After taking a healthy hiatus from blogging, I’ve returned ever so gently with a blog about food. I took a jaunt over to Japan for Christmas this year and ate some amazing things.
I travel to eat in a new location. You too? We are probably very cool.
Just like you, I spend more time researching food and restaurants than possibly anything else before a vacation. I will gladly leave a monument early to get to a restaurant rated well on Tripadvisor. You can learn a world of things with just a picture of food. So I spent a good deal of my very precious time usually reserved for rewatching 30 Rock to research all the amazing food I could shove in my mouth in Kyoto.
The city of Kyoto is breathtaking. It looks like a fairy tale, it’s immaculate and people have manners. I felt like it was a world away from the rushed and stressed life I sometimes live here in Seoul (🖤 you Seoul) although it’s only a 2 hour plane ride away. At different points I would just stop taking pictures because I didn’t feel like they reflected the unbridled calm I found in the city.
Just like everyone who steps foot in Kyoto, I crushed hard.
But, food pictures, that’s another story. I can take food pics and even ugly food can be mouthwatering… I have liked a lot of ugly pictures of food on Instagram because I thought, “One day…I’m gonna eat that.”
I Ate That; the Kyoto Food Collection
First up, my cooking class! We were taught by a very gentle Japanese woman how to make Kyoto style Chicken Terriyaki. It sounds funny, but I’ve looked up recipes before that were very complicated. This one is easy and gave me confidence that I can make it easily. And there were the add ons, we made a carrot and radish salad and miso soup from scratch.
Post with recipe to come soon!
The final results.
This is actually the first real meal we had in Kyoto. (Full disclosure, we had a train station meal in a diner full of smokers and I scarfed a sandwich at Starbucks like I’d never eaten before, but this was the first real meal.)
In a box full of smaller boxes, we found ourselves face to face with many little Japanese delights. It was a wonderful way to introduce ourselves to the food Kyoto had to offer. The rice itself was quite interesting. I believe it’s called Oyakodon, where the egg, chicken and scallion are placed on stop of steaming rice.
This may have been the best food I ate in Kyoto and some idiot forgot her camera. It was the first day…that’s my excuse. Ippudo Ramen was recommended in Lonely Planet and I was so grateful about it’s close proximity to our hotel.
I am not exaggerating when I say you need this oily mess in your life at least once. We ordered the most basic ramen and gyoza, dumplings. And “basic” means life changing, not in the way cool people use it.
This hot spot was also found in Lonely Planet, Cafe Independants. I believe you can find it under the section “This place is too cool for you, Crystal. Subsection: you used the phrase ‘hot spot’,”. It’s a basement level hideaway that looks like many government conspiracies were hatched at the wooden tables. It’s oh so French.
This is also where I took perhaps the worst picture of spaghetti that has ever been taken. Must have been hungry. It looks like one of Martha’s.
I saw this food on an episode of Eat Your Kimchi and wanted it to be a part of my life. This is Yasube in Ponto cho and they make Okonomiyaki, which is a savory Japanese pancake grilled either at your table, or by some very cute ladies in the kitchen. Everything about this is excellent.
This was one of my favorites. Wish I had time to go back and
eat all of them try some more. Until next time, my love!
We were starving the day I found this mapo tofu in a diner near Kyoto station. By the time we ate I was suffering from debilitating hangriness. It was effecting my personal life on a large scale.
Luckily, you can’t go wrong with this hearty dish and a side of fried chicken. The “side” was fried chicken. Be still my stomach.
Of course…a little sushi.
I just google-mapped this place when we finally decided to have sushi one night. It had all the elements I needed: it was close to the hotel, it was fairly well rated, it had raw fish, it was in Japan.
I would not say it was mind blowing, but it is solid. It has a great view of the river as well and the staff were very patient. We had several different kinds, and due to poor memory and getting older, I can only remember that I ordered quite a bit of salmon.
Sushi Tetsu Pontocho had a lot of goodies and a really nice atmosphere. I highly recommend the eel.
Another meal on our first day out. After eating a luscious bowl of ramen, the next logical step was to get some Christmas fried chicken, street food style. We stopped at Torikara, a chain of fresh and juicy fried chicken with a multitude of dipping sauces.
There was always a line for this place, so you know they’re doing something special in that little place.
There was more food, to be sure, but these are the highlights of our Kyoto food experience.
To close, I’ll say this: Remember that time on 30 Rock when Jenna gained a paltry amount of weight and they had to do all these fat jokes about her and she ended up screaming, “ME WANT FOOD!” throughout the episode?
That’s exactly how I feel on vacation. And I loved getting to know Kyoto in the most delicious way, its food.