Tokujo-Tendon @ Shirou (しろう)

Today I would like to dedicate a post to my favourite ten-don in the world – the “Tokujo Ten-don” from Shirou, a restaurant located in one of the smaller side streets perpendicular to Omotesando. I was never a big fan of tempura on rice until I tried the “Tokusei Kakiage Don” at Tempura Yamanoue in Tokyo Midtown when it  first opened in 2007. (For those who are unfamiliar, Kakiage is  a form of tempura which, instead of being deep fried as whole shrimps or whole pieces of vegetables, are cut into pieces and made into little round fritters). Greatly impressed, I was gutted when I found out that the particular item was only available for the first week of the restaurant’s grand opening, and the ten-don in their usual menu was nowhere near as delicious as their mind-blowing Tokusei Kakiage which contained an overindulgent amount of small but intensely sweet scallops.

It took me a while to realize that the best substitute was actually available in my own neighbourhood! Because Shirou is not actually a tempura specialist (they do standard Japanese dishes like oyakodon, soba and gindara saikyoyaki for lunch and Kaiseki for dinner), I was pleasantly surprised at how well they managed to batter each piece of tempura in my Ten-don. At 2800 yen, I believe this is a STEAL given that the chef visits Tsukiji market every morning to pick the best produce for all the dishes they make each day. Anyway, enough writing – check the photos out!

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On top of the usual ohitashi (chilled spinach) and tsukemono (pickled veggies), the shrimp’s legs are also served in a cute little plate on the side.

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The rice also comes with a flavourful miso-soup with an abundance of nameko mushrooms.

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Those who are not hungry may also take the option of the simpler “Ten-don” which tastes just as good, only with fewer ingredients! 
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I would also recommend the Gindara Saikyoyaki here. However, do note that these dishes are only available at lunch time so you better come in the day! 🙂

Website: http://www.shiro-tokyo.jp

Address: 〒150-0001 東京都渋谷区神宮前3-5-1

3-5-1, Jingumae, Shibuya, Tokyo Prefecture 150-0001, Japan

 

I would love you if you brought these back for me

OK I’m in England Now but I would just like to mention 3 things (out of an uncountable number) I have to get everytime I go to Japan. I shall limit myself to 3 things each time
I blog about snacks!

1. Dorayaki from KAMEJYU Asakusa 

Honestly I’m not a big fan of Dorayaki – specially because I am a savoury > sweet person (I do love chocolate, cakes and macarons plz don’t get me wrong). I’m also definitely not obsessed with wagashi (traditional japanese sweets), because most of the time they are too sweet for my liking. But this Dorayaki is DIFFERENT. I’ve never had a dorayaki as good as this – it tastes like two fluffy & chewy (chotto mochi mochi)  pancakes (that are better than american pancakes, as it is much more refined) with some delicious white bean(shiroan) or red bean (kuroan) paste inbetween. The bean paste is fresh and moist, and nothing like the sickeningly sweet bean paste in most ordinary dorayakis. Kamejyu has definitely changed my mind about Doraemon’s favourite snack.

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2. Edomae Roll from YAKINIKU CHAMPION

Originating from Ebisu, I was so happy to see this shop open at Haneda Airport. Everytime I leave from Haneda I would purchase a couple of these Edomae Rolls, which are basically thinly sliced yakiniku stuffed inside reversed sushi rolls with mayonnaise and kimchi, sprinkled with sesame all over.

http://www.yakiniku-champion.com

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And here is a link for you to locate the shop next time you are at Haneda Airport! http://www.haneda-airport.jp/inter/en/premises/tenant/8100100014650000/index.html

3. GOUTER de ROI PREMIUM RUSK from GATEAU FESTA HARADA

Rusks appear to be getting popular around patisseries in Japan lately and my personal favourite has to be this chocolatey rusk from GATEAU FESTA HARADA, which originally started up in Gunma-ken. I have to say these photos will not tell you how yummy they are (there are also different flavours such as white chocolate or no chocolate). YOU JUST HAVE TO TRY THEM.

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http://www.gateaufesta-harada.com/company/index.html

Yutaka Asakusa ゆたか@浅草 

Since it is winter holiday I have decided to come back on my food blog (which has only 3 posts so far…)  Anyway, today I’d like to introduce one of my favourite Tonkatsu places in the Tokyo – Yutaka Asakusa! Hidden in one of the smaller streets perpendicular to the road where the famous Kaminarimon is situated, the best way to find Yutaka would be to look for the “Central World Hotel” and then walk straight into the little alleyway at the left of its main entrance.  This tonkatsu house has been operating for over 60 years – their tonkatsu are made of tender Yamato pork from Gunma ken, deep-fried in batter made of homemade flour using high quality cottonseed oil.

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Because it’s winter (oyster season!) I decided to get some kakihurai (deepfried oysters) for the table to eat with our chawanmushi as appetizer.

