Autumn Story In Japan 2013 – It is all about food and shop in Kyoto Day 1 :)

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It’s unbelievable how I managed to survive carrying a 26 inch luggage and a big hand carry bag up several flights of stairs in the subway station in order to arrive at the hotel. Amazing me. Still glad that I still have the energy to go out immediately after checking-in to hotel room. πŸ˜€

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First, we explore the streets just outside our hotel and I really love staying here! There’s a 24 hour supermarket along the street (on same side as our hotel, turn left upon exiting hotel entrance) and I love supermarket in Japan! So much snacks, and what’s not to buy!

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As we have not taken any food since we shared the waffle on NEX, we decide to buy sushi and dessert from the supermarket to eat. We settle at a small bench next to the supermarket and start on our first sushi in Kyoto. It’s yummy even though it’s from the supermarket. Awww….. how I love Japan!

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Our dessert! Glutinous rice top with sweet and big fat red bean!!! I really do not understand why red beans are always so damn delicious in Japan. Cos grass is greener on the other side? Hur.

We continue exploring the street and are delighted to find a drugs store and a 100 Yen shop around! There’s a super huge 7-11 on the opposite street. There’s a Yayoiken Restaurant and MacDonald on the right side of the hotel. Β Now you know why I love staying at Citadines Kyoto!

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There’s an Aeon Mall nearby to Kyoto Station. It’s actually next to New Miyako Hotel. If you go from Kyoto Station, either look for New Miyako Hotel direction or Hachiko Exit of Kyoto Station. Kyoto Station is big and quite complicated but it really has everything! Shopping malls (a lot!), underground shopping mall (there’s 2!), restaurants (a lot!), Drugs Store and supermarkets (a lot!).

Once you get use to the station layout, it’s actually easy to navigate but be prepared to walk a lot! Back to Aeon Mall, there are 2 sides of Aeon mall separated by a bridge. The one on the right side has more restaurants and shopping. Uniqlo, Muji, Gap, Daiso and some individual shops. Oh, and a huge supermarket too!

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Christmas decorations are already all around on 1 November 2013 (that’s really early!) and how I love them! The stairs are decorated with many Santa Clauses but I thought they look more like the 7 dwarfs. Opps!

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First thing into the mall is to look for food for dinner! I know we just had sushi and dessert but those are like snacks. Haha. Google this Shabu Shabu Buffet Restaurant before my trip and seems like the reviews are not bad. So we decide to come and try. It’s call Shabu Shabu Ku Raku.

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Happy me. I thought the price is cheap (I think around $20+ per pax) so do not expect great variety of food or what’s not. But it’s enough to satisfy me. Notice the pot of soup, it’s actually plain water. Most people has the misconception that Shabu Shabu soup is like chicken soup or pork bone soup cos it’s like that in Singapore.

But in fact, if you have Shabu Shabu in Japan, the soup is just plain water. You are not supposed to drink it. It’s just for the purpose of cooking your food. The main highlight is the dipping sauce!

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We had pork and beef. Well it’s not the best-est meat that I have (with nice marble and all) but it’s really not bad. The slices are thick and the meat are fresh! I mean those I have in Singapore are really thin that I have to cook 3 slices together in order to taste the meat. Lol.

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Sauce! This is soup (not sure what kind of soup), add a little Yuzu Sauce (I think it has pepper in the sauce as well) and green onion. Dip the meat in it and yums! I really love the sauce much!

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There’re also mushrooms, vegetables, udon and ramen at the counter for grab. Hui Ping took this photo of me looking disgruntled. But I am not. πŸ˜›

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Free flow of Vanilla Ice Cream which is so rich in milk! Slurps.

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After dinner, we see Daiso and we go crazy in it cos it’s so so so big! It’s 100 yen for everything and almost everything you need.

Then, we shop at Uniqlo and I bought like 2 winter jackets (the fat and fluffy kind, one for mum and one for myself) and also a knitted above knee top to match with leggings. OMG. Uniqlo is damn cheap in Japan (Of cos la, duh! It’s Japanese brand) and I nearly killed myself when the 2 jackets that I bought here are later on put on sale in Tokyo. It’s like a further discount of another $20! Smacks self on the forehead.

