Aug 30, 2018

Food Hunting List: Japan

Bali in Jan 2014, Singapore in Jun 2014, Japan in Oct 2014...
Come to think of it, 2014 had been a year filled with lots of travelling.

After sharing the #FoodHuntingListSG, it would only be fair that this post to be dedicated for #FoodHuntingListJapan.

Stir Fry Pork Don ロース豚丼 for 450yen @ Yoshinoya 
Stir Fry Pork Don - Yoshinoya

Kobe Wagyu - Wakkoqu あぶり肉工房 和黒 新神戸店 (Shin-Kobe Oriental Avenue)
Kobe Wagyu - Wakkoqu あぶり肉工房 和黒 新神戸店 (Shin-Kobe Oriental Avenue)
  • Order: Lunch Wakkoqu Course (Tajima and Sanda Beef from Kobe), Lunch Course (Tajima Beef from Hyogo Prefecture), Lunch Set (Tajima Beef from Hyogo Prefecture)
  • Verdict: Resistance was non existent, cube after cube of Sanda beef melted in my mouth. Tajima beef, on the other hand, had richness so much more intensified despite its less impressive fat distribution. Personally I liked Tajima beef more.
  • More details @

Okonomiyaki - Tengu
Okonomiyaki - Tengu
  • Order: Scallop Okonomiyaki, Pork Okonomiyaki
  • Verdict: The scallop okonomiyaki was cooked to nicety: slightly moist but not undercooked. Paired with slightly crusty outer layer, it was a great combination of texture. Though the filling was slightly varied, both okonomiyakis shared the same texture and flavour.
  • More details @

Kitsuke Udon - Usami-Tei Matsubaya 
Kitsuke Udon - Usami-Tei Matsubaya

Takoyaki Octopus Dumpling - Creo-Ru くれおーる 道頓堀店
Takoyaki Octopus Dumpling - Creo-Ru くれおーる 道頓堀店

Kushikatsu - Daruma Nanba
Kushikatsu - Daruma Nanba
  • Order: Fried Chicken Skin, Classic Beef Kushikatsu, Fried Sausage and Karaage
  • Verdict: All kushikatsu was so marvellously done. Its crispiness was not by chance, but by way of consistency. Daruma's dipping sauce was unusually appetizing. I must say it was the best fried skewer I had so far in my life!
  • More details @

Yakitori - Hottokeya Doutonbori
Yakitori - Hottokeya Doutonbori

MOS Pork Burger - MOS Burger
MOS Pork Burger - MOS Burger

Udon with Bean Paste - Nakau なか卯
Udon with Bean Paste - Nakau なか卯

Sake Soft Serve - 寺子屋本舗  
Sake Soft Serve - 寺子屋本舗

Kyoto Sushi Izuju Sushi いづ重
Kyoto Sushi - Izuju Sushi いづ重 

Yakitori - Katsuya
Yakitori - Katsuya

Red Bean Manju @ Gozasouro's Taiko-manju 御座候
Red Bean Manju - Gozasouro's Taiko-manju 御座候

Chashu Ramen - Kitano Hachi Bantei 北野八番亭
Chashu Ramen - Kitano Hachi Bantei 北野八番亭 

Double Cheeseburger in Black Bun - McDonald
Double Cheeseburger in Black Bun - McDonald

Hoto - Fujiyama Cafe
Hoto - Fujiyama Cafe

Vanilla with Fujiyama Honey and Blue Rose Soft Serves - Fujiyama Cafe
 Vanilla with Fujiyama Honey and Blue Rose Soft Serves - Fujiyama Cafe
  • Order: Vanilla with Fujiyama Honey Soft Serve and Blue Rose Soft Serve
  • Verdict: Sharing the same base, both Blue Rose and Vanilla and Fujiyama Honey were close to one another. Both also shared silky smooth texture which was a delight to tongue. It was difficult to choose which I liked more.
  • More details @

Japanese Dinner - Hotel New Century Kawaguchiko ホテルニューセンチュリー
 Japanese Dinner - Hotel New Century Kawaguchiko ホテルニューセンチュリー
  • Order: Japanese Dinner with Pork Shabu-Shabu and Beef Sukiyaki
  • Verdict: Truth be told, I almost felt like we were having Kaiseki. Not only we were overwhelmed by the amount of food served, we were amazed by the quality of food served. Sashimi and sushi were so fresh that it almost felt like the fish just dead seconds ago. 
  • More details @

