Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of whipping up a real feast. The occasion was the birthdays and wedding anniversary of my brother and his wife, which all fall on the very same day in November. Because of our current work and child schedules, Su-Lyn and I don’t find the time to entertain as often or as dramatically as we used to. But for this dinner, I decided to go all out.
I don’t think we post nearly enough pictures of the food served during a meal. Take Sushi Sho for example. Of course, you have read Aun wax lyrical about this being his favourite sushi restaurant in the world. But wouldn’t it be nice to see a little more of what awaits you before you make that booking?
When I had told my wife S that I was taking her to Tokyo to celebrate our wedding anniversary, she pretty much left the planning to me. The only requests she made were a stop by her favorite designer’s boutique in Omotesando and a visit to Baishinka, the gorgeous new tea room opened by the folks behind Higashiya (which we’ve established in an earlier article that she’s quite obsessed with). Of course, I was happy to accommodate her requests.
Earlier this month, thanks to some amazingly cheap deals on Scoot, I was able to whisk my wife S up to Tokyo for a three day eating trip to celebrate our twelfth wedding anniversary. We had only three nights in town, which meant (to me at least) making sure each dinner was truly something special. On the first two nights, we visited familiar favorites (including, of course, Sushi Sho). For the last night in town, I wanted to take S somewhere neither of us had been. And after a bit of research, decided the restaurant I most wanted to try — and that I thought she’d really enjoy — was DEN, in Jimbocho. And boy am I glad I did.
Any regular reader knows that one of the things I love most in the world is finding a great burger. And on a recent trip to Tokyo, I have finally found a place that, firstly, serves up a burger so good that I really don’t think I need to look for alternative venues any more, and, secondly, is super-conveniently located. Fellows The Burger Stand is located in Omotesando, just around the corner from (behind) the Tod’s boutique on Omotesando Street itself.
On any given day, if you were to ask my lovely wife S want she’d like to eat, nine out of ten times she’ll answer, “sushi”. Sushi is, without a doubt, her favorite food. Her favorite sushi place of all time is Sushi Sho, in Tokyo. Sadly, there is no place in Singapore that even comes close to serving the kind of super-exquisite and super-umami sushi served by Keiji Nakazawa. That said, there are some rather chic places here that do serve some high quality fish, but most of those, we have realized over the years, are rather overpriced (for what you get). They are also not the kinds of places you frequent on a weekly basis — which is how often S wishes she could indulge in her favorite food. Fortunately, we have discovered, in our neighbourhood, a place that, while very modest and mass-market in appearances, does serve some really high quality sushi, at also very moderate prices.
My family’s just returned from a whirlwind trip to Fukuoka over the long weekend, and boy, did we love it. It was a shamelessly gluttonous getaway spent, among other highlights, slurping our way through seven different bowls of Hakata-style ramen over two hours; stumbling upon a fruit farm in the countryside; and devouring what I am prepared to swear on my immortal soul is the best damned wagyu tenderloin steak on the planet…in a town with a population of less than 130,000. But we also ended up meeting some of the most colourful, amiable characters this side of Asia – from a steak chef who almost cooked for Obama, to a family of grape-growers who happily allowed us to pick our own grapes from the vine, to Satoshi Tokunaga, sushi chef-owner of Uotoku in Fukuoka city and my new favorite restaurant.
I cannot emphasise how much I love fried food. And tempura in Japan just ticks all the right boxes for me. If you are visiting Kyoto, I would heartily recommend Tenyu. Situated near the Sanjyo train station, it’s easily accessible and the quality of food is beyond reproach. Just check out the Uni tempura. Cooked on a sea of bubbling blended oil, the thin layer of seaweed protects the sashimi grade uni (sea urchin) from being overcooked. It beautifully retained all the yummy creaminess despite being gently steamed by the oil.
As cultures go, Japan must be one of the most unique in the world. Sharing very little in common with the rest of Asia and certainly even less with the West, it can be incredibly idiosyncratic. Furthermore, being one of the more formal cultures left in today’s modern world, it can also be intimidating…here, I’d like to share a cheat sheet on the rules and etiquette one should know when in Japan.
Finally, after months of waiting, IZY is open. This chic, ultra-urban modern izakaya opened its doors (to the public) for the first time last night. Yours truly, along with his always gorgeous and almost always hungry wife, and four friends, were among the first to check out Club Street’s newest (dare I say hottest?) arrival.