Saturday, 25 October 2014

The Japanese Food Adventure - Day 13

Day 13 - Fat toast, fast rollercoasters and Tokyo Bay

We were up and ready to head to Tokyo Dome, first of all though time for some breakfast. Option A was looking good so we went inside and placed our order, a bargain at less than £4, surely the toast couldn't really be cut that thick though!

The price also included a drink so we ordered a tea and a coffee.

Look at the height of that toast!! Cut from quite a soft cakey loaf and delicious with the fried egg and bacon on top, the yolk seeped in beautifully. In the UK a salad garnish would most likely be frowned upon served with a cooked breakfast, I was in Japan though and anything goes!

From Suidobashi station our reason for revisiting Tokyo Dome could be seen in the distance.

Having already ridden the Thunder Dolphin rollercoaster last week in the dark it was time to ride it in daylight. With no clouds in the sky we couldn't have picked a better day.

The almost vertical first drop really takes your breath away, you have to empty your pockets before getting on the ride so I couldn't get any on ride pics, probably a good thing really!

Lets not forget that this great rollercoaster travels through the side of a building, love it!

We left Tokyo Dome and headed towards Kappabashi Street, a district that sells everything a restaurant could possibly need including plastic display food, this I had to see! On the way we passed no end of vending machines, this one closely guarded by a giraffe.

We picked up an egg custard from a 7-11 and stopped to eat it in Ueno Park. No sooner had we taken our first bite and a man approached us, he seemed very friendly to start with asking us about where we lived in England and how long we were here for. He then asked about the royal family and rapidly moved on to the subject of sex. At this point we told him we were off and made a speedy dash across the park, due to this I forget how the egg custard tasted!

Much of the giant lake was covered in lotus leaves.

In some areas the giant koi carp living in the pond could be seen. A rare shot of me and my wife also, well a silhouette anyway!

I spotted this plastic display in a window, small yolk or too much egg white? You decide!

We also visited another Inari shrine in Ueno park, almost like being back in Kyoto again but on a much smaller scale.

I had no idea what they said on them but these are the lanterns seen outside a restaurant, if lit up then you know it is open for business.

Kappabashi Street certainly stands out with its giant chefs head and just look at the cup and saucer balconies, amazing!

I had considered buying some plastic food but with a decent display piece costing about £65 I decided I wasn't that bothered.

Plastic food is all well and good but nothing beats real food and this place was a hidden gem! I had read that some of the best places to eat were on back streets where the locals ate lunch, if you could hear slurping then that was said to be a really good sign. We headed inside and hoped for the best.

This chap along with many other customers were slurping away so the situation was sounding good. We had spotted plastic display food in the window so already knew what we wanted to order, just as well really as there was no English menu and the owner only spoke Japanese. We were able to lead the lovely owner outside, point at the dishes we wanted and relax safe in the knowledge that we would be getting what we wanted. 

When we first sat down we were brought over some ice cold green tea, really refreshing.

We also ordered a Japanese beer, the glasses came straight out of the freezer, nice.

When the food arrived it came with extras that we weren't expecting, a good job we were hungry!

My wife's main dish was langoustine in tempura batter served on a fried rice, I tried some and it was excellent!

I went for the pork steak on rice which I will look at closer in a moment.

There was a small mix of salad.

A serving of egg strips, carrot and spring onions coated in sesame seeds.

The miso soup here was the best I had ever tried, just amazing!

My pork steak was coated in a batter and covered with a raw egg, this cooked from the heat of the pork steak, underneath was a layer of onion and fried rice. This was the nicest thing that I had eaten in Japan so far, it seemed back street restaurants were the place to go for an affordable home cooked lunch.

The sign of a good meal!

Kappa are legendary turtle-child-monsters, and Kappabashi is full of sculptures and images of them.

Our next destination was Nippori, on the way there we spotted more reminders on the pavement.

We also spotted more of these happy elephants outside pharmacy's.

Another can of boss iced coffee, why not indeed!

As well as 7-11 stores another familiar sight in Japan is Family Mart.

I didn't get around to trying any of these hot snacks costing less than £1.

They never really tempted me to be honest, in hindsight though I should have tried some for the sake of the food adventure.

I did try these large dumplings on day 3, not great though.

