Review of Your Fork + a Discount code!

If you are like me, there are days where you want to prepare a meal at home but you’re too lazy or tired to do a grocery run. There’s now a quick solution to this problem, it’s called Your Fork, Your Fork is an exciting concept that is currently being rolled out across Sydney. The idea is similar to ordering takeaway, but instead of a cooked meal being delivered to your door, Your Fork delivers the ingredients for you to prepare a simple home-cooked meal.

Your Fork currently has over 50 meal kits on offer and if you’re craving something else, you can also create your own meal. Most of their meals serve four people at a reasonable price of $19.95 plus $5 for delivery.

yourfork4I picked the Portuguese Chicken meal kit from their ‘Most Popular This Week’ meals. This kit included:

  • Portuguese Marinade
  • Salad Mix
  • Frozen Potato Chips OR Instant Mashed Potato
  • Chicken

At the time of ordering, my suburb was not officially available so delivery took a bit longer than the normal delivery time of 1 hour. Here’s what arrived in my shopping bag:

yourfork1My meal was easy to prepare, I followed the instructions and marinated my chicken in the sauce for 20 minutes then put both the marinated chicken and chips in a preheated oven and cooked it for about 30 minutes. Whilst this was happening, I tossed together a simple walnut and balsamic vinegar salad.

yourfork2And here it is! A delicious home-cooked meal without the need to drive to the shops! :D

Thanks to Your Fork, all my lovely readers can receive a $10 discount when the code “FOODSAURUS” is used at the check out! Enjoy it and let me know how your meal goes!

*Foodsaurus

Disclosure: Foodsaurus dined as a guest of Your Fork. All opinions expressed are my own.

Tapas Molecular Bar – Tokyo

It’s been two years since I started this blog! Thanks to everyone who has supported Foodsaurus along the way. To mark Foodsaurus’ 2nd Blogversary, I’ve written a photo essay (yes, this post is really long!) about our degustation meal at Tapas Molecular Bar in Tokyo, where Peter and I celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary in April this year.

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Tapas Molecular Bar is located on the 38th floor at the Mandarin Oriental and like the name suggests, it features a bar that exclusively seats eight people at each of their daily two seatings. So we were stoked to get a booking two months before our trip!

As you will see, dining at Tapas Molecular Bar was like sitting in a science lab where we watched mad scientists prepare spectacular food for us to eat… Enjoy :)

Bloody Mary Tapas Molecular Bar

Bloody Mary

As an aperitif, we were served a Bloody Mary – traditionally a drink but in this case it’s served as a layered tomato cube packed with flavours from the cocktail!

Celery Root, Chicken Heart Tapas Molecular Bar

Celery Root, Chicken Heart

Next up, we were served our first snack - Celery Root, Chicken Heart served on a plank of wood. I don’t remember much about the chicken heart as my eyes were drawn to the impressive edible paper crane.

Celery Root, Chicken Heart Tapas Molecular Bar

Celery Root, Chicken Heart

Here’s a close up shot of the paper crane made using celery root. This delicate and cripsy crane looked too pretty to even be eaten!

Crystal Ravioli Tapas Molecular Bar

Crystal Ravioli

Crystal Ravioli, this gelatin package was to be eaten in one bite so that you could taste the ravioli filling in one mouthful. Unfortunately, I don’t remember what was inside the ravioli :(

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After the ravioli, our chefs made caviar by releasing droplets of green apple flavoured liquid into a calcium bath using the syringes.

Green Apple Cheese Tapas Molecular Bar

Green Apple and Cheese

The green apple caviar was used for this dish, Green Apple and Cheese. The cheese was the foam on top of the caviar. Sounds strange but it didn’t taste too weird!

Salmon Chazuke Tapas Molecular Bar

Salmon Chazuke

Salmon Chazuke was a spin on the traditional Japanese dish where you pour hot liquid over cooked rice. In this case, the chefs placed crispy miso bits on top of a spherified ball filled with tea and served it alongside a piece of slightly charred salmon.

