Isomaru Suisan 磯丸水産

A friend and I needed to grab a quick lunch before he jumped on the shinkansen to Kyoto. We popped into Isomaru Suisan near Ueno station and had colorful and fresh sashimi donburiDonburi are large bowls filled with rice and toppings, a great one-bowl meal. He had a tuna and avocado bowl and I took a chirashizushi with seasonal sashimi, roe, and tamagoyaki. Each bowl was about 800 JPY or about $7 USD. Isomaru Suisan is a reliable restaurant for quick and affordable meals made with very fresh seafood.

Isomaru Suisan was recently featured on television as it goes to great lengths to bring the freshest seafood to its stores. The chain has branches throughout Tokyo and most shops are 24 hours. There are multiple locations at the bigger stations. Shinjuku station has nine shops within walking distance. There is a menu that is in English, Chinese, and Korean complete with photos.

The interior is filled with colorful designs from tairyōbata, giant flags that are flown from fishing boats in Japan. Staff are plentiful and service is fast. This is not gourmet dining, but for the price, it offers a great value.

Many of the diners were drinking beer and saké. Many were grilling their own seafood on portable burners. It’s a fun atmosphere and a great place to come with friends, but solo diners would also feel comfortable here.

Isomaru Suisan 磯丸水産

http://www.isomaru.jp/

The shops:

http://www.isomaru.jp/shoplist/

The shop list is only in Japanese. I would suggest doing a search in English under “Isomaru Suisan” and the name of a Tokyo station.

 

 

Digging into an Ice Cold Kakigori

On summer visits to Japan as a child my favorite sweets were kakigori topped with milk. Only when I grew up did I realize that it wasn’t milk but it was sweetened condensed milk. No better way to cool down in the Tokyo heat than a bowl of shaved ice topped with a sweet syrup. Flavors like mattcha and azuki, mango, or anzu (apricots) will have you smacking your lips. Many kanmidokoro (Japanese cafes with traditional sweets) serve kakigori, but usually only for the summertime so this is the best time to dig in.

Here are a few places to dig into kakigori in the summer. Shops usually put a small flag outside with the kanji for ice on it. 氷

Mihashi

Mihashi

Mihashi’s original shop in Ueno (Taito-ku, Ueno 4-9-7) opened during the Edo period. This location, in the basement of Tokyo station in the area called Ichiban Gai, is more centrally located.

Chiyoda-ku, Marunouchi 1-9-1, Tokyo Station, Ichiban Gai B1

Morinoen

Morinoen

Walking around the historic Ningyocho district is always fun. Morinoen is a tea shop that specializes in houjicha. Here is their houjicha kakigori. You can smell the houjicha being roasted out on the street. Pick up a bag of the tea while you are here to take home. It’s great both hot or cold.

Chuo-ku, Nihonbashi Ningyocho 2-4-9

Naniwaya

Naniwaya

Naniwaya in Azabu-Juban is renowned for its taiyaki (fish-shaped pancakes stuffed with azuki).  It’s been grilling taiyaki for over a century. Step inside and grab a seat for an anzu (apricot) kakigori.

Minato-ku, Azabu-Juban 1-8-14

Kinozen

Kinozen

Kagurazaka is also a fabulous place for walking around and Kinozen is my favorite place for a kakigori.

Shinjuku-ku, Kagurazaka 1-12

Toraya

Toraya

Toraya in Ginza serves up a yummy ichigo (strawberries) kakigori.

Chuo-ku, Ginza 7-8-6, 2nd floor

Kimchi Yokocho キムチ横丁 2/2

Daiichi Bussan Kimchi

Daiichi Bussan Kimchi

Marukin まるきん

Taito-ku, Higashi Ueno 2-19-1 台東区東上野2-19-1

Tel. 03-3832-4549

www.kimchi-marukin.com/ (Japanese)

Daiichi Bussan 第一物産

Taito-ku, Higashi Ueno 2-15-5 台東区東上野2-15-5

Tel. 03-3831-1323

www.d1b.jp/ (Japanese)

Konan Foods コーナンフーズ

Taito-ku, Higashi Ueno 2-15-5 台東区東上野2-15-5

Tel. 03-3831-2017

no website

The handful of shops here specialize in handmade kimchi, meats for cooking at home, and ingredients for cooking Korean food at home including spices, reimen (cold noodles), sauces for yakiniku, kochujan, sesame oil, tea, nori, and more. Shops to look for include Marukin, Daiichi Monosan , and Koumen Foods. Some of the items, in particular, the Korean nori, is also sold in the Ameyoko market.

The variety of kimchi is impressive including hakusai (Napa cabbage), kakuteki (daikon), wakegi (negi or leeks), goma no ha (sesame leaves), aotogarashi (green chili peppers), and more.

There are several restaurants featuring yakiniku, bibimpa, chijimi, reimen, and other popular Korean dishes. Be sure to poke your head into the narrow side streets that have.

Kimchi Yokocho キムチ横丁 1/2

Kimchi Yokocho キムチ横丁

Kimchi Yokocho キムチ横丁

Kimichi Yokocho Map

Kimichi Yokocho Map

Kimchi Yokocho キムチ横丁

http://panda.starfleet.ac/~kaeru/kimuti/kimuti.html

On the other side of the tracks is an area called Kimchi Yokocho. In an area of a few blocks is a concentration of shops and restaurants specializing in Korean food. There is a much larger area filled with Korean supermarkets, restaurants, and shops near Shinjuku near the Shin-Okubo station on the Yamanote line.

Even though the map is in Japanese, it will give you an idea of the number of shops in Kimchi Yokocho and where they are located.

Tokyo Cheap Eats – Oedo Kaitenzushi 大江戸回転寿し

Ooedo Kaitenzushi

Ooedo Kaitenzushi

Ooedo Kaitenzushi

Ooedo Kaitenzushi

As a fishmonger, Shinji is always craving sushi. There are many ranks of restaurants, even within the kaitenzushi (revolving sushi). Ooedo Kaitenzushi came highly recommended for its variety of fresh fish at a reasonable price. Ooedo has several locations throughout the city. This one is near Okachimashi, just south of Ueno station and near the boisterous Ameyoko market.

Shirako

Shirako

Assorted Sushi

Assorted Sushi

Assorted Sushi

Assorted Sushi

Ooedo Kaitenzushi – Okachimachi Kitaguchi Ten

Taito-ku, Ueno 6-2-1

Phone: 03-5812-2097

http://www.ooedo.co.jp