Travel: Japan 🇯🇵

Travel: Japan 🇯🇵

Featuring Tsukiji Fish Market, Luke's Lobster, Ichiran 一蘭 (Shibuya), PABLO (Omotesando), AFURI 原宿, Croquant Chou Zakuzaku, Katsukura Takashimaya Shinjuku, Uogashi Nihon-Ichi, 築地虎杖 魚河岸千両, Bakery & Table Hakone
Wei Zhi Chiang
Wei Zhi Chiang

I don’t usually opt for chili in my ramen as I always like to first try the original. But going for the ‘half-portion’ red sauce was the right decision to help cut through that rich, creamy and milky Tonkotsu broth! Thought the egg (¥130, S$1.60) was just decent and although the noodles were thinner than the kind I prefer, they were done well springy and smooth! To be very honest, I wouldn’t say I’m that huge of a fan (still worth the moolah) but I can definitely see why it has accumulated such a huge fan base!

📍一蘭 Ichiran
 B1F Koyasuwan, 13-7, Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
 東京都渋谷区宇田川町13-7 コヤスワン B1F
🚇 Shibuya Station
🕚 Open 24 Hours

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What’s visiting Owakudani and Hakone without getting their famous black eggs! These regular eggs are boiled in sulphur-rich water turning the shells black with the insides retaining its usual colours. It’s said that each egg eaten prolongs your life but don’t eat more than 2 per person for it’s said to be bad luck!

📍Owakudani, Hakone

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I LOVE konnyaku and was so glad to see this again (think I remember having this from the exact same stall several years back here)! Not the best but these sticks fished out from the store’s hot pot worked so damn well in the cold weather. The konnyaku have been simmered for a really long time, explaining the deep soy sauce-like flavour, soooo shiok!

📍Owakudani, Hakone
Same store that sells Tamago soft serves, just look out for that.

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Wanted to get the cheese soft serve but saw that this sundae was also topped with it so we gave this a try instead! The icy cup was good in the hot weather and I liked the cheesiness the soft serve added to the otherwise very sweet drink. Guess strawberries and cheese is always a good combo! Also, definitely recommend this over the frute series which is topped with whipped cream and not as special. CAN’T WAIT FOR PABLO SG TO OPEN SO I CAN FINALLY GET MY HANDS ON THE CHEESE SOFTSERVE AGAIN!

📍PABLO Cafe (Omotesando)
1-14-21 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
🚇 Harajuku Station
🕙 10am to 9pm Daily

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Because there’s a minimum order of one dish per diner, apart from the Original Kaisen Hitsumabushi (¥2380 • S$29.80), we got one other cheaper option on the menu, this Kaisen-don! Topped on the bowl of sushi rice was a colourful array of seafood - tuna, white fish, scallop, salmon, octopus, crab, shrimp and pops of salmon roe. Loved the natural sweetness in the fresh cuts!

📍築地虎杖魚河岸千両 Tsukiji Itadori Uogashi Senryo 
1F Hiizumi Bldg, 10-14, 4chome, Tsukiji, Chuo-ku, Tokyo
🚇 Ginza Station
🕚 7am to 11pm Daily, till 9pm on Sunday

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Had many snacks while we were roaming around the endless alleys in Tsukiji Market and this was probably my favourite. Can’t remember the name of the stall but it’s just opposite one selling colourful fruits on sticks dipped in liquid nitrogen. A very unassuming stall with just a table filled with sticks of warabimochi but oh my, these soft cubes were too gooooood. We got the mix stick of soybean, roasted green tea and black sesame. Each cube had their distinct flavour, all with that roasty fragrance and delicate texture with a good bite. $1 a pop? GIVE ME MORE!

📍Tsukiji Fish Market

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The perpetual group of people surrounding this soft serve shop was totally understandable since the weather was so crazy hot! We got the seasonal Musk Melon flavour and although it was a bit sweeter and a little artificial tasting, it still worked well in cooling us down.

