A Foodie's Odyssey in Tokyo, Japan | Travelogue & Food Trail (Part I)

Friday, February 17, 2017


DAY 1


Finally taking time out to pen down my Japan trip in January 2017 (not like the one I stopped after day 1 in 2014. Oops!), I’m taking on a different style for travelogue this time too. Once again, I took a direct flight to Narita Airport with Delta Airlines. The food served on board were decent and to top it off Starbucks coffee made it worthwhile. In fact, I preferred their snacks (served few hours later) were better than the mains.

Ken & Taka Airbnb Apartment
Location: Higashiikebukuro, Toshima-ku, Tokyo
Moving on, similar to my previous visit, we purchased the Narita Sky Access Line to commune the city. For this trip we’ve booked two Airbnb apartments and the first stay is at Otsuka station. Upon entering our apartment, we were greeted with a personalised welcome note, origami and sweets. That goes without saying, a thoughtful host makes a superhost. The apartment was like a long vertical walkway, starting with the kitchen and washroom, then followed by two bedrooms. All in all, it's a cosy apartment.

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Yokohama Kurikoan 横浜くりこ庵
Address: Otsuka Store, Tokyo Toshima ku, Minami Otsuka Atrevi Otsuka 1F (Map)
Opening Hours: 10:00 ~ 21:00 Daily
The first stop of the food trail begins at Atre vie Otsuka food hall, located beside the station. We then followed the smell and it led us to Yokohama Kurikoan – a take-away counter that specialises in Taiyaki (you may know of it as a Japanese fish-shaped cake). They offer a variety of fillings among the Baked Grilled, Seasonal Specialties and Limited Time Bake.

If you don’t already know, I’m head over heels in love with black sesame - in Japanese it’s called kuro goma (黒ごま), hence I just had to order Shiratama Kuro Goma (白玉ごまあん) | ¥154 ≈ S$1.90, which is under their limited time bake. The soft pancake is filled with GENEROUS amount of black sesame paste and shiratama dango. What is Shiratama? It is a type of glutinous rice flour. It’s an amazingly good combination!! Yokohama Kurikoan has several outlets across Japan so be sure to try one! 

Disney Store (Shibuya) ディズニーストア(渋谷公園通り店)
Address: Humax Pavilion Shibuya Koen Dori, 20-15 Udagawa-cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo (Map)
Opening Hours: 10:00 ~ 21:30 Daily
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Nabe-zo 鍋ぞう
Address: 31-2 Udagawa cho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo Shibuya BEAM 6F (Map)
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri: 11:30 ~ 15:00 (Lunch), 17:00 ~ 23:00 (Dinner), Sat, Sun & Holidays: 11:30 ~ 23:00
My first damage is done none other than at the Disney store. In short, it’s simply the happiest place to shop for me. Day one ended with a hearty buffet dinner at Nabe-zo, a 100-mintues all-you-can-eat modern Japanese restaurant that serves shabu-shabu and sukiyaki | ¥12,400+/pax S$30+/pax. The buffet spread inclusive of free flow soft drinks were slightly more than what we usually see in our Japanese restaurant in Singapore. Beef lovers are definitely in for a treat as the beef quality is unlike what you get when you go for buffet in Singapore, especially so for the amount of money paid. There are quite a few outlets and we went to the one situated in Shibuya BEAM. We were seated within 15-mintues while the other outlet in Shibuya was swarmed and needed an hour wait.


DAY 2

Daily Chico デイリーチコ
Address: Nakano 5-52-15, Nakano Broadway B1F, Tokyo-to, Nakano-ku (Map)
Opening Hours: 10.00 ~ 20.00 Daily

The day we headed out on a food adventure! First stop, Daily Chico that offers colourful tiers of soft serve on a cone. Exit Nakano Station and head towards the sheltered shopping passageway and walk till the end you will see Nakano Broadway building.

There are a total of eight flavours to choose from – Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry, Coffee Milk, Sesame, Sweet Potato, Green Tea and Soda Pop. Besides choosing the flavours, you could also decide if you want it in single flavour (small), with two to four flavours (medium) or have it all eight flavours (large). We went with four flavours on a cone | ¥340 ≈ S$4.25, I would gladly try all eight if I have more people to share it with. Overall, the flavours were not very distinctive for me however, you might enjoy this if you have a lighter palate.

Tenma Curry 天馬咖
Address: Nakano, Nakano-ku, Tokyo 5-61-7 (Map)
Opening Hours: -

On the way out, we chanced upon Tenma Curry – this was recommended by Doutor NRS’s Director, who knows I have a liking for Japanese curry while I was at Hoshino Singapore for a media tasting. However due to time constrain this was not added in my itinerary, in addition we were rushing against time to accomplish other cafes before the sun set (it sets about 4-5pm in Tokyo). Henceforth, we didn’t went for a meal but got take-out for their Fried Curry Buns which looks so good!

