Tamahide in Ningyocho

Tamahide in Nihonbashi Ningyocho has a perpetual line out its front door, regardless if it is a weekday or holiday. Its signature dish, oyakodon, literally mother and child, is bite-size pieces of chicken mixed with scrambled eggs and a sweet sauce. The chicken is cooked and then added to the eggs which is then just given some heat to start to set and this is poured over a hot bowl of rice.

 When I worked at Takashimaya, Tamahide did promotions in our depachika and the lines were there too.

Tamahide has been in business since 1760. In speaking to fellow diners, they too were curious like me, it was their first time, and they too wanted to try Tamahide’s oyakodon once in their life. As this is where the now popular comfort food was created here.

It is hands down the best oyakodon that I have had. Surely it is the eggs, the chicken, the seasoning, but also, having tried to make this at home a few times, I am always challenged to get the eggs to set just like this. The eggs are still runny and the savory sauce is filled with umami. It does come at a price though, at 1,300 JPY. My neighbor had the soboro oyakodon with ground chicken at 800 JPY and it looked just as satisfying. And, it is a bit silly to stand in line for longer than it takes to order and eat your food. But, I had to do it once, just as, I assume, many of the other customers. It would be fun to come for the dinner full chicken sukiyaki course.

Ningyocho is a great neighborhood to walk around filled with wagashi shops, kanmidokoro (Japanese confectionary cafes), sembei (rice crackers), tea shops, and more.

Tamahide 玉ひで

Chuo-ku, Nihonbashi-Ningyocho 1-17-10

03-3668-7651

Closed Sunday and holidays

*This first appeared on my other blog in May, 2009, before Food Sake Tokyo was started.

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Popular Donburi in Japan 日本の丼

DSCN0416Oyako-don from Tamahide in Ningyocho

Donburi 丼 are simple and fast meal. It is a large bowl of hot rice with toppings. We often make it for lunch as it is not only easy to assemble, but also easy to clean up after the meal. Many restaurants often serve donburi at lunchtime as an affordable option, often just “one coin” or 500 yen. There are restaurants that specialize in donburi like Yoshinoya (beef) or my personal favorite, Tenya (tempura). Many restaurants in the outer market of Tsukiji will sell seafood donburi, which is usually what we make at home as we often have fresh sashimi in the house.

One of Tokyo’s most famous donburi dishes is the oyako-don, literally “mother and child”, from Tamahide in Ningyocho. Tamahide is a fifth generation shop that serves chicken and eggs in a savory soy broth. The restaurant is so popular that I’ve never seen it without a line out the front door. Creamy half-cooked scrambled eggs dotted with juicy chicken is a comfort food dish in Japan.

The kanji for donburi is easy to recognize on any menu. 丼 As you can see here, it almost looks like a dish with something inside of it.

From the Asahi newspaper, here is a list of popular donburi in Japan.

1. katsu-don – tonkatsu

2. una-don – unagi

3. kaisen-don – fresh seafood

4. ten-don – tempura (usually shrimp)

5. oyako-don – chicken and eggs

6. gyu-don – thinly sliced beef in a soy broth

7. chuka-don – Chinese-style, often stir-fried meat and vegetables

8. tekka-don – maguro sashimi

9. uni-don – uni sea urchin

10. ikura-don – ikura salmon roe

11. kakiage-don – tempura

12. tentsu-don – Chinese-style omelet with vegetables covered in a thick, slightly sweet and tart sauce

13. anago-don – anago

14. tamago-don – raw egg

15. shirasu-don – baby boiled anchovies

16. yamakake-don – grated yamaimo and maguro sashimi

17. ma-bo-don – Chinese ma-bo- dofu (a spicy tofu and ground beef mixture)

18. buta-don – grilled pork

19. yakiniku-don – grilled beef

20. others

Tamahide in Ningyocho 人形町の玉ひで

Tamahide in NIngyocho 人形町の玉ひで

Tamahide in NIngyocho 人形町の玉ひで

Tamahide in NIngyocho 人形町の玉ひで

Tamahide in NIngyocho 人形町の玉ひで

Tamahide in NIngyocho 人形町の玉ひで

Tamahide in NIngyocho 人形町の玉ひで

Tamahide 玉ひで

Chuo-ku, Nihonbashi Ningyocho 1-17-10 中央区日本橋人形町1-17-10

Tel. 03-3668-7651

11:30 – 13:00, 17:00 – 22:00, Saturday 16:00 – 21:00

closed Sunday and holidays

www.tamahide.co.jp/ (Japanese)

Tamahide will be easy to find as there is a perpetual line out the front door. The large white building looks like a castle with the large stones surrounding its base. Opened in 1760, this fifth generation shop is synonymous with a dish called oyakodon. Literally, mother and child, this dish is made from chicken cooked in a sweet soy broth with eggs added at the last minute until they just start to set. This is poured over a bowl of rice and eaten with a lacquer spoon. If you want to upgrade the dish ask for the duck and to downgrade ask for ground chicken. Seating is communal at low horigotatsu tables, with a hole under the table to put your feet into. For a real treat come in the evening for a full chicken sukiyaki course.

