Gotta Get – Taberu Rayu 食べるラー油

Taberu Rayu

Taberu Rayu

When shopping for food products in Tokyo I find there are some items you just gotta get. Either because they are so delicious or as they are a trendy item. Taberu rayu is in the second category. Popular for about two years now it is still a hot item on the market and can be addictive. The bottle pictured above is from Momoya, the company also famous for its nori paste called “gohan desu yo”.

Taberu rayu (chili oil that can be eaten) is without the heat of traditional rayu and packed with additional seasonings. The market has taken off for this product so there is are many variations, but typical ingredients include chili-infused sesame oil, deep-fried garlic chips, sesame seeds, sugar, fried onions, and dried shrimp to name a few. At Tsukiji Market one store has created a version that includes tuna and a pickled vegetable, takana. Taberu rayu is best eaten over a hot bowl of rice to appreciate its flavors and texture, but is a versatile condiment finding its way to burgers, noodles and even tofu. The best place to purchase it is at any supermarket.

FYI – rayu is most commonly used combined with soy sauce and vinegar for a dipping sauce for gyoza (pot stickers).

Check out:

Taberu Rayu Two (without the oil)

Taberu Shoyu

Nosetare Rayu Oroshi

Nosetare Rayu Goma

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Wagashi Fair at Nihonbashi Mitsukoshi 第65回全国銘菓展

Nihonbashi Mitsukoshi will host its 65th festival of famous wagashi purveyors. This is one of my favorite events at Mitsukoshi as the variety and beauty of wagashi is so impressive. Best of all, artisans are handcrafting edible works of art at some of the stalls so it becomes an education on how delicate and intricate this artform is. The wagashi artisans come from all over Japan

Wednesday, March 18 – Monday, March 23

Nihonbashi Mitsukoshi 7th floor

Chuo-ku, Nihonbashi Muromachi 1-4-1

Orimine Bakers near Tsukiji Market 築地のパン屋「オリミネベーカーズ」

Orimine Bakers

Orimine Bakers

Focaccia Shirasu

Focaccia Shirasu

Foccacia Iidako

Foccacia Iidako

A great little bakery near Tsukiji has opened up and is definitely worth checking out if you are in the area. The name of the shop is printed in gold on the windows, reminds me of Balthazar Bakery in Soho. You can’t miss its green and white awning and the green exterior. The breads range from sweet to savory but two in particular that catch my eyes are made with seafood procured from neighboring Tsukiji Market, both focaccia. One is topped with shiso, shirasu (boiled tiny anchovies), and cheese. The other has iidako (octopus) with a puttanesca sauce. There is also a selection of sandwiches. There is a map on the website, which is mostly in Japanese, but enough English to find the map and to see the other great breads.

Thanks to chef and author, Yukiko Hayashi (Gout Sensei) for bringing this shop to our attention! Gout Sensei’s website (in Japanese) is below. She is particularly passionate about soba.

http://gout.cocolog-nifty.com/blog/cat20852746/index.html (Japanese)

Orimine Bakers

Chuo-ku, Tsukiji 7-10-11

03-6228-4555

7:00 – 19:00, closed Sunday and holidays

http://oriminebakers.com/ (mostly Japanese but some basic English and a map)

2011 Top Ten New Ramen Restaurants in Tokyo (2/2)

Baisenshio Soba Dokoro Kinjito

Baisenshio Soba Dokoro Kinjito

New Old Style Niku Soba Keisuke

New Old Style Niku Soba Keisuke

Hongare Chuka Soba Gyorai Siphon

Hongare Chuka Soba Gyorai Siphon

Hongare Chuka Soba Gyorai Toppings

Hongare Chuka Soba Gyorai Toppings

Hongare Chuka Soba Gyorai

Hongare Chuka Soba Gyorai

Muteppou Tokyo Nakano Ten

Muteppou Tokyo Nakano Ten

The February 2011 issue of Shokuraku magazine lists the top ten new ramen shops in Tokyo. As most of this information only appears in Japanese I hope by including it in this blog that more people can come to explore these new restaurants.

3. (tied for third) Baisenshio Soba Dokoro Kinjito 焙煎汐蕎麦処 金字塔

Kita-ku, Akabane 1-62-5

03-5249-0355

11:30 – 24:30 (last order), open daily

http://www.hotpepper.jp/strJ000765396/ (Japanese)

The soup is based on both chicken and pork. The restaurant also does monthly specials.

