Food & Wine Magazine’s 2009 Tokyo Go List

My contribution to Food & Wine magazine’s 2009 Go List for Tokyo: Japanese chefs are dictating the world’s dining trends with their fierce devotion to seasonality and respect for aesthetics. GINZA HARUTAKA Chef Harutaka Takahashi may have a Michelin-starred resume, but he isn’t showy. He turns exceptional seafood into perfect sashimi and sushi in a simple space…

Kagurazaka – 50ban for Stuffed Buns 神楽坂50ban

Kagurazaka 50ban 神楽坂五十番 Shinjuku-ku, Kagurazaka 3-2 03-3260-0066 9:00 – 23:00, Sundays & holidays until 22:00 http://www.50ban.com (Japanese) The lines at the top of the hill are for the chukaman savory and sweet steamed buns at the popular 50ban. With over two-dozen types to select from including shrimp, pork, kaibashira (scallops), cheese, curry and sweet ones…

Yuzu Kosho Kit Kats

You saw it here first. Is this an unusual combination or what? Yuzu kosho is one of my favorite Japanese condiments. It is a salty paste made from green or red chili peppers, although most often seen in the green form. Grilled yakitori (chicken skewers) can be spiced up with a bit of it, or…

B Kyu Gourmet – Cheap Eats in Tokyo B級グルメ

Here are some of my favorite restaurants that won’t break the bank. This article first appeared in Metropolis on November 5, 2009. http://metropolis.co.jp/dining/local-flavors/the-b-list/ The most sought-after tables in recession-hit Tokyo can be found at so-called B-kyu gurume restaurants. These eateries typically specialize in a single cuisine—soba or tonkatsu, for example—served in simple settings without the lacquerware…

Book Review – The Decorative Art of Japanese Food Carving

The Decorative Art of Japanese Food Carving by Hiroshi Nagashima, Kodansha International, 2009, 112 pp. The Japanese eat with their eyes as evident with food carving that decorates dishes at kaiseki restaurants. No other book has captured this dying art to such detail. The book is filled with instructions and photos that give you the…

Book Review – Japanese Kitchen Knives

Japanese Kitchen Knives by Hiromitsu Nozaki with Kate Klippensteen, Kodansha International, 2009, 160 pp. Revered chef Hiromitsu Nozaki’s cookbooks in Japanese are rich with classic recipes and techniques. Finally, his first book in English and it does not disappoint. Japanese knives are revered around the world and chef Nozaki clearly defines why in this handsome…

Maizuru in Kappabashi for Plastic Food Samples

Most visitors to Kappabashi expect to find several shops selling plastic food samples including key chains, clocks, magnets, cell phone straps, and full size samples. There are only a handful of shops but they will not disappoint. This one in the photo above is one of Maizuru’s shops (there are two). Maiduru Honten まいづる本店 Taito-ku,…

Food & Wine Go List 2009 for Tokyo

I am often asked for my recommendations for my favorite restaurants in the city. Here is my contribution to Food & Wine’s 2009 Go List for Tokyo. Japanese chefs are dictating the world’s dining trends with their fierce devotion to seasonality and respect for aesthetics. For more great restaurants, check out our guide to the…

Okuda Shouten Shiten in Kappabashi for Bamboo Products

This shop features bamboo products. Strainers, steamers, bamboo baskets for soba, tempura, or for large strainers, chopsticks, handai for making sushi rice, bento boxes, bowls for miso soup. I have picked up many items here including long cooking chopsticks, otoshibuta (wooden drop lids for pots), and a large, bamboo basket that I take to the…

Machikan Knife Shop in Kawagoe, Saitama

Kawagoe in Saitama is a short train ride just north of Tokyo. This historic city is charming and a great day trip. The downtown “kurazukuri” area is filled with old, wooden buildings and this tall bell tower. Shinji and I came to Kawagoe to purchase knives for each other. Machikan is on the main street…

Izumiya for Sembei in Asakusa

Izumiya 和泉屋 Taito-ku, Asakusa 1-1-4 Tel. 03-3841-5501 10:30 – 19:30 (closed Thursdays) http://www.asakusa.gr.jp/nakama/izumiya/ (Japanese) This quaint sembei shop presents the rice crackers in glass jars with tin lids. A wide variety of flavors include both sweet and savory like shiso, zarame (rock sugar), and a very spicy dried red pepper covered ookara. The very delicate…

Kappabashi – Getting There

The Kappabashi area is packed with shops for chefs and restaurateurs and a great area to explore for any foodie. It is a short walk from the historic Asakusa temple area. Getting there is easy. Below are the photos that will help you get there from Tawaramachi train station on the Ginza line. Take exit…

Nihonbashi Yukari 日本橋ゆかり

One of my favorite restaurants in Tokyo is Nihonbashi Yukari. It is just a coincidence that it is called Yukari. It is not a coincidence that I worked at Takashimaya in Nihonbashi, just a few blocks from this oasis. Nihonbashi Yukari is a kaiseki restaurant serving seasonal cuisine. Chef Nonaga was the 2002 Iron Chef…

Miyazaki Kan Konne Antenna Shop

Regional foods are celebrated in Japan and the best place to explore these in Tokyo are at “antenna shops”. At these shops you will find artisan sake and shochu (distilled spirit), miso, pickles, sweets, crackers, and at some shops, seafood and meat products. Near Shinjuku station is the Miyazaki prefecture antenna shop. The shops are…