Tuesday, August 27, 2019

11 MUST-TRY Food in Osaka and Kyoto

Ohayo! It's a few months (at the time of writing) since we got back from Japan, but the Nihon bug still bites deep as we realised that we frequent our local Japanese eateries way more nowadays. But to be honest, it is hard to fault us, especially if you've been to Japan. Their streets are beautiful, the culture is amazing, and not to even mention their overt quirkiness (just look at their vending machines). This country is amazing in so many ways, but for this post, I am gonna focus on my favourite - food!

1. Matcha
This is absolutely the pinnacle of all teas, and in Japan, they come in a heck lot of variety - fondue, pancakes, mochi, shaved ice, ice-cream, or if you like the basics - matcha tea. If you're a matcha lover like me, head to Kyoto and have your share. Do you know that it's packed with anti-oxidants? Talking about delicious and cancer-killing health benefits, yes please.

2. Takoyaki
Fun fact: Osaka is known as the "nation's kitchen". And when you're at the heart of a gastronomical country, try out what they are known for - the humble Takoyaki, a snack made of wheat flour and diced octopus. Perfect snack for a night's out. Here's a top tip though, do not put the whole ball in your mouth while it's hot!
3. Okonomiyaki
One local dish to try at the Kansai region is definitely Okonomiyaki - the Japanese version of a savoury pancake literally means "however you want it". The basic ingredients are flour, eggs, shredded cabbage, and usually contains a variety of meat such as squid and pork. When in Japan, skip the pizza, and go for this.
4. Ramen
If you're a Naruto fan, you would probably know that his favourite food is none other than ramen. With so many different varieties across Japan, this piping hot bowl of noodles is sure to be a delight to anyone seeking for some umami comfort food.
Ichiran Ramen - probably the most famous ramen

5. Udon
I am an absolute big fan of udon. Thick wheat noodles, so bouncy and chewy it's hard to resist. Served usually either with a nice hot broth or fried with a soy-based sauce (yakisoba).
6. Soba
Not a fan of ramen or udon? Try soba - buckwheat noodles served as a salad, chilled in a dipping sauce or in a bowl of hot soup. Either way, you got to try this. Don't forget the soba water (water used to cook the soba - it's full of nutrients!) that most restaurants would serve after your meal.
7. Sushi and Sashimi
When you think of Japanese food, chances are that sushi (and sashimi) is the first to pop up at the back of your mind. From tamago to softshell crab, seared salmon to the prized bluefin tuna, sushi comes in various form to hook your palate.
Oh, when in Japan, try out their uni (sea urchin), probably the freshest and sweetest you would taste.
8. Omurice
If there's a match made in heaven, it would be eggs and rice. The Chinese have egg fried rice, the Japanese have something better = Omurice - a perfect blend of an omelette blanket covering a bed of fried rice (usually ketchup-based).
9. Shabu-shabu
Haidilao? Mookata? Japan has its own version - shabu shabu, delicious sliced meat and vegetables boiled in broth. Perfect to warm up your soul in a cold weather.
10. Sweet Potato
Yup, you heard me right. Sweet potato, but this is no ordinary sweet potato. It's a Japanese sweet potato. It is fluffy, soft, and packed with sweetness. The downside of buying something with the prefix "Japanese"? It cost Y500 (S$6.50) for half a potato.
11. Strawberries
What you are looking at, is a "white" strawberry which cost approximately S$2.50 each. To be honest, they taste the same. Unless you want to be cool and post it on IG or something, skip the hype and go for their normal strawberries, which are so much cheaper and taste even greater than anything you have tasted in Singapore. As big fans of strawberries, we ate more than we should have, enough for a year's supply of strawberries.
And, there you have it. 11 food that you need to try while you're at Japan! Beg to differ? Any other recommendations? Drop me an email and perhaps I will feature it. Till then, sayonara!