Ok, I've decided we really should just have a separate food porn thread to post pictures of things we've eaten. Even if its just Schild and myself posting pictures of the way to expensive shit we travel around to eat, I'm sure it can be amusing/fun.
Anyways, food porn. JAPAN EDITION.
So about a month ago I took two weeks to have a little fun in Japan, and then hike in the mountains for week straight till my body was about to fall apart. Was actually a wonderful time, and I had a ton of amazing food along the way. So lets recreate my trip via food I ate.
Though, to get to Osaka, the cheapest flights were via Air Asia, which routes through Kuala Lumpur. Since I've never been to Malaysia, decided to stay there one night so I could explore a bit. So of course we'll start off with the airplane food.
Had to order this when buying tickets. Seemed like the safe bet!
It was...... still better than most western airline food I guess.
Walking around the city. I'm going to post a lot of pictures of random shit I saw for sale that seemed funny, but I did not actually try. I have no idea what was going on at this place, but it appears to be advertising a cheese dish mixed with various things that should not be mixed with cheese.
KL did not impress me very much, and probably not that great of a place to visit for tourism. Only thing that seemed legit was the food. There were tons of big outdoor eating courts with stations of all sorts of crazy looking spiced food. I went ahead and got this chicken something something (everything has really funny names I can't say in Malaysia). It was super good, but also super fucking spicy. Christ.
Next into Osaka! For my first meal in Japan, I went to a top rated Okonomyiaki place (its a crazy Japanese dish they cook on a stove you sit around, that's sort of a meat pancake noodle thing covered in sauce and mayo. Its a specialty of the Kansai region, and amazing.
After waiting two hours (don't worry, I went bar hopping in the area around the place while I waited) got a seat right next to the chef and got to watch him cook everything. It takes like, 30 minutes to make each one. Got this amazing pork/scallop infused goodness.
Went bar hopping and had a blast after the meal, so of course after midnight needed something to eat. So went to a top rated Ramen place (thanks for the suggestion Schild), which had a line wrapped around it when I walked by earlier in the day. Open counters at one AM though! Double happiness ramen sounded tempting, but had to go for number one rated pork rib.
This was super fucking good, but oh god, so rich. That pork rib (no bone in it) was well over 50% pure fat. My heart was screaming at the same time I couldn't stop eating it.
Walking around Osaka the next day. Let it be known the Japanese can monetize anything.
Also, crazy tempura taco things? I was completely full walking around at this point, or I would have gone for one.
So for dinner that night, on a whim I went to a place that serves Matsusaka beef. It's another sort of Japanese beef like Kobe beef, except they don't even export it apparently. Here is my apitizer set before the meat arrives. That pink blob of meet you see is pure fat. You use it rub across the grill in front of you with chop sticks to grease it before cooking your meat on it. I thought that was pretty clever.
“Beef Sushi” appetizer.
Platter of various parts of the cow. This type of beef is often served thin sliced, so you grill it in front of you are do shabu shabu. I think its kind of a shame because that doesn't lend towards as strong of a flavor, but still great obviously. The marbling on this stuff is insane.
Cooking my own meat before eating.
So for the real deal though, I got reservations at a Kobe Beef steak house in Kobe for Lunch the next day. Didn't eat anything all day before walking in.
Initial starter snacks.
The main event. A5-12 Kobe Beef. About 5 oz. Chef cooked it perfectly in front of me, and it was really wonderful. People say shit like melts in your mouth all the time, but this really does. You barley need to chew as it just sort of unravels. I'm not going to say its worth the insane price that 5 oz piece of meat was, but its a fun one time experience at least. Wonderful meal!
For dinner that night, stopped at a place called Plum that I'd always heard about when I lived there. Super nice restaurant that specializes in various kinds of Umeshu (Japanese Plum Wine). Spent the rest of the evening trying the various types. Here are the initial free appetizers and wine just for sitting down.
After the Kobe lunch I spent all afternoon walking off, decided to get some normal beef to compare. This was a super good roast beef in some crazy sauce. Very interesting to compare the texture after the last thing I had was top end Kobe. Also, more plum wine.