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Hui Ping needs to go to the ladies and so I settle down on the bench outside to wait for her after buying this apple tea from the vending machine. But I do not really like it. It’s not the drink, I think it’s just me. I don’t like the combination of apple and tea, it just…. taste… weird.

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We walk back to Kyoto Station and the temperature has dropped a little since night is here. Walk pass this restaurant selling fruit tarts and is attracted by the rows of display! We order 1 slice to share and we chose the cheapest one. Haha. This slice cost like $9! But it’s so yummy with the fresh fruits on top and the smooth cream below coupled with a crispy buttery crust at the bottom.

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No these are not from the fruit tart restaurant, we bought them from a bakery store next door. Love the Halloween Themed Bread which has curry filling inside. But I didn’t get to eat it cos I left it in the fridge and totally forgotten about it. Hu!

The pudding is yummy! I have it for breakfast on a certain morning. It has this vanilla custard taste and, is so soft and smooth! πŸ˜€

Time to call it a day and we return to our hotel for rest. Looking forward to the next day as it’s a day of sightseeing and history digging!

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Days in Tokyo – Some more local food before bidding goodbye to Japan

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Lunch is at Yoshinoya in Ikebukuro nearby our hotel. The Gyudon is so much better than the ones I ate in Singapore! The beef is given in ample quantity, thick slices, lots of sauce and sweet onions!

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This is the set that I ordered. Pour the raw egg into the filter to separate the egg yolk and the egg white, then pour the egg yolk onto the gyudon, add in the green onions, stir and the don is ready for eating. It’s really very very very good! The salad is fresh, and there is sesame sauce for you to add in. Yum yum~~~

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Look at the plastic bag, it is last minute shopping loots from Uniqlo. Japan is really too nice to shop! Haha. Retrieve our luggages from the concierge and pack in our last minute loots before we take the airport limousine bus from the hotel to airport.

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After checking-in at the airport, we have dinner at this restaurant (it is outside of departure hall) and the food is really great with reasonable price range!

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I have fried prawn don and the prawn is crispy and juicy, coupled with the egg and Japanese pearl-like rice, it’s really delicious.

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Mum has Cold Soba with Tempura. Super nice too.

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Dad has grilled beef with rice and omg, the grilled beef is heavenly good. Look at the colour, it is cooked to a perfect state, not overcooked, but not too raw.

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We order 2 plates of sushi and the sashimi are really fresh! Slurps~~~

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Narita Airport is great to shop for snacks. So do delicate more time by arriving at the airport earlier for food and shopping like us!

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Arriving at Changi Airport with loads of luggages containing our loots at 3am. I finally finish the travelog for my Tokyo trip in March 2013. Next travelog will be on my recent trip ( actually I just arrived in Singapore on Saturday evening) to Kyoto, Nara, Tokyo, Kawaguchiko and Hakone. πŸ™‚

Days in Tokyo – Shabu Shabu Lunch at Ginza

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We took the subway to Ginza for Shabu Shabu Lunch @ Shabusen. It comes in set meals and from what I could remember, the price is rather reasonable and not too high.

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The interior has this old Kyoto’s feel and the service is REALLY good! The waitress is so attentive that should she notice that we are at a lost of what to do (like what are the sauces for), she will hurried over to guide us. Heh.

The soup base for traditional Shabu Shabu is actually plain. It’s for the purpose of just cooking our meat so that we can taste the original sweetness and freshness of it. There’s some sauce, green onions and black pepper for us to put in a small bowl, then scoop the soup into the bowl, stir and it is ready for drinking. And somehow, the soup is tasty after adding in the sauce, green onions and black pepper!

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Vegetables, Tofu and Tung Hoon.

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Pork Belly and Pork Tenderloin (I think).

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Beef and Pork! All in all, the meat are very fresh, adequate thickness and fatness, tasty and yummy!!! Slurp~~

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The ending comes with a red bean porridge. Quite plain besides the sweetness of the red bean. But if added in some Japanese Soya Sauce, I thought it’s actually quite nice. πŸ˜€

Shabu Shabu @ MOF Danro @ NEX

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Finally I met-up with my best-est friend, Yen for catching up over lunch last Saturday and it was really great!