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Obviously I saved most of my tummy space for my favourite hirekatsu!  I always opt for the tenderloin fillet instead of the ro-sukatsu (pork loin) because it is less fatty and being at a GOOD tonkatsu place like yutaka I know the meat will still be fluffy and moist at the same time, just the way I like my tonkatsu.

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The thing I really like about Yutaka is that you never feel uncomfortably heavy after eating a whole meal of deepfried stuff there.Their katsu sauce is extraordinarily thin compared to most other tonkatsu shops – only slightly less runny than soysauce, with no frills (no sesame to compliment it), but still brimming with wonderful flavours of fruit and spice that make a lovely balance to the meaty dish. 20121219-145039.jpg

And since someone else on the table is bound to get the ro-su katsu too I took a pic of it as well :p

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Address :  Tokyo Taito-ku 1-15-9

東京都台東区浅草1-15-9

Website :   http://www.tonkatu-yutaka.com/index.html

No. 5 Italian

Been obsessed with discovering restaurants in TAI HANG lately so today I will write about this lovely little pizzeria tucked away in Brown Street. I meant to write about this place a few months ago when I first tried it with my good friend K but ever since I started my first proper job I forgot about blogging … now that I have stopped working full time HERE I AM AGAIN. 😀 20120909-202829.jpg

Always jam-packed past 7:30pm, it’s definitely better if you either arrive early or make a reservation beforehand. The young chefs and waitresses seemed cheerful and enthusiastic at work so I was hyped up and ready to scoff down the entire menu!! 20120909-202754.jpgInterestingly, prices are listed in EUROs (1 Euro = 10HKD) in effort to make you believe that you are actually in Italy. lol. 20120909-202726.jpgToday’s salad was this figs & parma ham salad with parmesan cheese. OK this wasn’t a particularly innovative combo but the figs were indeed juicy and sweet. I love figs. 20120909-195953.jpg

Next came this 8 inch “spicy pepperoni pate” pizza which was supposedly one of their new ones. The waitress told us that since we were ordering other things it would be better to have an 8 inch instead of 12 inch one but SERIOUSLY THIS WAS TINY and the whole thing was devoured within seconds so never get the 8 inch one unless you want to pretend you’re on a diet. 20120909-200115.jpg

Then it was Soup time! – some of you may find this a bit salty but as my tastebuds have a relatively high threshold for sodium (uhh sodium chloride for you chem freaks) I thoroughly enjoyed this clear lobster soup. 20120909-200139.jpg

Then came this Burrata cheese with cherry tomatoes starter that I have ordered every single time since my first visit. 20120909-200155.jpg

I did not like burrata cheese before but after a while I realized that it started to grow on me when I found myself missing it at random hours of the day. And look how cute it is! Round and white. Everything round and white are cute. Round and black too before anyone calls me racist 20120909-200750.jpg

Anyway I love this creamy burrata that oozes out of its equally yummy rubbery skin, so so good with the balsamic vinegar balanced with sweet tomatoes, also given an edge with basil leaves. 20120909-200851.jpg

**Sadly though, if you check this pic of the same dish that I took on my previous visit, you’ll see that they used to use different cherry tomatoes (some red some yellow) which were a LOT sweeter and worked to made this dish phenomenal. Today’s “red tomatoes only” version was not quite as good, but still good enough to warrant an order next time, I suppose?

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So NEXT !! Shared this onion soup with my mom. This did not disappoint. The onions were cooked to perfect consistency – soft whilst retaining enough shape for a bite.The cheesy crouton added a zing that matched very nicely with the subtle sweet-smokey flavour imparted by the wine in the soup. Nommms. I wanted a portion to myself but only held back in order to reserve more tummy space for the rest of the meal.20120909-201035.jpg

Then came our second pizza (this time a 12 inch one). This was the “Johnny’s style” pizza with white truffle, parma ham, and rucola leaves. Am happy to say that although (as expected) there were no actual, visible pieces of white truffle on this pizza, the earthy, sensual aroma of truffle oil was clearly present. Crust was crisp and thin and the parma ham was fresh, too 🙂 20120909-201053.jpg

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Then we ordered the FISH STEW which consisted of a king prawn, giant scallop, cod fish, squid rings and baby clams all cooked in a tomato-based sauce topped with italian parsley. This was definitely one of tonight’s highlights. I wanted to scrape out all the sauce and drink it like an intense, extra-rich seafood soup. 20120909-202539.jpg

Next was the Uni Linguine in white truffle cream sauce. They make their own pasta here so you get that hearty homemade texture. Tonight was the second time I had this and I think I remember the uni being sweeter with more umami last time but I guess with uni there is always an element of luck as to whether or not you are getting a good batch. This is a comparatively heavy dish – not to the degree that it is sickening but I would suggest sharing it! 20120909-202551.jpg

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And I personally have a thing for vongole pasta (I don’t feel like I have tried enough at an Italian restaurant unless I have had their linguine vongole) so I had to get this. Yum!20120909-202614.jpg