The Fusion Ramen - Narumi-Ippudo
The Fusion Ramen - Narumi Ippudo

Muku Zweite Ramen - Muku
Muku Zweite Ramen - Muku
  • Order: Muku Zweite Ramen and Muku Ramen
  • Verdict:  I was intrigued by the prospect of sauerkraut, bacon and spring onions in this German-Japanese homemade noodle soup. It took a moderate stance in terms of boldness, with an added twist in flavor with its sour profile and contrasting texture with its meat selection. 
  • More details @

The Golden Ramen - Genkotsu
The Golden Ramen - Genkotsu

Tokusei Niboshi Ramen - Nagi Shinjuku Golden-gai
Tokusei Niboshi Ramen - Nagi Shinjuku Golden-gai
  • Order: Tokusei Niboshi Ramen
  • Verdict: Its sardines broth had a very distinctive and bold flavor! At first taste, it was too much to handle but eased as I plowed on. It had a slight bitter end note, which was rather unusual. It used a mix of curly and wide, flat noodles. Akin to dumpling skin, the wide, flat noodles was smooth and slurpy. I thought it was a clever play of textures.
  • More details @

Steamed Gyoza - Harajuku Gyozaro 原宿餃子樓
Steamed Gyoza - Harajuku Gyozaro 原宿餃子樓
  • Order: Steamed Gyoza and Pan Fried Gyoza
  • Verdict: Both steamed and pan fried gyozas were equally yummy. While the steamed version boasted silky smooth skin, the pan fried version featured crispy texture on one hand, chewier texture on the other. Filing wise, it was flavourful to even go on its own. Personally I liked the steamed version more.
  • More details @

Chocolate Caramel Crepe and Chocolate Butter Crepe - La Fee Delice
Chocolate Caramel Crepe and Chocolate Butter Crepe - La Fee Delice
  • Order: Chocolate Caramel Crepe and Chocolate Butter Crepe
  • Verdict: The crepe was so thin that it was crusty yet fluffy. Caramel banana crepe came with slightly seared banana, which was of the right species and right ripeness. That dollop of caramel added the necessary complexity and kick to the overall package. I was in bliss!
  • More details @

Keema Curry Rice - Minoringo 原宿 みのりんご
Keema Curry Rice - Minoringo 原宿 みのりんご
  • Order: Keema Curry Rice
  • Verdict: Moist and fragrant, I believed the rice at the base was buttered rice, topped with minced beef curry and poached egg. The curry, as expected, was not very spicy like Malaysian's though it did have its own personality. Overall, it was quite good but I felt that the flavour was too consistent and lacking some accentuation.
  • More details @

Nizakana - Shinjuku Kappo Nakajima 新宿割烹 中嶋
Nizakana - Shinjuku Kappo Nakajima 新宿割烹 中嶋

Ramen - Sushi Zanmai まぐろざんまい
Ramen - Sushi Zanmai まぐろざんまい 

Onigiri - Onigiri-ya Marutoyo
Onigiri - Onigiri-ya Marutoyo

Chinese-style Ramen - 上井
Chinese-style Ramen - 上井

Omakase Set - Iwasa Sushi 岩佐寿し, Tsukiji Fish Market
Omakase Set - Iwasa Sushi 岩佐寿し, Tsukiji Fish Market

Tonkatsu Rice Set - Ootoya, Shibuya
Tonkatsu Rice Set - Ootoya, Shibuya

Ippudo Karaka Ramen - Ippudo Ramen 一风堂, Ebisu
Ippudo Karaka Ramen - Ippudo Ramen 一风堂, Ebisu
  • Order: Ippudo Karaka Ramen, Shiromaru Special Ramen and Gyoza
  • Verdict: With Shiromaru Classic pork soup as its base, Karaka introduces spicy miso topping, mixed with herbs and spices. It offered the best of both worlds: that complex layers in pork soup and added dimension (spiciness), which I personally enjoyed very much. 
  • More details @

Tonkatsu Set - Yayoiken やよい軒
Tonkatsu Set -Yayoiken やよい軒

Tsukemen - Rokurinsha 
Tsukemen - Rokurinsha

Aug 12, 2018

Hanoi Travelogue: Wandering in Imperial Citadel of Thang Long (2 Feb 2016)

Apart from the chilly Winter weather in Hanoi, our lovely 3-course brunch in Green Tangerine had definitely fueled our legs for a 2.4-km walk to Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, the UNESCO World Heritage site in Hanoi.