Shotengai Shopping Arcades – Walking Food Tours of Tokyo

Shotengai

Shotengai

I love the shotengai, Japanese shopping arcades. Filled with ma and pa shops selling tofu, fresh produce, rice, pickles, miso, and other basics of the Japanese pantry. This article recently appeared in Metropolis magazine and features five of my favorite shotengai in Tokyo.

http://metropolis.co.jp/dining/local-flavors/street-eats/ (text follows)

While the one-stop food shopping at Tokyo’s depachika is an amazing experience, the gourmet eats come with a high price tag. At the other end of the spectrum are the places where most Japanese do their daily shopping: neighborhood shopping streets known as shotengai, where you’ll find mom and pop shops selling vegetables, fish, meat, rice and even handmade tofu. The Tokyo Shotengai website (http://meturl.com/shotengai) lists over 550 of these shopping streets; here are some of our favorites.

KAGURAZAKA 神楽坂

This foodie neighborhood is filled with many fantastic shops along the main drag. Try 50-ban (3-2 Kagurazaka) for its steamed buns, Kintokiya (2-10 Kagurazaka) for wagashi made from sweet potatoes, and the gorgeous Rakuzan (4-3 Kagurazaka) for tea. Isuzu (5-34 Kagurazaka) offers a variety of Japanese-style sweets and, if you walk along the street far enough, Baikatei (6-15 Kagurazaka) has fantastic handmade wagashi. Nearest station: Iidabashi

NIPPORI 日暮里

Just outside of Nippori station lies the Yanaka shotengai—very typical of what you would imagine an old-style shopping street to be like. Two of the area’s meat shops are famous for their menchikatsuNiku no Sato (3-13-2 Yanaka) and Niku no Suzuki (3-15-5 Nishi-Nippori). Goto no Ame (3-15-1 Nishi-Nippori) has a colorful selection of candies. There are many options, including deep-fried tofu balls known as ganmodoki, at Musashiya (3-9-15 Yanaka), oyatsu-pan (snack breads) at Atomu Bakery (3-11-14 Yanaka), and skewered and grilled seafood at Fukushima Shoten (3-13-4 Yanaka). Note that a lot of the shops are closed on Mondays.Nearest stn: Nippori. www.yanakaginza.com

NINGYOCHO 人形町

The historic Ningyocho district is always a delight to visit. While you’ll find many shops selling the local specialty, ningyoyaki (small cakes filled with azuki bean paste), there are many other interesting stores. On the famous Amazake Yokocho shotengai is Futaba Tofu (2-4-9 Ningyocho), with a variety of tofu products and also the sweet, creamy drink for which this street is named. Hojicha tea is the specialty of Morinoen (2-4-9 Ningyocho), while the long line outside the tiny Yanagiya (2-11-3 Ningyocho) is a testament to the popularity of its taiyaki sweet-bean cakes—considered one of the three best varieties in the city. Ningyocho’s most famous restaurant may well be Tamahide (1-17-10 Ningyocho), renowned for its oyako-don rice bowls. Nearest stn: Ningyocho.

KICHIJOJI 吉祥寺

Just north of Kichijoji station is Sun Road, a covered shotengai filled with many small shops. Among the several worth exploring are traditional German bakery Linde (1-11-27 Kichijoji-Honcho) and Meat Shop Sato (1-1-8 Kichijoji-Honcho), which is famous for its menchikatsu and wagyu and which also has a popular restaurant on the second floor, usually with a long line. Okashi no Machioka (1-15-1 Kichijoji-Honcho) will have your eyes spinning with all of the different types of candies, sweets and snacks. In the evening, the Harmonica Yokocho strip is filled with small restaurants that are perfect for a drink and some nibbles. Tecchan is a popular yakitori spot—if you can squeeze in (1-1-2 Kichijoji-Honcho). Nearest stn: Kichijoji.

AZABU-JUBAN 麻布十番

This popular foodie street in the heart of the city is easy to navigate. The renowned Mamegen (1-8-12 Azabu-Juban) tempts customers with over 90 varieties of flavored rice crackers, including uni, wasabi and curry, but it’s the shio-okaki (deep-fried and salted) that are irresistible. The taiyaki at the extremely popular Naniwaya Sohonten (1-8-14 Azabu-Juban) are made by the shop’s fourth-generation owners. Hasegawa Saketen (2-2-7 Azabu-Juban) has well-selected sake, shochu and umeshu. If you’re craving meat, the yakitori at Abe-chan (2-1-1 Azabu-Juban) will hit the spot. Alternatively, slurp up some soba noodles at Nagasaka Sarashina (1-8-7 Azabu Juban), notably the delicate, white sarashina noodles. Nearest stn: Azabu-Juban.