📍Tsukiji Fish Market

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While Zhi Hui lugged bottles of these Yuzu honey syrup back, I got a cup to beat the mad sunny weather! I’m not a yuzu person and I was convinced I won’t actually like this too, but the small sample cups from the salesperson had me wanting more! Unlike the acidic kind of yuzu flavours, this was really mellow yet bright at the same time. It wasn’t too sweet either, so you can really get both the citrusy parts and sweetness from the honey. Super refreshing!

📍杉養蜂園 Sugi Bee Garden (Kamakura)
2-8-12 Komachi, Kamakura 248-0006, Kanagawa Prefecture
🚇 Kamakura Station
🕚 9.30am to 6.15pm Daily

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First meal during our Tokyo trip went to this Standing Sushi Bar that’s located near the famous Shibuya crossing. Menu’s simple with different price tiers - ¥162 (S$2), ¥216, ¥432 and up to ¥756 (S$9.45) for the Uni and Aka-ebi sushi. Prices are all for a pair of sushi and inclusive of taxes. We tried a few different ones and the standard’s great without breaking the bank! Everything we had were fresh, although the seaweed used were less crisp than I would have liked. The Uni sushi (¥756/2Pieces • S$9.45) was a pleasant surprise, as for only S$9.45 for two pieces, the quality was there, not too briny or fishy at all.

📍魚がし日本一 Uogashi-nihonichi Standing Sushi Bar
25-6 Utagawacho Shibuya-ku Tokyo
🚇 Shibuya Station
🕦 11.30am to 11.30pm on Weekdays, 11.30am to 11pm on Weekends

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Hidden in a corner among the residential area, you’ll enjoy the whole vibe of this quaint little cafe even if you’re not a fan of Totoro! We came by just for these cream puffs and had the difficult decision to choose among four, each differentiated by its head accessory (how cute!). The classic Custard Cream Puff had a lovely chilled filling that was smooth and delicate with just a touch of vanilla bean sweetness, while the seasonal Peach Cream Puff had small cubes of peaches - really good! The profiterole-like puffs though, had potential to be way better. They were fairly crisp and flaky but also a little too dry, bordering on being a tad hard.

📍Shirohige's Cream Puff Factory
5 Chome-3-1 Daita, Setagaya, Tokyo 155-0033, Japan
🚇 Setagaya-Daita Station
🕥 10.30am to 7pm Daily, Closed on Tuesdays

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Most memorable moment of the trip was probably here at Bakery & Table in Hakone. Oh my goodness where do I even start?! 😍 With the relaxing cool breeze against our faces and our aching feet soaked in the cafe's onsen foot bath, munched on probably one of the best Japanese curry breads ever while facing an amazing view of Lake Ashi. We were lucky to get our bread hot, with that mild spicy curry and lots of creamy egg yolk (and a whole egg!) all encased within a semi-fried bread that was covered in fried rice krispies. Albeit its price tag among the rest in the display, I’ll go for this again and again!

📍Bakery & Table 箱根
9-1 Motohakone Goten, Ashigarashimo-gun, Hakone-machi 250-0522, Kanagawa Prefecture
🚇 Motohakone Bus Station
🕣 8.30am to 6pm Daily
(Timings vary for the different seatings in the cafe)

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Walk down the Harajuku shopping street and you’ll spot people either holding on to a crepe or one of these churro shaped croquant chou stick. These sticks are made fresh daily and piped on the spot with smooth custard cream. The crunch on its slightly crisp exterior all thanks to the chopped almond bits made it fun to eat with the varying textures. It’s not the cloyingly sweet sort too, so it’s easily gone in a blink of an eye!

📍ザクザク Zaku Zaku
1-7-1 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0001 CUTE CUBE HARAJUKU 1F
🚇 Harajuku Station
🕙 10am to 8pm Daily

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FOOD. 🍴🍫🍜🍱 Instagramming at @cweizhi [email protected]

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