Spring Landscape Tapas Molecular Bar

Spring Landscape

And now for the actual degustation as the dishes before were apparently just snacks! On the left, we were served some Tempura vegetables on top of edible soil and what I remember to be avocado paste? And on the right, more veggies including a micro radish and white asparagus.

King Crab, Aurora Tapas Molecular Bar

King Crab, Aurora

King Crab, Aurora - delicious king crab served with foam and a Japanese edible leaf with natural beads all over it, giving it an interesting texture when you eat it.

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Our chefs then proceeded to create a Porcini Mushroom Cappuccino by using a coffee percolator to infuse dried porcini mushroom and coffee into a chicken broth. This was amazing to watch, and the flavours of this cappuccino was intense!

Porcini Mushroom Cappuccino Tapas Molecular Bar

Porcini Mushroom Cappuccino

Yurine Espuma Tapas Molecular Bar

Yurine Espuma

Yurine Espuma- This dish had black truffle written all over it, truffle foam, truffle oil and truffle shavings. At the bottom of the dish there were bits of lily bulbs that made the dish divine. This was an amazing soup and I think this dish would turn anyone into a truffle fan.

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The chefs are making a piece of artwork for us.

Crest of a Wave Tapas Molecular Bar

Crest of a Wave

The Crest of a Wave masterpiece. I felt transported to the seaside with the rocks (non-edible), champagne foam, scallops and onions on our plate.

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Our chefs are smoking our fish for our next dish…. and so that you could also experience it, I’ve made an animation… there was actually more smoke than this, but I just used a few frames instead of the 20 I snapped.

Smoked Amadai Tapas Molecular Bar

Smoked Amadai

The Amadai fish was delicious paired with peaches(?) you could taste the smokiness and it was really cool seeing the smoke dissipate as we opened the lid.

Lamb, Straw Tapas Molecular Bar

Lamb, Straw

For our next course we were served Lamb, Straw. The lamb cutlet was no ordinary cutlet as the chefs had inserted pomegranate juice and sealed the cutlet back with meat glue. The pomegranate juice exploded in our mouths when we ate it in one bite. As with the straw, the larger straws were not edible as it was encased in the glass bowl, but the smaller straws were. I don’t remember the taste of the straw as the pomegranate exploding lamb was just too good.

Gyudon Tapas Molecular Bar

Gyudon

This dish was a play on the famous Japanese dish called Gyudon, which literally means ‘beef bowl’. In this case, the chefs deconstructed the popular dish and served all the elements different to the original version. This included, a sou vide wagyu beef, crispy piece of onion, rice bubbles and thick tasty sauce.

DSC01778This wasn’t on our menus but the chefs threw it in as a bonus. A cherry blossom Sorbet that was made with liquid nitrogen. The sorbet was smooth, sweet and fruity.

Cherry Blossom Sorbet Tapas Molecular Bar

Cherry Blossom Sorbet

Cherry Garden Tapas Molecular Bar

Cherry Garden with Snow

After the sorbet, we were presented with this plate… the chefs explained to us that this was a garden that is covered with winter snow. They then told us that we had to use a spray can that was provided to spray the “snow” and uncover the garden.

Cherry Garden Tapas Molecular Bar

Cherry Garden with Wood, Blossom, Fruit and Essence

And here it is! Spring has arrived and the Cherry Garden is revealed. It was an edible garden. The branch was created by chocolate biscuits with bits of nuts and leaves on the side. The cherry at the centre of the dish was pitted and filled with something else and had a melt-in-the-mouth texture to it. The cherry rested on a curled up jelly. I wish I had taken a better photo of this! It was an incredible dessert.

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We thought the night was over as we had already reached the end of our menu. But we were in for a surprise. As we had informed the restaurant that we were celebrating our wedding anniversary, Chef Kento presented us an egg…

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It looked like a normal egg to us. But he told us to snatch it off him at the count of three. When he had counted to three, Chef Kento smashed the egg onto the table!

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And there appeared a beautiful paper crane… Genius.