3. (tied for third) New Old Style Niku Soba Keisuke 肉そばけいすけ

Koto-ku, Sumiyoshi 2-25-1

03-3846-1040

11:00 – 23:10 (last order), open daily

http://www.grandcuisine.jp/keisuke/nikusoba.html (Japanese)

These hearty bowls are loaded with sliced cha-shu pork.

2. Hongare Chuka Soba Gyorai 本枯中華そば  魚雷

Bunkyo-ku, Koishikawa 1-8-6, Arushion Bunkyo Koishikawa 102

03-5842-9833

11:00 – 15:00, 18:00 – 23:00 (or until supplies last)

closed Wednesday

http://bond-of-hearts.jp/shop_gyorai.html (Japanese)

A very unique concept where the soup is dispensed from a siphon and the toppings are served separately (see photos above). While I prefer to have my ramen assembled by the restaurant (the whole reason for going out to eat right?) it is a curious concept and one I imagine brings in a lot of customers. The soup is a W or a blend of two types, seafood and chicken and includes kombu dashi.

1. Muteppou Tokyo Nakano Ten 無鉄砲 東京中野店

Nakano-ku, Egota 4-5-1

03-5380-6886

11:00 – 15:00, 18:00 – 23:00 (or until supplies last)

closed Monday

http://www.muteppou.com/mainmenu.html#1 (Japanese)

With branches throughout Japan this is the first shop in Tokyo. Muteppou is known for its rich tonkotsu (pork bones) stock.

The other top ten new ramen restaurants are at this link:

https://foodsaketokyo.wordpress.com/2011/05/12/2011-top-ten-new-ramen-restaurants-in-tokyo/

Drinking Japan by Chris Bunting

Drinking Japan

Drinking Japan

Imbibers in Japan, be on the lookout for Drinking Japan, A Guide to Japan’s Best Drinks and Drinking Establishments. The author, Chris Bunting, has an impressive website on Japanese whisky:

http://www.nonjatta.blogspot.com/

Here is the link to the book on Tuttle Publishing’s website:

http://www.tuttlepublishing.com/book/?GCOI=48053100473120

 

2011 Top Ten New Ramen Restaurants in Tokyo 1/2

Mendokoro Kei

Mendokoro Kei

Chuka Soba Ranchu

Chuka Soba Ranchu

Menya Taika

Menya Taika

Mensoken Kanade Kurenai

Mensoken Kanade Kurenai

Menya Itou

Menya Itou

The February 2011 issue of Shokuraku magazine lists the top ten new ramen shops in Tokyo. As most of this information only appears in Japanese I hope by including it in this blog that more people can come to explore these new restaurants.

10. Mendokoro Kei 麺処 慶

Saitama-ken, Ageoshi-shi, Koizumi 69-8

No phone available

11:30 – 15:00, 18:00 – 21:00 (or until supplies last)

closed Wednesday

http://r.tabelog.com/saitama/A1104/A110401/11024040/ (Japanese)

Known for its miso ramen that is rich and thick in flavor. The miso is grilled with lard and a bit of sansho giving it a very unique taste.

9. Chuka Soba Ranchu 中華蕎麦 蘭鋳

Suginami-ku, Horinouchi 2-13-13

03-6319-1045

12:00 – 14:00, 18:00 – 24:00 closed Sunday and holidays

Saturday 12:00 – 15:00 (or until supplies last)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/53664757@N05/4973192598/sizes/l/in/photostream/ (map in Japanese)

http://r.tabelog.com/tokyo/A1319/A131903/13113532/ (Japanese)

The broth is flavored with niboshi (dried sardines) for a lighter flavored clear soup.

8. Menya Taika 麺や 太華

Kanagawa-ken, Yokohama-shi, Totsuka-ku, Totsukacho 16-1, Totsukana Mall 5F

045-871-0915

11:00 – 21:00, open daily

http://totsukana-mall.net/092.html (Japanese)

The soup is based on chicken and soy sauce.

7. Mensoken Kanade Kurenai 麺創研かなで 紅

Fuchu-shi, Miyamachi 1-3-10

042-367-0272

11:30 – 22:00, open daily

http://www.mensoken.jp/index.html (Japanese)

The Kurenai ramen is made with rice miso and a blend of seven different noodles for a variety of textures.