This was my ootd. The short lace ‘cardigan’ was bought at Suntec and the dress was from Bangkok. Both were bought a few years ago and it was too tight on me last time. Now that I have lost quite a lot of weight, I can wear these at no effort. Hur!

Oh and I love the peachy colored lipstick from Etude! It’s just natural but not pale-looking! πŸ˜€

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Lunch was Shabu Shabu at NEX – MOF Danro. This is my 2nd visit and I still want to say that I love the soup base! There are around 5-6 kind of soup base, each famous from a certain part of Japan. I chose the Chicken Milk Broth Soup Base from Nara and Wafu Soup Base from Akita. How I love both soup base much!

The Chicken Milk Broth has a fragrant milk taste while the Wafu is a clear soup base with a tint of sweetness. As for the meat, I personally find the pork more yummy than beef because of the fats and the adequate thin-nest of it. The beef is just too lean and thin that there’s not much kick when you chew on it plus there’s really not much of a beef taste.

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And they have fish which I find it fresh. There are also cooked food like Chicken Kariage, Fried Lotus Roots, Sweet Sour Fish, Sushi and the Onsen Egg which are yummy too. I love the Chicken Kariage and the Onsen EggΒ best!

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Look at the variety that Danro has and this is still not all. What’s important to me and Yen is the LUNCHEON MEAT! Haha!

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How can we miss out the sauce for Shabu Shabu! I love their Ponzu Sauce much! Add in a little green onion and white radish, the sauce is ready to go! The 2nd sauce is basically RAW EGG. I know many will eek at the thought of it. But let me tell you, it’s the most traditional way of eating in Japan and it’s good!

No worrying about tasting the raw-ness of the egg because the meat is hot, and when dip into the egg sauce, the egg sauce will cover the meat and sort of become less raw. The meat with the fragrance of the egg is really super delicious.

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I am satisfied with Danro. Even though I wouldn’t say that this is super delicious or super good, but it is definitely well worth the money paid. I went on a Saturday lunch and it cost only $28 (all GST and service charge inclusive) per pax. How nice? πŸ™‚

Days in Tokyo – Dinner @ Matsuya

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Before we went for dinner, we went to OIOI Department Store which is near to our hotel in Ikebukuro, to shop around. Mum managed to buy 2 pieces of flowery handkerchief over here. Matsuya is just located opposite of OIOI department store which can be easily spotted with its’ bright yellow signage.

The seats were all ‘counter-seat’ and it was rather crowded during dinner time. As usual, the ordering and payment is via a vending machine which displays everything in Japanese. With my limited Japanese, I have to make do with the pictures and some of the wordings but I managed to do fine and order the right food. Heh.

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Collect the tickets from the vending machine and hand it over to the person-in-charge over the counter and he will prepare your food. This is what I ordered. Gyu-Don with the ‘oh so beautiful’ egg with sprinkles of Japanese onion.

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This is Gyu Don with egg but without the Japanese Onion and the miso soup is more flavorful with more ingredients like tofu, tau pok, seaweed, radish etc. I prefer the Gyu Don without the Japanese Onion because the strong onion taste will cover the tastiness of the beef.

The beef itself is so heavenly good! In huge pieces, soft, juicy and the sauce is so yummy! Mix the beef together with the egg and the Japanese round and shiny pearl-like rice, I really love this much! As compared to the Yoshinoya in Singapore, this one is so much more nicer!

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We went to the basement of Tobu Department Store which is connected to Ikebukuro Station for more food after dinner. As many would have known, the basement of Japanese Department Store is a place with all the treasures for food and free sampling!

I bought the Fried (Ebi) Croquette and omg, the prawns are in big pieces (not minced prawn), crunchy and fresh! On the other hand, the ‘bao’ and the ‘siew mai’ is just ma-ma desu (average).

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Back to the hotel room, bath and it’s supper time. I have been eating non-stop. These are the breads that we bought at the Asakusa Supermarket earlier. The one on the left is White Sesame Red Bean Bun, the one at the centre is Black Sesame Red Bean Bun and the one on the right is a Cream Bun.

All 3 are delicious! You know, I love Japanese bread, cream and red bean. The cream is not very sweet and is very smooth. The red bean is also not very sweet, big fat juicy and super fragrant!