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 →

Hiraizumi, World Heritage Site in Iwate prefecture, Tohoku

One of many beautiful small temples in Hiraizumi

One of the most beautiful sites in Tohoku, Japan, has to be Hiraizumi. This UNESCO World Heritage Site in Iwate prefecture is home to Konjiki-do (Golden Hall) within Chusonji Temple, which attempts to recreate an ideal Buddhist world within our realm, and Motsuji Temple, famous for its Jodo (Pure Land) garden grounds. Continue Reading →

Pantry Basics: Kinpira Carrot (金平人参)

kinpira

Kinpira carrot, stir-fried grated carrot seasoned with soy and sugar, was one of the dishes I learnt to cook at the Haru Cooking Class on our last trip to Kyoto. I know it probably isn’t high on your list of dishes to master, but it’s a delicious, quintessentially Japanese vegetable side dish which has opened my eyes to how home cooked Japanese meals are actually put together. And I simply love it. Continue Reading →