Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Cheap eats in Japan

Food from the markets of Japan

When we ventured to the exciting world of Japan during the spring of 2010 (It was their Autumn), we were blessed with seeing a very different world to the one in Australia. In hindsight, we were very happy to have gone and visited cities such as Tokyo, Kyoto and Hiroshima before the events of the 2011 tsunami and earthquake. Even though the level of radiation in Japan is controversial, we would be unlikely to visit for a long time after the nuclear plant incident. So happily, our time there was filled with photographing the Japanese way of life and their great respect for food.

Below are pictures from the Nishiki market in Kyoto. The Nishiki market is a five block long shopping street lined with hundreds of shops and restaurants specializing in all things food related. We saw fresh seafood, produce, cookware, Japanese sweets, pickles, dried seafood and sushi. 

I love mushrooms...
Beautiful, colourful displays

I think these are fish marinated in Miso
Different grades of Wagu
Marinated octopus-I wasn't game enough to try.
Pickles that was available for tasting

More pickled veges

"Fast" Food in Japan 

I'm not sure if we could consider this "fast food" as everything in Japan seem to be more gourmet then the typical cheeseburger meal or two piece feed you would get in Australia from your average fast food joint. However, we did receive our meals with lightning speed service. We tried several types of casual dining in Japan. A common type of restaurant that is apparently popular with office workers who just want to buy and eat the meal quickly involves ordering the meal by looking at plastic replicas of the food displayed outside the restaurant and then paying for the meal at a designated machine which spits out a ticket for you to collect your meal at the counter. We also tried another canteen style type restaurant where you order your meal at the counter will then move along the queue like you are part of a produce line, picking different additions to your meal and finishing at the cashier. 

Canteen type restaurant
Mr HSH rated this meal above a lot of the more expensive meals in japan-he loved the curry and udon noodles.
Typical meal from the "vending machine" restaurants
Anther vending machine meal
We got this at tiny make shift restaurant next to a train station. It was simple, delicious and warmed our heart and stomach on a cold and tiring day.
Ramen-I didn't like this Ramen particularly, felt very salty and full of MSG.

Local Japanese cuisine. 

 The interesting bubbly green stuff below is apparently a type of specialty seaweed of the Okinawa Prefecture. Because I wanted so much to try this seaweed due to how "cool" it looked, I made MR HSH go to a Okinawa cuisine restaurant with me. The tofu below with mixed with Soya sauce and ginger is apparently another Okinawa specialty-it was probably the best dish of the restaurant....The seaweed was interesting but didn't actually taste like anything...Otherwise, the restaurant was a big disappointment due to the poor quality of the other dishes.

I also tried the okonomiyaki  from Hiroshima which is basically a Japanese pancake with different ingredients inside. Very tasty but I don't remember what was inside anymore.


In this particular restaurant, the Yakitori had a nice smokey flavors to the skewers, but the nuggets and wedges were very ordinary.

Sushi Train on a budget-the sushi and sashimi was nice enough but it was made with speed, aimed at feeding non fussy diners rather than being carefully and artfully assembled.

"All you can eat" Shabu Shabu-we were too tight to choose the wagu beef, so just had normal beef which was still very nice. I thought the dipping sauces were ordinary and it was annoying how we only ever got 3-4 slices of beef at a time and had to keep asking for more.

I'm not quite sure what these are. It skewers were like a sweet glutinous ball, whilst the drinks had a ginger flavor to it. We had these at a stall inside one of the many temples of Kyoto.

I love how neat and uniform these buns are. Did not try them.

Not quite sure what this is either. Some sort of pancake with added ingredients...

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