Imperial Citadel of Thang Long
Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, also known as Hanoi Citadel, was the hub of  Vietnamese military power for over 1000 years. Many artefacts and items dating back to between the 6th and 20th centuries were excavated in 2004, including foundations of old palaces, ancient roads, ponds and wells.

Courtyard in Imperial Citadel of Thang Long
On top of these discoveries, archaeologists also found bronze coins, ceramics and pottery from China and many places in Asia, all of which demonstrate a close trading relationship in the area. One could spend hours looking at these artifacts in showrooms.

Long flight of stairs down to the bunker @ Imperial Citadel of Thang Long
In the deeper sanctum of Imperial Citadel of Thang Long was the D67 military headquarter of North Vietnamese military command (Vietnam People’s Army) under General Giap. Built in 1967, it featured modern architectural style, 60-centimeter wall and good soundproofing system.

This long flight of stairs would lead you down to the bunker, where tools that comrades in the Politburo and the Central Military Commission, the Ministry of Defense and the General Staff used in the resistance war against the US were displayed. You would find a connecting underground tunnel here for emergency evacuation in case of an attack.

Nature's beauty at its best @ Imperial Citadel of Thang Long
In here, there was a sense of tranquility, devoid of hustle and bustle of Hanoi city. For VND 30k, you get to appreciate the history, architecture, art and nature's beauty in Imperial Citadel of Thang Long. If there is only one place you could visit in Hanoi, let it be Imperial Citadel of Thang Long.

Flag Tower of Hanoi
500m way from Imperial Citadel of Thang Long was this tall and beautiful looking Flag Tower of Hanoi, Built in 1812, this tower served as an observation post to the Hanoi Citadel. Unlike many other structures in Hanoi, it was not destroyed during the French invasion (1896-1897), and was continuously used as a military post. Initially part of Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, it is now part of Vietnam Military History Museum.

Trung Nguyen @ Hanoi
By the time we were (not quite) done, the citadel was almost due to close for the day. We had our bun chas (again) at Bun Cha Dac Kim and stopped by Trung Nguyen for some Vietnamese egg coffee.

Vietnamese Hot Egg (Cà phê trứng) @ Trung Nguyen
Vietnamese hot egg coffee (cà phê trứng) is traditionally prepared with egg yolks, sugar, condensed milk and robusta coffee. That thick layer of white foam was a concoction of egg yolks and sugar, called the egg cream. For those without sweet tooth, this hot egg coffee was cloyingly sweet. I found it both interesting and challenging - how could one drink the coffee without depleting that layer of egg cream that floated above the coffee first?

Total damage for 2 pax = VND 60k

Despite the mini stool and tight stall for meals, tanner half and I enjoyed our maiden trip to Hanoi. Street food was awesome - even an unknown stall called Pho Bo nearby Especen hotel delivered a bowl of piping hot flavourful beef pho for VND35k in the wee hours of morning. Our last breakfast in Hanoi couldn't be any better.

Total damage for 2 pax = VND 70k

In summary,

My personal dining ranking (5 being the full score) based on following criteria are:
  • Ambiance
    • Bun Cha Dac Kim - 3/5
    • Trung Nguyen - 3/5
  • Price
    • Bun Cha Dac Kim - 3/5
    • Trung Nguyen - 3/5
  • Food
    • Bun Cha Dac Kim - 5/5
    • Trung Nguyen - 4/5
  • Verdict
    • Bun Cha Dac Kim - So good that you keep coming back
    • Trung Nguyen - Maybe not here but would surely try hot egg coffee again

My personal hotel/attractions verdicts for:
  • Especen Hotel: Walking distance to Hoan Kiem Lake and local food. Spacious and comfortable room. It could use a fan for ventilation during winters. Do ask for lower floor rooms if you are not a fan of climbing narrow staircases
  • Imperial Citadel of Thang Long: Definitely recommended if you have only have time to visit one place


Bun Cha Dac Kim
67 Duong Thanh Street, Old Quarter, Hanoi, Vietnam
Operation Hours: 11am - 7pm
Tel: +84 4 3828 5022
Credit Card: N/A (We paid cash)

Trung Nguyen
26 Hàng Trống, Hoàn Kiếm, Thành Phố, Hanoi, Vietnam
Operation Hours: 6.30am - 10.30pm
Tel: +84 24 3938 6749
Credit Card: N/A (We paid cash)

Sources: Wikipedia, Vietnam GuideLonely Planet,

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