Nippori was a fabric paradise, my wife was in heaven!

Armed with plenty of fabric we headed to the train station. These sweets were really sour, I looked like the lady on the packet after eating one.

Next we boarded a monorail to Tokyo Bay. 

The monorail took us over Rainbow Bridge and into the bay area.

This was called Tokyo teleport, the only way across was to walk though!

A huge ferris wheel was on the other side, my wife didn't fancy it but I did.

Daikanransha was the worlds tallest ferris wheel when it opened in 1999, it lost it's tallest status though to the London Eye which opened later that year.

You can choose a colour cabin or one of four clear cabins, for me it was an easy decision.

The views across the bay were breathtaking, they say on a clear day it is possible to see Mt Fuji.

Every section of my clear gondola was clear including the floor!

The ride takes 16 minutes to complete one rotation, by the time I was reaching the bottom again it was just starting to get dark.

We looked around a giant amusement arcade, not really our thing though so we headed back outside.

Daikanransha was lit up beautifully by 120,000 neon tubes programmed to display multiple patterns in over 100 colours. Impossible to show how impressive the light display was in a photo but you get the idea.

Something else that was impossible to capture in a photo was just how stunning rainbow Bridge looked at night from across the bay. We stood gobsmacked for some time looking at this view.

There are number of Statue of Liberty's around the world including this one at Tokyo Bay. I have also seen the one in New York and another in Paris.

It said I would "feel refreshed and better" on the can. Very disappointing though and it reminded me of a Tesco value cola drink.

We jumped on a monorail back to the future, Shinjuku to be precise.

We had heard about Piss Alley (AKA Memory Lane) in Shinjuku, but don’t let the name scare you off. Piss Alley is named for its early years, when it was a shady drinking destination for criminals to frequent. The place wasn’t very built up back in those days, so instead of using a toilet, people just relieved themselves wherever they could. Nowadays, you won’t find people peeing on the streets (well, not generally), but Piss Alley has retained a lot of its local charm. It’s a series of small shops stuffed as tightly as possible into narrow alleys usually only wide enough for one person to walk through. Some people have said that Piss Alley reminds them of a scene straight out of Blade Runner.

There’s a lot of drinking spots in Piss Alley, the kind where you pull up a stool, have a beer and eat some excellent yakitori. The restaurants are really cramped but we found two spare seats at this place and sat down.

The menu was offering a selection of yakatori, some I wasn't too bothered about trying though!

We started as we always do with a plum wine on the rocks.

The stew in the pan looked a bit suspect so we gave it a wide berth.

This photo is purely to show how close to the cabinet I was sitting, Piss Alley is quite claustrophobic!

We played it safe with two types of yakitori.

Leek wrapped in bacon, delicious!

I think these were some kind of chicken, my wife wasn't that impressed but I liked them.

The chap sitting next to me was very drunk, he offered me his bowl of untouched broth from that big pan. It was really delicious but god knows what was in it!

I chatted to the drunk guy for a while but we struggled to understand each other so I made my excuses and left. 

We suddenly realised that the leaflet we had been given when we entered the alley was for a food festival allowing customers food and a drink from each stall for 790 yen (about £4.50)

We sat down at another place in the alley and showed them the leaflet, we were handed two giant bottles of beer.

This place was popular, the kitchen was a hive of activity and the customers waited patiently for the food to be cooked.

Gyoza (also known as pan stickers) were passed to us, they are dumplings filled with ground meat and vegetables and wrapped in a thin dough.

The typical gyoza filling consists of ground pork, nira chives, green onion, cabbage, ginger, garlic, soy sauce and sesame oil.

We loved these and along with the giant beer a bargain at under a fiver!

It had been a really long day so we headed back to the hotel, even at 9.30pm the train station was packed.

Despite being packed everyone waited patiently in line for the train.

The train was packed too, many people were playing games on their mobile phones.

This platform had Manga books in a vending machine.

A last minute stop at 7-11 for this egg filled bread, quite bland really.

These macadamia chocolates were spot on though!

Click here for Day 14
Sausage, egg and bacon for breakfast, department store food halls and a good look around Koenji.

1 comment:

  1. Battered langoustines...mmm, possibly the ultimate scampi, and pot stickers, I love those but you never see them here!