food art japanese

Hi everyone!  I hope you are all having a great week so far.

I haven’t been back in Tokyo for 3 months now and this is making a record as I have been back every now and then since I moved out of Japan.  When I miss home, I start to cook more Japanese food and especially use my Japanese plates.

I am loving these Japanese plates I brought back from Japan.  This is passed on from my grandmother and it’s at its 3rd generation. Many different kinds of shape which makes the food presentation unique.

0124f2b96a8313ac06624f3f9f1f2e12b71e8ae9d0_00001

 

In my previous post, I wrote about ‘defining your own style‘ and how my choice of style has changed over the years.  I can say that this is also the same for ‘food’.  In my 20’s, food was just something to fill my stomach and I would eat fried stuff, lots of cheese and pasta.  Now in my 30’s, I like to know what I am eating and how I am eating.  Okay, so what does ‘how I am eating’ mean..

I like to cook and choose my own ingredients.  Most importantly think of how I would like to present these food.

I love to think of which plates to place the food and what plate combination.   Same for fashion.  How do I want to style my clothes is the same as how I want to style the food I made.

01bc3f4c853aca62abe025c41a8c7869c59e3f4755_00001

Now that Singapore has only one season,  I like to use these Japanese traditional plates to feel the four seasons I miss.  In the Summer time, I would use glassware, blue and white color plates.  For Winter and Autumn, more of maroon and brown, or red color plates.

I would like to have a good quality of life now and also quality of food.  This is one of my ways.

Japan:: Tokyo sweets ~incredible chocolate waffle

Hi Everyone!  I was thinking of doing more catching up on my Tokyo travel posts however I did a short weekend getaway where in Singapore they  call it ‘staycation’ to Sentosa.  Yep, only 20 min drive. But still nice. It feels like you are away from the city to a quiet harbor.

Anyways, one of my friend went to visit Tokyo and usually they would ask me to list restaurants to go for a good authentic Japanese food which would not be in the travel guide. But this time it was a different request. He is a sweet tooth and asked me for good sweets in Tokyo.  A bit of a difficult request as I’m not that much of a sweets person.  So I only had a short list this time but wanted to provide the best of the best. And here is one of them.

Actually this isn’t Japanese sweets.  It’s a luxe chocolate brand from Belgium.

(Details of the place at the end of the post)

There is a huge chocolate culture in Japan because a Japanese chocolate brand “Glico” started a trend where on Valentines day girls will give out chocolates to the boys.  From then on, Japan started to bring in more and more chocolate brands from all over the world and some of them only carry outlet in Japan than anywhere else besides thier country.

I love thier delicate bitter sweet chocolate.  Not too sweet and not too milky.  I tried thier waffle this time.

Oh, so good.  Cannot describe in words.  They are famous for chocolate but thier whip cream was exquisite.  I hate those whip cream that comes in pure white and really sweet.  This one is a pearl ish white. Not pure white. So you can tell that they use good cream and eggs.

If you visit Tokyo, there is a cafe in Ginza (address at the end of the post).  But if you missed it, there is also a dessert shop at the Haneda Airport Terminal 2. So you can stop by there on your way back. Or perhaps buy some sweets to take back with you!

499

 

I had a dessert set that comes with coffee or tea.  Which was JPY 1,890. Which is about $18.00 USD at current rate.  Okay, a bit on the expensive side. But its totally worth it!

497498

 

***
Shop name: Pierre Marcolini
Web: http://www.pierremarcolini.jp/shop/ginza.html
Address: Tokyo, Chuo-ku, Ginza, 5-5-8
Average per person: $15-20 USD (Dessert set)

PS. Also a shop at the Haneda Airport.  Terminal 2.

***

Japan:: Tokyo eats ~the michelin star kaiseki

Hi Everyone!  I really need to catch up more on posting my remaining Tokyo travel before I move on to my Hong Kong post.

I was really debating whether to post this favorite restaurant of mine.

The fact that it is not an easy access and you may need to take a cab to get there.  And probably when you make a booking, the staff at the restaurant will not be able to understand English.  Yes, that is the problem with most restaurants in Japan.  They don’t speak English.  I know… we are so not international!  So if you need to book somewhere, you may want to ask your hotel concierge to do this.  Or shall I start a travel agent/ coordinator to do this?  ha-ha.