Fruit Tapas Molecular Bar

Fruit

After the surprise egg came a plate of Fruit. We were told to eat half of the strawberry and lick the citrus (lemon, lime and orange) starting from the right. Once we had done this, we were told to pop the little bean on our right into our mouths and twirl it around for 30 seconds. We then spat the bean out and were told to try the fruit again starting from the left this time.. the fruit tasted completely different – they tasted extremely sweet! The bean turned out to be a miracle fruit that originated from Africa.

Our gastronomic experience at Tapas Molecular Bar was mind-blowing. We were expecting innovative food but this meal went beyond our expectations. We felt as if we had been transported into a Heston Blumenthal episode or something! Tapas Molecular Bar is highly recommended if you want a unique experience to remember!

Tapas Molecular Bar

Mandarin Oriental Tokyo, 2-1-1 Nihonbashi Muromachi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 103-8328
+81 (3) 3270 8800
http://www.mandarinoriental.com/tokyo/fine-dining/tapas-molecular-bar/

*Foodsaurus

Review of Menulog + Giveaway!

Foodsaurus was recently invited by Menulog to order takeaway from their website. I’ve never used Menulog before and was surprised to see that there are 3500+ restaurants listed on Menulog.

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I had a long day at work last Wednesday so a $30 voucher from Menulog came in handy. I found navigating through their website easy and straightforward. The most difficult part was deciding whether I wanted Thai food or Indian food :P

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I typed my postcode into Menulog’s homepage and 21 restaurants were listed under my suburb. I thought it was brilliant that you could even pre-order before the restaurant opens!

I ended up choosing Indian cuisine from Rang Mahal Indian as I was impressed with the specials that they offered, especially - ’20% Off the 1st Order’ and ‘Free Papadums with every delivery’!

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I ordered Butter Chicken (Mild), Tandoori Lamb Chops (Entree size), two Garlic Naan and Raita. All this would have cost me $40.80 but with the ’20% Off the 1st Order’ special and Menulog’s voucher, I paid $2.64.

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The food arrived within 15 minutes of my requested delivery time and everything was still warm. I particularly enjoyed the delicious garlic naan dipped in butter chicken and the papadums with the mint sauce. It was a good and satisfying meal for a cold winter’s night! I even had some left overs for lunch the next day :)

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THANK YOU EVERYONE FOR ENTERING THE COMPETITION! THE WINNER OF THE GIVEAWAY COMPETITION IS… DIANA! YOU WILL BE CONTACTED SOON VIA EMAIL. I HOPE YOU’LL ENJOY YOUR MENULOG MEAL!

Thanks to Menulog, Foodsaurus has a $20 Menulog voucher to giveaway! All you have to do is tell me “What’s your favourite takeaway cuisine and why?” in the comments below. And for a bonus point, “Like” the Foodsaurus Facebook Page! The best answer will be selected. This competition will close at 11:59pm (EST) on 22/06/14.

T&Cs: Entry is open to Australian residents only. Competition will close at 11:59pm (EST) on 22/06/14. Winner’s name and email address may be forwarded to Menulog for prize distribution. The Menulog voucher will be valid for one-use, delivery and credit card payment only. The voucher is not redeemable for cash. Foodsaurus will not be liable for any loss or damage of the prize or responsible for your takeaway experience.

*Foodsaurus

Disclosure: Foodsaurus received a $30 voucher from Menulog in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Rang Mahal Indian Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Heston’s Bacon and Egg Ice Cream

A couple of months ago, Cooking Crew went to K&K’s housewarming party. We had a lot of good food that night, but Jason’s attempt at one of Heston Blumenthal’s signature dishes from The Fat Duck created a memorable experience for everyone.DSC01444Jason visited Bourke Street Bakery earlier that day and bought brioche to prepare these caramelised soldiers which were pan-fried with golden caster sugar and clarified butter.

DSC01433These slices of bacon might look normal, but they were actually soaked in maple syrup for two days prior then baked in the oven for a candied effect.

