Kappo dining in Kyoto at Jiki Miyazawa

DSC02933Squinting through the wet, side window of the Miyako Taxi, I could just about see the bamboo clad façade of Jiki Miyasawa as we crawled to a stop. I quickly handed over the correct mix of metal and paper yen and made a beeline for the well-known Kappo restaurant. I was 20 minutes late for my lunch appointment! Continue Reading →

Pantry Basics: Kinako Latte

kinako latte

I recently stumbled upon the joys of kinako latte at a miniscule cafe in Arashiyama, Kyoto called kyo no cha no nagomi. We had stopped to taste their fluffy little squares of fat-free green tea and soy milk cakes (incidentally, our toddler, T adored their strawberry version). And since I was slightly obsessed with tasting matcha lattes on this trip (mostly thanks to my culinary goddess of a sister-in-law’s frequent mentions of how she loves having them at Starbucks in Tokyo), I decided to be adventurous and try a kinako latte. Before I knew it, I was hooked! Continue Reading →

Travelling with the toddler to Kyoto, Japan, Part 2

T-Chomping-on-Toast

Dining with toddlers when travelling is a world apart from eating out when it’s just you and your hunny bunny. On previous trips to Japan, I would have made reservations at cult places I’ve been dying to try or restaurants that I already love weeks in advance. Because many of my favourite haunts are uber-popular, booking ahead is essential. However, with the tiny one in tow, not only could I not plan ahead, but the kinds of restaurants we visited were very different.  Continue Reading →

Travelling with the toddler to Kyoto, Japan, Part 1

kyoto-kids-monkey-park-1

My wife S and I have been to Kyoto many times. But until this past April, we’d never gone there with a young child in tow (of course, since we only had our first child two years ago, that would kind of make sense). This most recent trip, because we had brought along our son T, was remarkably different from all of our previous trips. Our schedule, because we had to plan everything around his schedule, was different. Where we went and what we did each day, because we wanted to do and see things that would be fun for him, was different. And where we ate, because we wanted to go to places that served food he liked, was different.
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Sublime sushi at Kanesaka in Ginza, Tokyo, Japan

kanesaka_maroj1

I was very fortunate to be in Tokyo recently, at the height of the sakura season. But the highlight of my visit was not the blossoming sakura but the simply sublime sushi at Kanesaka in Ginza. You may know that the well-known Shinji at Raffles Hotel in Singapore is actually a branch of Kanesaka in Ginza.  I thought I should go straight to the mother restaurant  in Ginza to check out the Kanesaka experience. Continue Reading →

The perfect guesthouse in Gion (Kyoto, Japan)

house-gion

As mentioned in an earlier post, my wife and I decided to take our two year old son to Kyoto for a weeklong holiday. Because we wanted to visit during sakura (cherry blossom) season, we actually booked our tickets almost a year ago and started looking for places to stay, at the recommendation of friends in Kyoto, in early September. Because sakura season (which is the end of March and early April) is so popular, most places get snapped up months in advance. I actually advice booking your own accommodations no later than August the previous year if you can plan that far in advance. Continue Reading →

Yummy miso braised beef tripe and tendon

miso tripe stew

While I know a bowl of beef innards isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, I happen to love a good Japanese-style braised tripe stew. One of my all-time favourite versions is available at Sutamina-en, my favourite yakiniku place in Tokyo. In fact, on one trip, my wife and I even took home a huge portion of said stew. We had eaten dinner there just before our flight back to Singapore and convinced the proprietress to pack up a big frozen block of the braised tripe for us to check in at Haneda.   Continue Reading →

Sushi Etiquette – what you don’t know might surprise you!

dipping

You have been eating sushi your whole life? Well, what you might not know about sushi etiquette could just surprise you. Like many things Japanese, it’s all in the details. Confession: when my Japanese friend (who is also a sushi chef) gave me these tips, I realized I had been doing several things wrong for years! So here is a quick cheatsheet on the Dos and Don’ts of proper sushi etiquette. Continue Reading →

Two quick pix to launch my sakura family holiday in Kyoto

sakura-gion

Hi y’all. Aun here. This is a super short post which will be followed up with many more. My wife S, my 2 year old son T, and I arrived in Kyoto late last night and will be here, sakura spotting and cafe hunting, for the next week. Continue Reading →

Japan blossoms in Sydney restaurant Ume

Ume prawns, dengaku, lambUme is a charming restaurant.  Like the plum which it’s named after, it is sweet, and it is delicate.  This modern Japanese eatery feels like it was taken straight out of the old streets of Kyoto and seamlessly placed in a leafy area of the otherwise buzzy Surry Hills, in Sydney. Continue Reading →

A fun workshop in decorating Aizu lacquer

Two lacquer plates as decorated by me and my guide

As you can see from the posts that have come before this on, there are many things to see and do when vacationing in Tohoku. There are wonderful onsens to bathe in, great drink to be tasted and purchased, and incredible food to eat. There’s also a rich cultural heritage to explore. One city worth stopping in is Aizu Wakamatsu, which is the main city in Aizu, in the western part of Fukushima. Continue Reading →