5. (tied for fifth) Menya Itou 麺屋 一燈

Katsushika-ku, Higashi Shin Koiwa 1-4-17

03-3697-9787

11:00 – 15:00, 18:00 – 22:00 (or until supplies last)

closed Monday (if Monday is a holiday they will be closed the following day)

http://kiseki-dream.com/ (Japanese)

Looking at their menu one option is nokomen, or ramen in a rich-flavored broth. But what caught me by surprise is that shio (salt) ramen is served on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday and shoyu (soy sauce) ramen is served the other days. Definitely looks like a place worth checking out.

5. (tied for fifth) Tsukemen Senmonten Mukyoku  つけ麺専門店 無極

Nakano-ku, Maruyama 2-1-1

03-3338-9998

11:00 – 21:00 (or until supplies last)

closed Monday

http://r.tabelog.com/tokyo/A1321/A132104/13114501/ (Japanese)

The ramen and dipping broth are served in two different bowls, tsukemen-style. The noodles are thick (all the better to dip with) and the dipping broth is rich tonkotsu (pork bones) based soup.

The top four new ramen shops are at this link:

https://foodsaketokyo.wordpress.com/2011/05/13/2011-top-ten-new-ramen-restaurants-in-tokyo-22/

Okinawa Food Fair at Keio Department Store in Shinjuku

Zuisen Awamori

Zuisen Awamori

Keio department store in Shinjuku will showcase the unique food of Okinawa at a food fair from Thursday, May 12th to Tuesday, May 17th. Do stop by if you are in Shinjuku. Highlights include an eat-in corner where you can order a bowl of the local noodles, soki soba. Other foods to try include rafute, pork simmered in a soy broth until tender, local vegetables like goya (bitter gourd) and tropical fruits such as passion fruit. But what is worth the trip is to pick up some bottles of awamori, the local distilled spirit made from Thai rice. At these food events it is common for representatives from the awamori distilleries to come and pour samples of their product so come and taste through a few to see what you like. Be sure to try some ku-su, aged awamori. Advertisements for the event say that there will be a five-year aged awamori. Keio is located near the Nishi guchi (west exit) of Shinjuku station. The event is on the 7th floor.

http://info.keionet.com/shi_ebook.html (Japanese)

Shinjuku-ku, Nishi Shinjuku 1-1-4

Phone 03-3342-2111

The event closes at 5:00 p.m. on the final day, Tuesday, May 17th.

Yubakichi in Kyoto’s Nishiki Market 京都錦市場の湯波吉

Yubakichi Nishiki

Yubakichi Nishiki

Yuba Namakohikiage

Yuba Namakohikiage

Yubakichi Interior

Yubakichi Interior

Yubakichi’s rich history dates back to 1790. The delicate yuba is made using domestic soybeans. The yuba has a light sweetness to it. You will find both dried and fresh yuba. The fresh yuba is creamy and has a nice texture. This can be served with just wasabi and soy sauce.

Yubakichi 湯波吉

10:00 – 18:00, closed Sundays and the 4th Wednesday of each month

075-221-1372

www.kyoto-nishiki.or.jp/shop/yubakichi/yubakichi.htm (Japanese)

Aritsugu in Kyoto’s Nishiki Market 京都錦市場の有次

Aritsugu Exterior

Aritsugu Exterior

Aritsugu Interior

Aritsugu Interior

Aritsugu 有次

9:00 – 17:30, no holidays

075-221-1091

www.aritsugu.com (Japanese)

Aritsugu has been in business since 1560. Famous for their knives, you will also find an enticing selection of other essential tools for the kitchen including nabe, handcrafted oroshigane (graters), and peelers. Aritsugu also has a shop in Tsukiji Market in Tokyo, but this shop in Kyoto has a wider selection, and is more accustomed to tourists.

Dintora in Kyoto’s Nishiki Market 錦市場のぢんとら

Dintora ぢんとら

Dintora ぢんとら

Dintora ぢんとら

Dintora ぢんとら

Dintora is filled with spices, perfect for any home cook, including dried yuzu, chinpi, ichimi, shichimi, sansho, and karashi. Many of these spices are light and portable so stock up here if you are visiting from abroad. The chinpi (dried citrus peel) can be mixed with honey and hot water when you have a cold, or added to a bath.

Dintora Spice Shop ぢんとら

075-221-0038

closed Tuesdays, if Tuesday is a holiday, it will be open and closed Wednesday

http://homepage2.nifty.com/dintora/ (Japanese)