We got the Egg Curry and Cheese Curry | ¥250 ≈ S$3.10, the beef curry is so fragrant and it melts in your mouth with no gamy taste at all. Also, it’s perfect food during the cold to keep warm! 

Floresta Nature Doughnuts フロレスタ京王クラウン街笹塚店
Address: 3-34-14 Koenji-ku North Suginami-ku, Tokyo 166-0002 Toshi Kosan Street Shopping Street (Map)
Opening Hours: 09:00~21:00 Daily

Second stop, Floresta Nature Doughnuts, I picked the outlet in Koenji – a 10-minutes’ walk from Koenji Station and since it’s only a one train stop away from the Nakano. Floresta Nature Doughnuts are known for their really kawaii (cute) doughnuts, made using natural ingredients. The name Floresta is read as "forest" in Portuguese, adding on to their environmental-friendly values, it depicts the balance of diverse flora and fauna in the forest and relating it how people connect in life.

The animal doughnuts are unlike the Americans doughnuts. The texture is dense and it fills the stomach quicker too. All the doughnuts tasted the same and are presented in chocolate coated ones, animals and also the limited time only doughnuts. Since we couldn’t resist the animal doughnuts, we got a few and the price ranges from ¥220-¥260 ≈ S$2.75-S$3.20 if my memory never fails me. I think only in Japan can I find such cute, photo-worthy and less sinful treats! I highly recommend you to try one if you are in Japan.

Shiro-hige's Cream Puff Factory 白髭のシュークリーム工房
Address: 5 Chome-3-1 Daita, Setagaya, Tokyo 155-0033, Japan (Map)
Opening Hours: 10:30 ~ 19:00 Daily (Closed on Tuesday)

Followed by Shiro-hige's Cream Puff Factory for the third stop of day two. This is for all the Studio Ghibli and Totoro fans out there! The café is founded in 2007 and is managed by Kyoko Miyazaki, which could just be related to the Hayao Miyazaki, film director and co-founder of Studio Ghibli (it’s just hear-say, no concrete evident though).

Shiro-hige's Cream Puff Factory specialises in Totoro-shaped cream puffs in seasonal flavours (click here to view the seasonal flavours). The café is approximately 5-minutes’ walk from Setagaya-Daita Station. Upon entering, you will be amazed at the figurines and display of Totoro, somewhat like a Totoro-themed cottage. The café consist of two levels, level one is mainly for take-away and level two is for dine in - do note that if you are just having the cream puffs then it is compulsory to order a drink per person.

We went along ordering the seasonal flavours puffs in Strawberry Cream and Caramel Banana Cream | ¥485 ≈ S$5.40 each. The choux were delicate and crisp, while the cream were velvety and thick. I would have finish the puffs if the drinks wasn’t too sweet though, overall I was overwhelmed with sugariness. On the way out, we ordered the Custard & Fresh Cream (all seasons) | ¥400 ≈ S$5.0 which cost slightly cheaper to have it take-away. I consumed it after dinner and surprisingly I preferred the original flavour.


How to get there to Shiro-hige's Cream Puff Factory (Photos from Google Map)
1. Exit at Setagaya-Daita Station, turn right and follow the green pathway at the main road.
2. Take note of shop circled, and turn right into the small lane.
3. Walk straight, you are on the right track when you see the building with green gate at the end.
4. Walk pass the building with green gate and Shiro-hige's Cream Puff Factory will be on your left.

Yoshinoya 吉野
Address: 1 Chome-17-1 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0001, Japan (Map)
Opening Hours: 05:00 ~ 02:00 Daily 
The second day ended in Harajuku and our comfort meal for the rainy day was settled in Yoshinoya. In Tokyo, it is a casual restaurant unlike in Singapore – a fast food self-serve chain, offering an extensive variety on the menu such as curry dishes, pork and beef rib to name a few. We had a Grilled Rib Bowl (medium) | ¥580 ≈ S$7.25 and complete it with a Set Meal C – Kimchi and Miso Soup | ¥130 ≈ S$1.60. Also, a Curry with Beef and Soft-Boiled Egg (medium) | ¥620 ≈ S$7.70 (medium). We finished the meal with praises about how soft and flavourful the grilled rib are. I can’t leave Japan without a trip to Yoshinoya for sure and I strongly recommend this cheap and worthy eat to you too!

This conclude this Tokyo Travelogue (Part I). Stay tuned for Part II :)

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