DSC01442Jason then brought out an egg carton. These turned out to contain egg shells filled with the ice cream mixture (eggs, bacon, milk and sugar) which had been cooked at 85*C then syringed back into the shell so that we could crack the egg!

DSC01450The cracked “egg”.

DSC01448Jason drove all the way to Penrith to buy dry ice that afternoon… The dry ice was blitzed in a food processor then added to the egg mixture.

DSC01451 DSC01453We had to whisk quickly because the mixture becomes ice cream after a minute.

DSC01464 Bacon and Egg Ice Cream with Candied Bacon and Crispy Soldiers

The ice cream by itself resembled creamy scrambled eggs. However, once we took a bite of the brioche and bacon then tasted the ice cream again, it left a strange aftertaste… we couldn’t work out whether it was due to the dry ice or because of the sweetness from the bacon and brioche. Nevertheless, it was quite an experience! Thanks Jason!

Who says you shouldn’t play with your food? Ha. To give it a a go, see http://www.sbs.com.au/food/recipes/heston-blumenthals-bacon-and-egg-ice-cream.

*Foodsaurus

Restaurant Botanica – Hunter Valley

I have more posts from Japan but I thought I’d post this from my Hunter Valley trip last year as it was still sitting in my drafts!

We came across Restaurant Botanica on Trip Advisor whilst trying to find a place that opened on Wednesday evenings and wasn’t booked out for a private function (Tip: Many restaurants in the area are closed between Monday to Wednesday, so make sure you plan ahead!)

Like many restaurants in the Hunter, Restaurant Botanica is located in a vineyard, this one was at Spicer’s Vineyards Estate. As we were there at night, we didn’t get to see the scenery but we were able to experience the cozy atmosphere inside the restaurant.

Restaurant Botanica serves a Two ($63) or Three ($75) course experience for dinner, we decided to go for two courses and see whether we had room afterwards.

DSC00818For my first course, I ordered a seafood entrée Seared Scallops with cauliflower velouté, crisp pancetta and shaved fennel. The scallops were big, juicy and cooked to perfection. The elements on the plate created a delightful dish that I would love to attempt at home.

DSC00820Peter’s entrée, Crispy Skinned Ocean Trout with lime pickled green paw paw, pork belly, spice roasted peanuts, coriander and mint.DSC00824I ordered Caramelised Pork Belly with soy, ginger, shallot and Botanica’s garden greens for my main course. I don’t normally order an Asian inspired dish at a Modern Australian restaurant, but as this was towards the end of our trip and I was missing Asian food I decided to give this a go. The crackling was a standout and the pork belly was succulent and full of Chinese flavours.

The restaurant has its own kitchen garden that grows many of the veggies and herbs on their menu including some of the greens in this dish.

DSC00825Peter ordered the Slow roasted lamb with blackened eschallots, heirloom carrots and chestnut cream as his main. This was hearty and satisfying main for a cold night in the Hunter.

Although they say it’s a Two or Three course menu, the friendly and attentive staff also served us complimentary amuse bouche to start, freshly baked bread on the side and cookies to finish our meal. Talk about value!

Restaurant Botanica won Trip Advisor’s Traveller’s Choice (Restaurants) award in 2013. I hope they receive more awards in the future as it was easily the best meal we had in the Hunter Valley.

Restaurant Botanica

Spicer’s Vineyards Estate
555 Hermitage Rd, Pokolbin NSW 2320
(02) 6574 7229
http://spicersretreats.com/spicers-vineyards-estate/dining/

*Foodsaurus

Botanica Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Ichiran Ramen – Shinjuku

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Ichiran is a popular ramen noodle chain in Japan and we went based on the recommendation of our friends, Jason and Gloria. The one we visited was in Shinjuku Tokyo and although we couldn’t work out how to read the address, we were able to find it by walking towards the shops once getting out of JR Shinjuku Station’s Higashi exit.

This store is open 24/7 and they specialise in one product - the classic tonkotsu ramen.