Got some Ramen next to the train station at a little po dunk town on my way to the start of the Kumano Kodo trail head (the trail I hiked). Still good.
First night on the trail. So, I basically stayed at little Ryokan's (Traditional Japanese ins with tatami rooms) or Onsens (same as a Ryokan, but more fancy and with natural hot springs to bath in) the entire hike. All of these places cook a set meal for everybody staying at the place every night. Most of them were tiny, so only a couple other people staying, as I am in pretty small villages at this point. Here is my view walking into the 'dinning room'.
Close up view. On the right, big bowl of sashimi, arious Tempura fried stuff in the middle, and amazing bowl of Oxtail soup on the left. Plus tons of other little things and green tea. All of this was cooked by hand by the old husband and wife that run the place. Amazing.
Breakfast the next morning before hitting the trail. Tamago (japanese style egg omlet), Tofu in a sweet sauce, pickled greens, and miso.
Next inn. This time various Katsu fried things, fish, and a bowl of Nabe on the left. Basically, the flame heats up a bowl of water, and you dump the vegitables into it. Once they've boiled a bit, you pick them right out of the water, dip them in that sauce right below the pot, and eat straight. Super good!
So, part of the package deal I did for this trip is that every inn I stay at must make me a packed lunch so I don't starve in the woods. It was the exact same at every place. Three Onigiri and maybe some other small random thing. One Onigiri was always just rice mixed with bits of seaweed (Good). One was always filled with salmon (Great). And one was always filled with Natto (death). Natto is a really nasty fermented bean paste that Japanese always insist foreigners try because its a traditional thing, while every single one of them I know hates the shit themselves. So it was always gut punch lottery every day for lunch as I tried to figure out which of the two white Onigiri did not contain gaijin poison.
Stayed at an Onsen the next night. These are always bigger and more fancy (so the dinner meal is fancy but not as personal as the previous). More sashimi and other crazy things. Got Shabu Shabu this time, which is similar to Nabe, but you take thin sliced beer and swish it in the boiling water before diping it straight into the sauce and eating. Loves me some Shabu Shabu.
A helpful Engrish menu of all the various shit they threw at me that night.
The fish you may have saw on the menu. Loved the presentation, as it was a massive bowl with a perfectly burning piece of wood that had reached that flame less red coal stage, sitting in the middle on a bunch of sand. They told me the fish was already cooked, and all of this was just to keep it warm...
Insane breakfast they gave me the next morning. Baked fish and tofu, and all sorts of other things. I have no idea how they did that egg thing. The yoke was a perfect ball. Firm but still very squishy, while the whites were still fairly liquid.
Sort of a fun thing. The Onsen was at this little village that has been famous for its hotsprings for centuries. In the middle of town they have a naturally boiling pool of water they've bricked up and use as the 'public kitchen'. People bring sacks of eggs to boil in the hot spring before eating.
Walking around a temple that day, I stopped and got lunch at an Udon joint. Sansai style Udon with Mehari Sushi. Basically, its the original form of Sushi, which is a big lump of rice wrapped in a pickled lettuce leaf. Came from this region.
So I had a lot of other random dinners at the places I stayed, but they were along the same lines of what you've seen, and I need to get to bed. After finishing the hike, I had to wait for a train to take me to the last city I was staying for the night. I stopped at a random place next to the train station and ordered Katsudon, which is one of my favorite comfort foods in Japan. Its fried pork katsu, mixed with egg over rice. I assumed this place being in a small town next to a train station tourist hit would give me some half ass'ed shit, but no. Even out here, the lady running the place took 40 minutes to make it, and it was obvious she made everything from scratch. It was one of the best bowls of Katsudon I've ever had.
Stayed the night in Wakayama, and so went to the top rated Ramen place for my final dinner in Japan. Got the 'extra pork' bowl as you can see, heh. Was super good, though not as good as that first bowl I posted. Still, great cap to the trip!
Ok, its past 1 AM here, I stayed up way to long trying to finish this. Just going to post this without doing much editing and pass out. I can always edit later!