I come here for really special occasions.  It is impossible to get a booking last minute so need to plan way, WAY ahead.  I love it because it is located in a very quiet neighborhood, Tokyo suburbs, where you may not even notice the place and might just pass by if you are not paying attention.

The most important thing to let you know is that they ONLY ACCEPT CASH!
And no credit card payment.  So make sure that you bring extra cash with you!

(Details of the place at the end of the post)

I’m a person who is really bad with directions.  Even if I have my Google map on, I would go completely the wrong way.  And this place is so hard to find, so I give you the entrance.

Taxi is probably going to drop you off at the main road. This is the side road on your left.

1090
After going in that side road, you will see this.  Yep, this is the entrance of the restaurant.

1091
Turn left and keep going.  Top of the restaurant is actually an apartment and they’ve used the ground floor as the restaurant.

1092

So this is where I usually get confused.. like all the time!  Where is the door??
Don’t keep walking after the tree on your left, because you’ll just end up nowhere.  The door is the wooden sliding door and it doesn’t have an entrance mark so watch out!

1095

They only have 5 counter seats and 2 private rooms. The two private rooms have 10 seating in a Japanese style room where you sit on the Tatami. And the other room is for 4 seats with table and chair.

The interior décor is basic white and wood.  Very clean cut style.

1099

1114
1100
Their food is a Japanese traditional Kaiseki.  Very healthy and non-oily.
I love each and every piece of cups and plates that they use.  Very entertaining.  Here is the lunch menu that I had.

11031104

11091106

1107

1111

I think I missed 2 shots of the plates, but the final dessert is a good old Matcha with Red bean Mochi.  Very delicious.

1110

Oh, must not forget.  The toilet is also very white and clean.  Now this is very important for me.  No matter how the food or the restaurant is great,  if the toilet is dirty or not well taken care of… its a No No for me.  I would cross that place out for my “favorite place” list.
1096

Last but not least,  I was also entertained with this toothpick holder.  Steal origami folded crane.  So detailed in entertaining their guests.  From food to utensils and tableware. That is a true Japanese way of welcoming people.

1112

***
Shop name: Seisouka (青草窠
Tel: +81-3-3473-3103
Address: Tokyo, Minato-ku, Minamiazabu, 4-2-34, Tengenji Square 1F
Average per person: $80-100 USD (Lunch)

***

 

 

Japan:: Tokyo eats ~hideout soba house

Hi Everyone!  My god.. my last post was May 1st.  I’m so bad at consistent posting.

April and this month is so busy both work and traveling. I have so many things and places I hope to share since my last two week trip to Tokyo in mid April, however the moment I came back was Easter, then my best friend from Tokyo came to visit me for a week, and last weekend I was in Hong Kong.

And — this weekend, I may be going to Malaysia.  Agh!  Since I just got back from Hong Kong, by now I wanted to share trip posts of Hong Kong… but first, Japan.  Lots of travel posts to share! 🙂

I love eating and shopping in Tokyo but sometimes I like to go out to the beach side and have a quiet and calming time.  This soba place, as much as I would like to keep it to myself (okay. so many places I do want to keep to myself..) but I really want more people, especially those who want to go to places that is NOT on the guide book and wanting to explore places where locals go to.. to know these places.

On this post, I’m sharing a place I always go for fresh traditional soba.  A bit away from Tokyo (40min train ride) but accessible.   (Details of the place at the end of the post)

The entrance. Guides you to the soba house through the bamboo garden.  Already feels like you are going to a traditional Japanese house.

P1040339P1040341

There is a hidden private house after the stairs where you would need to book in advance.  But this time, I head to the main soba house.

P1040338

P1040334P1040328

I love this place not just because the soba is superb.. they make the soba everyday and its fresh,  but they also design and make their own places and kitchenware.  If you go inside, they have a gallery where you can also purchase.

 

I love this glassware.. so beautiful.

P1040291

P1040299

If you go on a weekend, you may need to line up for a while as it tends to be full especially on a weekend lunch.  But there is a seating area at the gallery so I waited there for about 15min.  No big deal. 🙂

P1040324

The menu.  So the prices are really reasonable and they come from a simple soba for $10USD  up to $30USD. I usually take the soba kaiseki which I a lot of food and great soba + tempura.  However, this time I was craving for a freshly made simple soba which I cannot get in Singapore nor Hong Kong, I went for a Tenpura Soba ($25USD).