The next 2 are pastas I’ve had in previous visits – this one below is the pappardelle with stewed wagyu cheek. Flavourwise it was not my favourite but the wagyu cheek was very, very tender. I think it also tasted better as I went through the dish, as much of the sauce (which in retrospect was actually pretty good) sank to the bottom. 20120909-202934.jpg

And this was the Spaghetti with tiger prawn in lobster sauce 😀 20120909-203427.jpg

Finally for dessert tonight I opted for the white chocolate fondant (not really a fondant, but it was somewhat meltier inside) with rasberry sauce and caramel ice cream. The roasted pine nuts were a pleasant touch – this made a simple yet satisfying end to my lovely meal tonight – I’ll be back for sure 😀 20120909-205125.jpgAddress: G/F, 21 Brown Street, Tai Hang, Hong Kong 大坑布朗街21號地下

Tel: 2504 2111

Canned Soup Goodness

The title of this post probably sounds almost oxymoronic to some of you – how can Canned soup ever be good?

Although there are obvious advantages to canned soup such as convenience and higher longevity in the cupboard, one can hardly call it good from a food-lover’s point of view, given that most canned soup company chefs deal only with freakish mutant vegetables. But what can you do when you are heading off to college (or work) and are simply too busy to prepare a hearty, homemade, cream of tomato soup? I was recently saved by Albert Menes Veloute de Tomate soup.

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Unlike many canned tomato soups that are either too watery or too harsh and acidic, the Albert Menes Veloute de Tomate has a velvety texture that is complimented by its highly condensed tomato flavour. The tomatoes used are picked and matured under the sun of Provence in France, and the soup itself is also made according to a traditional Provencal recipe. The richness of the soup, like any other canned soup, depends on how much water you put into the saucepan along with the contents of the can, but I personally prefer to put as little as possible so that the original texture of the soup is preserved.  At the back of the can it suggests that you add croutons fried with butter, a pinch of chives, and some creme fraiche before serving, but tonight all I had was the soup itself with some melba toast and it was already good (and less fattening! Although next time I think I will have this with a slightly burnt grilled cheese sandwich for an ultimate comfort food experience).

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So Hong Kongers, I’ll tell you that I bought this soup at Citysuper in IFC. and LOOK! IT IS NOW AT HALF PRICE! Normally at 99HKD for a canned soup it is on the expensive side but right now at HKD50 it is even cheaper than it is on its official French website:

http://www.albertmenes.fr/  

(And Americans – I heard that you can get it too but for around 13 USD so YEAHH I am getting a good deal here today 😀 )

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I have yet to try the other soups in the same range but as I bought a box full of these today I will probably try them soon. I won’t blog again about these soups but ask me later about the other varieties or just try them yourself ! 🙂

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Ki Ra La

Had lunch at Ki Ra La (きらら) today. Upon arrival I discovered that it is related to Sushi Dokoro Hikari in Tin Hau and thought “#%@! this is gonna be a waste of a meal”* BUT I was wrong 🙂

I opted for the Kirala Deluxe Set ($250) and mom went for the Wagyu Stone Grill Set ($480). Both started with a standard salad + chawanmushi combo:

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To my relief, these 2 starters hinted that it would be reasonable to expect better quality mains here at Ki Ra La than its Tin Hau counterpart. The salad was crisp and fresh, and the chawanmushi contained bits of chicken and shrimp that were unexpectedly flavourful, indicating the use of fresh rather than frozen ingredients.

Next came my mom’s Uni Tofu and Sashimi. The homemade Uni tofu was pudding-like in texture and had significant bits of sweet uni inside. The sashimi bowl however, was nothing to scream about. The toro was tendon-y and the botan-ebi wasn’t exactly full of umami. The spoonful of uni was OK :p

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Then came my entire lunch set.

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Again the sashimi was no good (although considering the fact that this set costed only $250, it was probably fair). BUT! everything else in the set justified potential return. The tempura batter was nice and thin, and the zaru-udon that I ordered in place of the steamed egg rice that was meant to come with the set was nice and chewy. All in all it was a well balanced lunch set.

I also ate a bit of my mom’s meal.

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I have been trying to eat less red meat lately for various reasons but hey there was literally only 4 small pieces of beef in the entire set. So I stole one from my mom.

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The beef served in this set is Miyazaki-gyu ranked A4. Wagyu is generally ranked from 1-5 with 5 being the best. The meat at rank 5 is supposed to have the highest marbling of snowy white fat in its muscle meat (as opposed to fat with a slight yellow tinge), and has a characteristic smooth, melt-in-mouth texture. The beef here in Ki Ra La’s lunch set, despite being ranked more humbly at A4, was delicious after a light sear on the little stonegrill. And as you can see, each piece was neatly cut into bite-sized, perfect rectangles, which was a plus for my lazy jaws.

Our meal ended with grapefruit jelly and a light chocolate cake. Both exceeded my expectations because most Japanese restaurants in this price range only serve either fruits or ice cream as set lunch desserts.

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Address:
Ki Ra La 2/F Henry House, No. 42 Yun Ping Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

銅鑼灣恩平道42號亨利中心2樓

Tel: 2808 0292