The Origins of Katsu Curry

Katsu curry, tonkatsu pork cutlet with curry rice, originated at Grill Swiss in Ginza. Lunch starts with a small salad and an asari clam and bacon soup. The dark brown curry is made with minced pork and beef is rich with spices and is topped with tonkatsu (1,540 JPY or about $12). On this day…

Fried Chicken in Matsumoto

Fried chicken at Shizuka near Matsumoto Castle. Sanzokuyaki 山賊焼 fried chicken is a local specialty in Matsumoto, Nagano. I love fried chicken and this one was crispy and juicy. Shizuka is an izakaya traditional Japanese pub. In the evening nihonshu flows and there is a long list of saké-friendly small bites like basashi horse sashimi,…

Matsumoto Kissa Senzu Wagashi

Kissa Senzu serves modern and traditional wagashi sweets inside of the historic Kaiundo confectionary shop, opened in 1884 in Matsumoto. Monaka, a crispy wafer is served with a flight of three types of red beans (smooth, chunky, and whole). A fun way to compare the textures. Dorayaki of two small pancakes stuffed with sweet anko…

Metoba Soba in Matsumoto

Metoba is a soba shop on the Metoba river that flows through Matsumoto in Nagano. Nagano is famous for its harvest of buckwheat grains for soba. I asked if there were any local dishes we could try and was recommended the soba pancake called soba usuyaki (literally thin and grilled). A bit thinner than Western-style…

Kyobashi Isehiro Yakitori

Not far from Tokyo Station is one of my go-to yakitori shops. Isehiro has been grilling chicken skewers for over one hundred years (est. 1921). The tsukune chicken balls, my favorite in the city, have a meaty texture. Isehiro calls these dango on their menu. When I worked at Takashimaya depachika down the street I…

Vegetarian Sushi in a Traditional Japanese Home

Just south of Nishi-Ogikubo station on the JR Chuo line is a quaint kominka, traditional Japanese home, with a restaurant and retail shop. Re:gendo offers nutritious meals in a rustic setting that is worth a trip out of the city. A good friend put this shop on my radar and she even knew to pre-order the…

New York Grill Lunch at the Park Hyatt Tokyo

One of my favorite lunch spots in Tokyo is at the New York Grill in the Park Hyatt Tokyo. The view at 52 floors above Tokyo is amazing, even when it is overcast and lightly raining. The lunch starts at 5,000 JPY and includes a gorgeous buffet of appetizers. Customers choose a main course and…

Tsukiji Market Nakagawaya

Pickles play an essential role on the Japanese Table. It is served at many meals. At a kaiseki meal it is included in the rice course with miso soup. Casual curry shops serve fukujin-zuke, a soy-based relish made with daikon, eggplant, and cucumbers. If you really love Japanese pickles, then be sure to have a meal at Kintame. There…

Japanese Fruit Shops – Nihonbashi Sembikiya 日本橋千疋屋

*All photos by Aiste Miseviciute of Luxeat. Check out her blog for many beautiful photos of her meals in Japan. A visit to Japan for any foodie would not be complete without a careful peruse of the upscale fruit shops. My personal favorite is Nihonbashi Sembikiya, which is Japan’s oldest fruit shop. Sembikiya originated in 1834…

Food Sake Tokyo’s Tsukiji Market Tour

Tsukiji Market, the world’s largest seafood market, is in the heart of Tokyo. It is a short walk from the glitzy Ginza shopping district and just minutes from the renovated Kabukiza theater. It’s one of Tokyo’s most popular tourist destinations with visitors. And, it is our most popular tour that our company, Food Sake Tokyo,…

Top Ten Depachika in Tokyo 東京のデパ地下

Working at the sake section of the depachika in  Nihonbashi Takashimaya was loads of fun. As a sommelier it was my job to sell wine but my responsibilities also included selling sake, shochu, and other spirits. Who wouldn’t love to be surrounded by amazing food all day long? My breaks were spent carefully perusing the floor for new items….

Where do Tokyoites Shop for Food?

So where do Tokyoites do their grocery shopping? There are large supermarkets, like Ito Yokado, Daiei, or Seiyu (a subsidiary of Walmart) but these require a lot of space so are usually found a bit out of the city. There is an Ito Yokado a few stops from Tokyo station on the Tozai line at…

Indagare Interview – Culinary Tokyo: Restaurants Not To Miss

This interview appeared a while back but I wanted to share it for its information on some of my top recommendations for foodies visiting Tokyo. Born in Japan and raised in the United States, Yukari Pratt Sakamoto, the author of the soon-to-be-released Food Sake Tokyo (Little Bookroom, $29.95), is a true Tokyo food insider. Here, she shares her favorite restaurants,…

Foodie’s Guide to Kappabashi 合羽橋

Kappabashi is a wonderland for chefs. Here you will find almost everything that one would need for cooking. While it is famous for its plastic food models, that is only a tiny part of what you will find in this area, very close to Asakusa, the popular tourist destination. It is a short walk from…

Gotta Go – Nihonbashi Yukari

I am often asked for restaurant suggestions in Tokyo. There is one restaurant that I recommend time and time again. Chef Kimio Nonaga of Nihonbashi Yukari was the 2002 Iron Chef winner, and the trophy is displayed when you first walk in. I love this restaurant for lunch or dinner. For a multi-course kaiseki dinner…