P1040311

The owner and staff wears a traditional kimono.  Very Japanese.  You can also see the glass booth where they make the soba.  It needs to be made early in the morning to be serving for lunch so the person who makes it was not there this time.

P1040310

Hot Soba tea served before meal.  And appetizer with Japanese pickles.  Gosh how I missed these pickles. They are also freshly made.

P1040314P1040322

Okay by now you must be thinking.. what took you so long to post the actual soba picture!!  But this places’ landscape is just so amazing, I had to post that first! 🙂   I love everything about this place.

Food, hand crafted plates and trays, friendly staff, reasonable pricing..

P1040325

After enjoying the soba, I head to the ”treats corner” at the cashier.  Their hand made soba bun and soba sweet crackers.  They are so good. Its always sold out by the afternoon so better get this one!

P1040330P1040329

This place has been around for so many years and I hope it stays that way.  There aren’t that many places left that has a garden and a house with an additional private guest house. A landed restaurant with a traditional Japanese feel to it.   The more I am away from Japan, I come to appreciate these traditional Japanese food and custom that we have.  These places put so much effort in entertaining/ welcoming guests.  I become to appreciate Japanese craftsmanship.  So magnificent.

P1040305

***
Shop name: kokonotuido (九つ井)
Tel: +81-45-851-6121
Address: Kanagawa-Ken, Yokohama City, Sakae-Ku, Tayacho 1319
Average per person: $15-30USD (Lunch)
(Japanese website) http://www.kokonotuido.com/

***

 

Japan:: Tokyo eats ~midnight authentic yakitori

Hi everyone!  Friday is always a good day.

A couple of my Hong Kong and Singaporean friends had a trip down to Japan at the same time as I did and it seems like we were all there for the same reasons. Trying to get a glimpse of the Sakura bloom.  As for my friends they went at the right timing, a few days earlier than I did.  For me.. not so timely. But anyhow, I was excided to be there together with my husband, the first time in few years.

We have been traveling back to Japan but it was always in different timing.  When I was there for work, he was in HK and when he was in Tokyo, I was in Singapore.  So our travel timing was always crossed.

So what to do in Tokyo?  Eat and shop!

A lot of my friends ask me for ‘where to go recommendations’ so decided to post my favorite places in Tokyo on my blog!

The first night for dinner I really wanted to go back to this Yakitori place my husband and I always used to go after work. Both of us worked at the same building at Roppongi Hills.  The place that never sleeps!  So this Yakitori place is right across from it.

1651

Very local and authentic good old Yakitori.  (Details of the place at the end of the post)

It only has 1 table and probably about 10-12 counter seats.  We always squeeze in the counter and your neighbors are sitting right next to you.  For some westerners you may feel a bit uncomfortable sitting so close together but this is really the Japanese way of having Yakitori. If you are looking for a good Yakitori place where we locals go to with reasonable price, this is it!

1666 1654

When we used to live in Tokyo, our work hours was hectic.  No work life balance whatsoever.  On Friday nights we would both be exhausted finishing work at around 12am plus.  At this hour, most decent restaurants are closing yet we still want good food plus some healthy ones.

And this is where we always end up in after a long day of work.  Simply because…

  • Very good yakitori with other healthy Japanese food
    Its opened until 1:30am on weekdays!!  Even at 12am you enter the place, it is really lively and gives you energy.
    So reasonable price
    The owner is friendly. haha.

1657

As you can tell, very crowded and that night was packed! The owner noticed us and told us wait a second, they are going to add in some chairs so we can squeeze in.  Wah, the seats were tight. But no one minds because this is what usually happens anyways.

1663

And here we are, back to our favorite place.  I think we ordered:

2 glasses of sake
6 glasses of beer and
probably 35-40 pieces of Yakitori

All was about $150USD

May not be able to tell from the picture but wide range of Yakitori.  Have some organic vege and beer while you wait for it to be served.

16591661

The yakitori was so juicy and nice I forgot to take some pictures except for the one below! Its the Ume shiso maki. Ah. So delish.

1665

I really wanted to order my usual final meal after my yakitori, the

Chicken soup and Yaki Onigiri

But I think I had too much of the yakitori I didn’t have space for them!  But if you ever have the chance to go, have them at the end of the meal.  It is so good and satisfying!

