Considering that I was in an Asian country, of course there'll be junk food - especially from a hole in the wall! Though the comforting factor is that Japan is one of the cleanest cities in Asia, although Singapore claims the title, it certainly didn't have me convinced. Also, the Japanese' desire for perfection will guarantee that there are no crappy ingredients and haphazardly slapped together.
First, I present you...McDonald's!! (Yes, I consider McDonald's junk food)
Deep fried pastry filled with hot lava chocolate sauce
|Cross section of said chocolate pie|
|Fillet-o-Ebi (Shrimp fillet burger)|
|Cross section of Fillet-o-Ebi|
Kinda like a McChicken but with shrimp instead
You can actually see shrimp bits here
|My favourite: Apple pie|
This is deep fried as opposed to baked.
Next snack stop, isn't really a snack, but it's a street food. We came across it when we were returning to our hotel pretty late that night (~11pm) and notice this thing popped up:
|Pop-up night ramen stand outside of Shinjuku Station's south exit|
We move on to something a bit more snacky, takoyaki. Typically, these things can be referred to as dumplings or pancake balls. There really isn't a good term to label it besides the fact that you have a flour based batter which is poured into a cast iron grill mould like in the picture below and little bits of octopus is dropped into each well along with a few other ingredients while it cooks. The fun part is watching the guy use a skinny little pick to flip it over which somehow forms its round shape.
I love takoyaki. I don't even remember how I learn of its existence. The closest I've come across in my dinky little town is a bag of frozen takoyaki at my local T&T Asian supermarket which I can either nuke it in the microwave or better yet, deep fry it. Or, the sorry, half-cooked slop of mess that they serve and call takoyaki at the annual Hertiage Festival and charge you $5 for 2 pieces. I've even attempted to make them at home. T&T actually have premixed batter for sale and all sorts of condiments to go with it too. But still, part of my goal while in Japan was to taste the real thing.
|Takoyaki hole-in-wall in Jingu-mae, Harajuku near Kiddyland|
|Takoyaki - Grilled little octopus dumplings|
Special sauce, mayo and bonito flakes
|Takoyaki from a stand in Takeshita-dori in Harajuku|
Much less impressive looking but still good.
Once the parents have left Japan, Mr. Meow and I went to this amusement center in Ikebukuro upon the recommendation of a friend.
Rows upon rows of hole in the wall shops to purchase gyozas from
In the foreground, they're advertising "miso-dare gyoza from Shinshu" and "tokarashi gyoza"
6 for 400/450 yen
|Kurobuta (Berkshire pork) gyoza|
Extra juicy, extra tender, extra fatty
|Deep fried cheese gyoza|
Best of the bunch
|Mini Chocolate house cake|
TAKE THAT, Duchess!
|Black sesame and vanilla ice cream from Gelato Nero|
Cannot taste the sesame, boo
|A gazillion flavours of soft serve on tap|
Chocolate ganache, plain, pumpkin, soy matcha, Ramune, melon, chocolate, coffee
Soy, royal milk tea, wasabi, ocean vanilla (??), Kyouhou grape, white peach
|And a bajillion different kinds of cuppy ice cream|
from different regions such as Chuukoku, Shikoku, Kansai, and Tokai areas
|We settled on trying this one|
Pear sherbet with 12% real fruit juice!!!
We return to Takeshita-dori in Harajuku on the day before Halloween hoping to spot some weirdos or even weirdos in costumes.
I remember the first time I was in Takeshita-dori about 10 years ago, there were long ass line ups going for these things:
Marion Crepes and Angel Crepes are right across from each other
|This is their menu - a display case of its creations in plastic models|
|Notice she is actually almost making these crepes 2 at a time|
Prepping 2 at a time and then rolling up each one.
|Left: Double Chocolate-Mille Feuille-Whipped cream|
Right: Strawberry, Ice cream, Chocolate sauce, Whipped cream
from Angel Crepes
|A butch girl (pink) and a dude (blue) dressed up in Lolita get-up|
I did notice something different about the Japanese crepes and the ones here, they are smaller, filled less and hence lighter (not filling), and most of them have ice cream. It's almost like an ice cream cone but the cone is a crepe.
I love trying out local snacks and street foods but I have yet to figure out how I am supposed to fit all that in between meals (I also love discovering local eats). I am just thankful that in Japan, the portions are small and the ingredients are light, thus enabling my gluttony further.