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We waited in the walkway for 5 minutes. The people behind the curtain are using a vending machine to order ramen. And this is how the machines look up close…

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Once we had placed our orders, we were directed to our seats that resembled more like cubicles. I found these really fascinating as I have not seen anything like this before.
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Here’s a shot of my cubicle. The self-serve tap is on the left, napkins are on the right and there’s a paper form for you to specify how you’d like your noodle texture, how strong you’d like the broth, how spicy you’d like it and whether you’d like garlic, spring onion and sliced pork.

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Once you’ve made the selections, you simply press the buzzer and someone will collect your order ticket and form from behind the counter.

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Here it is, Ichiran’s Classic Tonkotsu Ramen. Their tonkotsu broth was amazing and their thin noodles was one of the best I had during my trip.

I should have asked for more of their original red sauce, as it wasn’t as hot as I had expected. Their red-pepper sauce is mixed with 30 types of spices, aged and cooked slowly for a few days.

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Ichiran was a very memorable dining experience. Thanks Jason & Gloria for recommending this place!

Ichiran

3-34-11 B1F Shinjuku Shinjuku-ku Tokyo-to 160-0022
03-3225-5518
http://www.ichiran.co.jp/english/index.html

*Foodsaurus

Eating through Asakusa, Tokyo

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A trip to Asakusa was a great way to escape modern-day Tokyo and get a taste of Japanese history and their traditional culture.

I anticipated a day of sightseeing but instead I was in for a surprise. The paths leading up to the temples and shrines were filled with Japanese gift shops and lots of street food!

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Nakamise Shopping Street is a 200 metre street that starts as you walk through Kaminarimon until you reach Sensoji Temple, it is filled with a variety of gift and snack shops :)

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A Japanese lady making delicious Dango, glutinous rice cake balls.

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Dango sweet glutinous rice cake balls on a stick that were super soft and melted in your mouth. These were coated with sakura (cherry blossom) flavoured powder.

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Freshly made Senbei rice crackers grilled on the spot and covered with a layer of soy sauce that were served crispy and warm!DSC01626

One of many stores that sell Japanese snacks.

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A Japanese sweets shop selling different types of Dango.

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Monaka ice cream sandwiches – we picked black sesame and green tea ice cream, these were sandwiched between two thin crisp wafers.

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A Taiyaki shop selling fish-shaped waffles with red bean filling.

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The finished product, Taiyaki fish-shaped waffle with red bean filling.

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Shin-Nakamise Shopping Street – more shops in an arcade perpendicular to Nakamise Shopping Street.

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Sensoji temple – one of the oldest temples in Tokyo that dates back to 628 A.D. A picture of a five storey pagoda below with surrounding gardens that you can walk through.

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We spent half a day in Asakusa before our feet started aching but there were many more places to explore in the area. My tip would be to wear good walking shoes and bring cash to try all the mouthwatering snacks along the way!

*Foodsaurus

Disney Sea – Tokyo

We spent a day at Disney Sea Tokyo during our trip, this was my first time at a Disney theme park so it was all very exciting. Disney sure knows how to make you feel like a kid again! There’s so much to see and do that one day was simply not enough.

Here are some snapshots from our day at Disney Sea. Enjoy :)

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How cute are these Toy Story green alien mochi?! They were filled with chocolate, vanilla and strawberry flavours. As the Japanese say, “kawaii!”

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Gyoza Dog. Basically Japanese gyoza dumpling filling in a steamed bun!

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Disney Sea
1-13 Maihama, Urayasu, Chiba 279-0031, Japan
http://www.tokyodisneyresort.jp/en/tds/

*Foodsaurus

Daiwa Sushi – Tsukiji Fish Market

DSC01883We visited Tokyo’s Tsukiji Fish Market – the world’s largest fish market twice. The first time we got there was on a Wednesday and the market was closed. They are closed on certain days of the year, so check their website before you go!

Since we had familiarised ourselves with Tsukiji Fish Market on our first attempt, we knew exactly how to walk to Building 6 which houses two of the most famous sushi bars in the fish market – Daiwa Sushi and Sushi Dai. Our eyes were set on the kanji characters 大和寿司, Daiwa Sushi.