***
Shop name: Roppongi Kushiyaki Ganchan
Tel: +81-3-3478-0092
Address: Tokyo Minatoku Roppongi 6-8-23
Average per person: $40-45 USD (if you don’t drink too much haha)

***

 

Hong Kong:: shopping paradise

Hi everyone!  Cant believe I haven’t posted anything for more than two weeks.  I think I was getting a little bit too caught up on Instagram.  I love that stuff, don’t you?

Anyways, I wanted to post the last remaining pictures from my Hong Kong trip so here they are.  Hong Kong is the most amazing place to shop.  First of all… no TAX. Wonderful. And the shopping malls are so pretty and they have the most ridiculous sale which you would never see in Tokyo.  Luxury brands going 20-40 % off.  Ladies and girls. Pack your bags and go for it! haha.

00260224-171138.jpg

So my favorite malls are;
1) IFC (crowded but at a very convenient place)
2) Pacific Place (I especially like the makeup shops and Harvey Nichols here. Details below.)
3) Elements (where my old apartment was! So easy to shop because there is hardly anyone there. Hermes, Chanel you name it. All the brands are there and you can really enjoy a relaxing shop time.)

First I head to IFC which is right above the Hong Kong train station. This mall is huge and has wide range of selections.

I usually just go straight to Lane Crawford where they have all the nice selection of my favorite brands.

00260224-171156.jpg

They also have ‘sacai luck’ which I don’t see in Singapore. Alexander Wang and JCrew is here as well.

00260224-171203.jpg

Next stop, Harvey Nichols at Pacific Place shopping mall.  I think I shopped here the most when I was living in Hong Kong. They have L’AGENCE which is one of my favorite brands.  When I went there a couple of times, they remembered me and even gave me a VIP card where I can use their nice spacious fitting room.  I mean,,, isn’t Hong Kong’s service amazing?

00260224-171210.jpg

I had been looking for a nice silk blouse with bright colors. And as usual at Harvey Nichols, I found the perfect piece by ‘robert rodriguez’.  Quite pricy but why not.  Came all the way down here and who knows how much it will cost in Singapore with all the tax. Plus I would probably not find this brand in Singapore anyways! Done. Buy!

00260224-171217.jpg

Next stop, La Mer. I always, ALWAYS buy cosmetic stuff in Hong Kong. They are much cheaper than Japan or Singapore. And you get the most incredible service!

I went to the La Mer shop at Pacific Place and first I was greeted by this really nice staff who offered me a space to put my shopping bag and sit at the comfy sofa offering me tea/ coffee.  How nice! I didn’t even buy anything yet!  So I asked for some herbal tea.

00260224-171225.jpg

Then the best part was that they let me try out their products while chatting with the staff there.  So much fun! In the end, I got their fabulous cream and foundation powder.

It was such an enjoyable time there because normally what happens in Singapore or Japan is that you have to wait, wait and wait until a staff is able to attend you.  Then when you are about to spend quite some money on their products, you just stand there with your heavy bags, not offered to sit, and test the products while you stand. Not fun at all.

00260224-171234.jpg

Any girl will have a great time in Hong Kong with all the nice shopping and food.  Agh!  I need to be back there again.

Maybe next time during the summer sale!

00260224-171248.jpg

 

pink snowfall

Hi everyone!  It’s that time again… The time when everything is so dreamy, so fantastical.. in Tokyo.

I have been flying/ traveling almost every month since 2 years ago non-stop and it isn’t stopping anytime soon!

This year, January was Abu Dhabi, February was Tokyo and March was Hong Kong.  So I guess April is Tokyo again.

Am so excited that I finally booked the tickets.  Spring has come, so here I come Tokyo!

Cherry blossom season is my most favorite time of the year in Tokyo. The weather is fab and the trees become pink. Every time the wind blows, you have pink snowfall in the sky.  The picture posted here is actually from 2 years ago. When I went to Tokyo on a business trip and had no time what so ever to go see the cherry blossom except for the ones in front of my office.  Therefore the only picture I have is the cherry blossom garden in Roppongi Hills where my office was.  But its still beautiful.

I can’t wait to introduce the places I will be going to in Tokyo and where is the most beautiful places and where we, the local Japanese go to for cherry blossom.

Meanwhile, I suffer soar throat from the haze in Singapore…

Have a great day!

00260312-120528.jpg

00260312-120541.jpg