Dessert, Food, Japan, Japanese, Nara, Travel

When we got off at Nara JR Station outside of Osaka, we stopped by a mall that was connected to the station for some small bites before going into Nara Park. Inside the small shopping area, we found all sorts of beautifully packaged Japanese foods and souvenirs. It was a bit difficult to settle down on a place because everything looked so attractive. After walking around for 10 minutes, we were instantly drawn to a store that sold custard in glass jars with artsy lids.Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

The packaging was lovely so we ended up keeping the jars after we were done with the custards.

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Left – Cherry Blossom Custard

With a flowery taste and a fresh vanilla after taste, everything about the cherry blossom custard was girly and cute.

We were slightly surprised at the end when we tasted a plum jam bottom With a strong salty kick and a bitter after taste, it ruined the blissful beginning tastes from the cream.

Mixed in with the plum jam were small bits of red bean that helped the plum jam with a tiny hint of sweetness.

Right – Original Egg Custard

I do not usually eat egg custard but since the lid of the egg custard jar was a painted Buddha comic, I had to get it.

With a very thick, creamy and filling texture and flavour, the egg custard was rich and very satisfying for those who want something conventional.

At the bottom of the jar was a delicious layer of caramel that was quite mild and very complimentary to the egg custard. I also give them props for not making the caramel too sweet or thick.

 

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Food, Japan, Japanese, Osaka, Travel

I recently traveled to Osaka for a week and I landed at 6am in the morning. For those of you who have not been to Japan, their train system has the most confusing map I have ever seen. I’m from Hong Kong and even our subway system doesn’t live up to Osaka’s. Not only do their trains intersect everywhere and they have so many stations, but some stations have over 7 exits. The frustrating part was that even when we had a map, we still couldn’t find our way around. In result, we had a lot of difficulty getting to our hotel. I have to admit that Japan isn’t very tourist friendly – people didn’t speak English (not even the subway staff), announcements were made in Japanese and some places didn’t even have English menus. My family and I have gotten fights over the places to go to and how to get our destinations.

When we got back to our hotel, it was around brunch to lunch time. We rode our hotel shuttle bus to Osaka Station after checking into our hotel and our bus drove by a food festival. I wasn’t sure what it was but I read the two words “肉汁” which meant meat sauce. I was lucky to come across a food festival in Japan so we went to try it out.

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Again, no one really spoke English there but there was a really nice staff who really tried to make sure that we understood how to buy food tickets and the general gist of it. The whole concept is that we buy as many tickets as we want for around ¥800 (CAD8) per ticket, we choose a booth that we want to try, give them the food ticket and if we want to add extra ingredients, we pay an additional on top of the ticket. After trying the booths, we get to put a voting ticket into the booth that we tried. I’m assuming that the booth that gets the most voting tickets would win the food festival.

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壺漬けハラミ丼

This was Kokoro Karage’s BBQ beef rice with onsen egg, bean sprouts and spring onions. I realised that many Japanese noodle and rice dishes are often garnished with an entire handful of spring onions.

The bowl was very hot and even the beef was very juicy and warm. I was quite glad that the beef wasn’t too dry or too difficult to chew on.

The flavour was quite simple and plain. Don’t expect heavily spiced meats in Japan, their diet is rather bland for most Western people.

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とろプルW豚丼

This was 脱力酒場 それいけ!ピヨピヨ丸’s fatty pork bowl rice with kimchi, onsen egg, rice, lettuce and spring onions.

The kimchi gave the entire bowl more flavour and even though the pork looks deliciously marinated, it was also quite bland. The good side was the the pork was cooked perfectly and was very juicy.

The pork to rice ratio was not even. Unlike other places, they would usually give you more rice than meat but for this one particular bowl, I had so much pork than rice. Perfect for meat lovers.

I noticed that a lot of Vancouver sushi is usually decorated by all sorts of extra toppings and sauces that some times, you can’t really taste how delicious or fresh the fish really is. We were driving from West Vancouver back to Vancouver and we had to decide where to eat at Kitsilano. I’ve been hearing raving reviews about Octopus’ Garden and since the name of the restaurant is already a Beatles reference, we had to go.

When we arrived, the place was almost entirely empty but there were reserved signs on each table. If you want to experience an Omakase dinner at Octopus’ Garden, you will have to make a 24 hour booking before the day. I’m assuming that most of the reservations were for the Omakase dinner. Since we arrived pretty early, we were lucky to get a seat once when went in.

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If you made reservations for the omakase dinner, you would definitely want a place at the bar where you could see the chef freshly prepare your dinner in front of you.

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Tobiko with Quail Egg

The presentation was excellent but I was a bit nervous about eating a raw egg on raw fish eggs. I was worried that it would be very slimy and fishy.

To my surprise, even eating this in an entire bite, I was so in love with how well the flavours blended together. The quail egg made the fish eggs very creamy with a subtle egg taste to it. I usually thought that tobiko was a bit too dry by itself so the quail egg really gave it that extra boost.

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Spicy Scallop Roll

This was a pretty conventional spicy scallop roll but the difference is that you could actually taste the scallop and it’s form instead of most places where they mash it up together into whatever it is that they serve.

Hand Peeled Lobster Roll with Tobiko, Mayo and Avocado on Top

When we wanted to order the hand peeled crab roll, they informed us that they also had a lobster roll available for today. If you’re going there on any other day, the lobster roll may not be available.

Everything was pretty standard in the lobster roll but I wish they took away the avocado because it was too overpowering and I couldn’t taste the lobster.

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Seafood Ramen with Pork Cutlet

When we ordered the seafood ramen, we thought that it would be a normal ramen broth with assorted seafood inside. We were slightly surprised when it was just a thick broth with ramen topped with two piece of small pork cutlets. For the portion, it wasn’t really worth the price.

On the bright side, the broth was the thickest ramen broth I have ever had. I didn’t ask what the broth was made out of but the colour and taste was just like the mustard or the “yellow stuff” in crab. It was so rich and savoury but even though it was absolutely delicious, it was too thick for me to drink.

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At the end of our dinner, they served us octopus looking gummy candies. Ata a glance, I thought they were spider gummies.

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