himi Fishing Port 氷見

Some more photos of the Himi Seafood Auction in Toyama.

Buyers at the Himi Market

Buyers at the Himi Market

If I understand correctly, this is a list of the licensed buyers at the auction. As you can see in photos below, buyers will have a tag, usually on their hat, that auctioneers can recognize that these people are authorized to purchase at the auction. Carefully looking at the board you can find the names of a handful of women.

Fishing boats unloading at the auction

Fishing boats unloading at the auction

Unlike Tsukiji Market, where most of the seafood comes in by trucks, and even airplanes via Narita and Haneda, most of the fish at the Himi auction were unloaded off of boats and moved just a few feet onto the auction floor.

Auction in action

Auction in action

A close up of the auction.

Overview of the auction

Overview of the auction

The Himi auction has built a great viewing area for visitors to the market. There is a perch that overlooks the market. It would be great if the new Tsukiji Market could also build something like this. You can see the auction taking place in the upper right of the photos.

Variety of local seafood

Variety of local seafood

We saw a variety of winter fish including hirame (flounder), octopus, anko (monkfish), saba (mackerel), and the famous kanburi (winter yellowtail).

Kanburi (winter yellowtail)

Kanburi (winter yellowtail)

The whole reason we came to the market, to try and eat this fish, one of Shinji’s favorite this time of year.

Breakfast in the shokudo

Breakfast in the shokudo

On the second floor of the auction, just off of the viewing perch, is the market’s shokudo, or dining hall. Our breakfast was the local kanburi (winter yellowtail).

Kanburi sashimi for breakfast

Kanburi sashimi for breakfast

Shinji loved this breakfast – the winter yellowtail, rich in flavor and almost melting in your mouth.

Grilled kanburi

Grilled kanburi

A popular way of cooking the kanburi is simply to salt and grill. It is so rich that the meat falls apart.

The name of the shokudo at the auction is Kaiho. This is a great destination for any seafood fan. The coastal village of Toyama overlooks the Sea of Japan.

Travel – Himi Fishing Port in Toyama 氷見魚市場

Himi Seafood Auction

Himi Seafood Auction

On the coast of Toyama on the Sea of Japan is a famous fishing port. In the winter it is renowned for its kanburi or winter buri (yellowtail). Rich in fat, it melts in your mouth like fatty tuna. Don’t worry if you miss the early morning auction as there is a retail market next door with several large stalls selling fish caught locally.

Kamasu (barracuda)

Kamasu (barracuda)

While barracuda may have the reputation of being an agressive, predatory fish, it is actually quite small in size. The meat is tender and delicate.

Saba (mackerel)

Saba (mackerel)

You can see that these mackerel are rich in fat by observing the back area, it is almost bulging from its skin.

Saba (mackerel)

Saba (mackerel)

Kanburi (winter yellowtail)

Kanburi (winter yellowtail)

Here is the famous kanburi, the whole reason for our journey to this famed fishing port. We had some for breakfast and it was amazing, rich, and worth the trip.

For more information on Himi:

http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/location/regional/toyama/himi.html