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DSC01891We arrived at 9.45am and waited a little over an hour to get through the doors. Daiwa Sushi has a ‘leave it to the chef’ menu that costs ¥3500 plus tax per person, that is about AUD$37! This includes 7 pieces of nigiri sushi, 6 pieces of maki sushi, miso soup and hot matcha tea.

DSC01888DSC01894Daiwa Sushi only has counter seats and seating is squishy, there is just enough space for you to hold your chopsticks without poking the person next to you.

We sat in front of the friendly old sushi master, he smiled and asked “set menu?” We smiled and nodded, we could barely communicate with him but that didn’t matter, we were in for a treat.

The waitress served us hot matcha green tea and the adventure started as our sushi master placed the first piece of sushi on our wooden boards…

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Maguro (tuna)

We ate each piece as he presented them. Some diners decided to wait until the sushi master had placed everything on their plates to take a photo before eating… we just couldn’t wait to dig in.

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Ebi (prawn)

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Uni (sea urchin)

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Crispy prawn head, Toro (fatty tuna), Sushi Roll with tuna and salmon roe

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Tamago (egg), Ika (squid)

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Aji (horse mackerel), Anago (eel)

Each piece showcased the sushi master’s craftsmanship and the natural flavours of the fish. It was simple and unpretentious. Each piece was perfectly seasoned by the sushi master with the right amount of soy sauce and wasabi. Honestly, they all tasted so fresh and delicious that it’s hard to pick favourites.

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Miso Soup with Baby Clams

After the amazing sushi experience, we explored the fish market and reflected on how sushi will just never be the same again…

DSC01927Daiwa Sushi 大和寿司
Building 6, Tsukiji Fish Market, 5-2-1 Tsukiji, Chuo, Tokyo

*Foodsaurus

My First Bowl of Ramen in Japan

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I just got back from a two week holiday in Japan! This was our first trip to Japan and it was to say the least – amazing. There were so many highlights from our trip that it is going to be hard to write about everything! I will try my best to give you a glimpse into the trip but overall, we loved Japan, the people were so nice and friendly, the food was awesome, we enjoyed exploring the different places (including getting lost) and experiencing the culture.

After spending 9.5 hours on a flight, 1.5 hours getting through immigration, an hour travelling by train from the airport to the world’s busiest railway station then deciphering the local street maps to locate our hotel, we finally checked into our hotel, dropped our bags off and set out to find somewhere to eat- hoping places would still be open. Thankfully, many eateries in this part of town is open 24/7 so we walked into this ramen shop at midnight. Although it was late, this place was still buzzing with Japanese men slurping their ramen with a bottle of beer after a long day’s work.

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Neither of us can speak or read Japanese so the first culture-shock test came when we tried to order a bowl of ramen. There was a vending machine near the door with lots of buttons in Japanese – we stared at it and pressed the buttons but nothing happened. The chef eventually came over to show us lost tourists how to place an order (!!) First insert your yen into the vending machine then make your selection, the machine then produces a small ticket which you give to the kitchen so that they can prepare your food. I don’t have a photo of the vending machine from that shop (honestly, I was a bit embarrassed to take a photo of it after being such noobs!) but I will show you how they look like in another post.

I have no idea what we ordered that night but it was like eating ramen for the first time in my life! Everything was perfect, the noodles, the broth, the half-cooked egg, the slices of pork…. I kept whispering to Peter saying ‘this tastes so good!’ and ‘I can’t believe we’re eating ramen in Japan!’ haha it was pretty surreal to finally be in Japan.

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Unfortunately as I can’t read Japanese, I don’t have a name nor an address to give you, but this ramen shop was within walking distance from our hotel Sunroute Plaza Shinjuku and the JR Shinjuku station. It is open 24/7 and as you can see in the photo above the average price of a bowl of ramen is about 700 Yen, that’s about AUD 7.30! So cheap and so delicious, take me back to Japan!

*Foodsaurus