Hello ANA, APA & yakitoris@Ginza Torigin

The long awaited time came. For a week of culinary adventure! Haven’t really gone on a proper holiday last year, I kicked started it with the land of the rising sun πŸ™‚

My first time taking ANA airlines. Seats were somewhat small but thankfully, front seats were available for extra leg room space. Food wise was kinda normal, but way better than MH.. cold noodles was rather delicious. The stewardesses were very attentive to the passengers, and most importantly, the toilets are amazingly clean! 

Too excited to sleep. 6.5 hours. 3 movies. Wide awake. What to eat when I land?

Arriving just a little too late for the direct train to Higashi-Nihombashi, we had to settle for the next best thing, the train with multiple stops. Gotta say, first time sitting in a train with such open adverts. Haha. Train ride: 1100 yen/pax.

Looks normal eh, but it was one friggin delicious sandwich. Think it’s due to the fluffy white bread, mustard mayo mix spread.

This country has a high growth of aging population. So many elderly people were seen in the packed train. I gave up my seat for an obacha, and I was kinda surprised at how thankful she and her obacha friend was. She even gave me a pack of biscuits as an expression of thanks, haha. Well, I was touched too..Never had someone thank so much for giving up my seat. Give thanks for the little things, Father says.

After checking into APA hotel (room was so small, I felt I had to do acrobatics and revive my younger ballet days skills to move around), first stop: yakitori!

Trying to lock in as many places in Tokyo, Ginza was first up. And after doing research for food reviews in the past week, Torigin is first in the list.

It was rather hard to find, especially in a country where there is limited English available for directions. Having roaming internet is a must, and Google maps come in real handy. After a good 15 minutes going around, Torigin was finally found, hidden in a tiny alley, and a stairway that leads to the restaurant at the basement.

The place was packed with people, mainly locals, and also smoke : both from the yakitori and cigarettes. Hey, there were Bangladeshi workers where too which could speak English well. 

We sat by the bar, and watched the masters grilling the yakitoris over the hot burning charcoal grill. One chef’s face and hands were red all the time,  the heat must have been intense, standing over them for hours, everyday, every week. Respect!

They had the 14 yakitori sticks set, and not knowing which was the best choice, we let the chefs chose the 14 sticks. 

Display was eye catching. And they were not overly seasoned, or heavy on the marination sauce, just nice. One of the yakitoris was a kushidama egg stick and the description in English, was, egg before the shell was formed. Okay, don’t know how that was done and there is little information about this online too. 

My ultimate fav was the chicken wings. About the juiciest wings I’ve ever eaten, ever! Something about their chicken meat here that tasted really good, and strangely healthy, as if the chickens were feared properly.

Total damage: 3200 yen.
FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ginza-Torigin/184516194955126

Website: htttp://www.torigin-ginza.co.jp/eng

Opening hours: daily, 11.30 am – 10.00 pm

Tel: 03-3571 3333

Finally, in bed. At 9pm local time, which is 8pm back home. Haha. I’m usually still at work at 8pm. Anyway, exhausted from the long hours travel on plane, train and gonna take it easy tomorrow and just foodventura around the city. 

Good night peeps, gonna flip channels over Calbee pizza, and sour cream & onions.

Porkylicious Tokushima Ramen try-out@Ippudo, Pavilion Kuala Lumpur

The friendly and charming host of Ippudo, Ms Sharyn has invited me to drop by the Ippudo outlet in Pavilion for a new ramen sneak preview!

I’m very glad she still remembered me and kindly extended an invite to this small time blogger.

I brought along two foodie friends with me, one in particular, loved everything Japanese, especially food!

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The Tokushima Ramen is a seasonal menu, only available from July to September, and the ramen can also be found in other outlets except Bangsar Shopping Centre’s. The side dishes are also seasonal, only for this period of 3 months.

We had the honour to have the operations manager to brief us about the ramen, and he himself was the cook! As we were attentively listening to his heavily Japanese accented English, I couldn’t help but notice what a fun job it was to be selling the food you are so passionate about. I could feel his love for ramen through the efforts he put in to explain to us.

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The briefing halted for a while as the side dishes were served to us. This was the Kimchi tofu with boiled pork. A plate comes with 2 pieces, RM 13. This was a little of an acquired taste for me. The whole thing felt very much Korean, with the spicy pork and Kimchi. I felt it was probably better off without the cold tofu. Perhaps, fried tofu may add a nicer kick to it!

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This was the salmon fish and chips. The salmon was superbly fresh, and we were told that the salmon came from Norway. But the highlight of it all, was their home made tartar sauce. Full of density, flavour and character. Made the salmon in my mouth kaboom to happiness.

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The mini fried wedges were crunchy, and having them cut bite sizes removed the slight guilt out of you, and with the tartar sauce diverting your senses away, the guilt disappeared even more quickly. RM 23.

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This was the cheese mentaiko gyoza. The mentaiko to me was a little lacking in its creaminess, and it was also a bit curdled due to the cheese…it was quite different from the mentaiko scallop I had in Rakuzen, SS12 Subang. But the gyoza…..phew…..tenderlicious meat, soft skin, daintily wrapped and shaped to look classy. Grilled just nice, to form a crunchy bottom burnt layer, adding in the grilled flavour. One of the best gyozas I had in a long time!

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Now….. Finally….HAIK! TOKUSHIMA RAMEN EETADAKIMAS!
The trademark of Tokushima Ramen was the raw egg addition on top of the soy based broth ramen. We were told to taste the soup before stirring the ramen with the raw egg. Apparently, this raw egg can change the whole broth flavour into something else. Wow.

The operations manager explained that, taking into some considerations of Malaysians not liking their egg raw on their food, they have experimented various ways of cooking the egg and not altering the original taste of Tokushima Ramen, but the closest they could get to was…poached eggs, yet the outcome of having a poached egg as opposed to a raw egg on the ramen still differed.

The eggs were not from Japan, but from a local provider, but all eggs used were of the highest grade we were told.

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After mixing, true indeed, the broth changed totally! The much more clearer broth earlier, with stronger taste of soy and pork, now became a little buttery, and creamy. The bowl may look rather small, but holy canoly…there were so many slices of the tenderlicious pork bellies! The whole package… One word, Scrumptious!

I gotta say, I never had a ramen experience like this before, it was quite an eye opener. The chilli crazed madness in me creeped out tho, I added a lot of chilli flakes to spice up the ramen. Probably one of the big No-nos if a ramen enthusiast sees me doing this. The ramen will suit those who can’t take spicy food, or not spicy food fans in general.

This bowl cost RM 25, which really wasn’t bad after all considering the portion of pork belly slices they gave. I could tell that the broth was of high quality, and the meat was well selected too, since the overpowering porky smell was not there.

Ippudo fans! Ramen fans! Do go have a try of this seasonal, 3 months only ramen to get a feel of the ramen served in Tokushima!