On day 5 (part 1, part 2) of our Japan trip in Kyoto, we wanted to try Inoichi but it was closed. Without a backup plan we roamed the few streets nearby and finally settled on curry rice for dinner at Curry House Coco Ichibanya. Turns out Curry House Coco Ichibanya is a famous curry rice restaurant chain in Japan. We went to the one at Shijo Kawaramachi branch which occupies ground and first floor at a corner lot. It’s a small restaurant but cozy. Locals and tourist like us can be seen eating here.
When it comes to Vietnamese cuisine, I’m a real donkey. I’ve only heard and seen phở and bánh mì on TV and I’ve never eaten Vietnamese food before. Well, all that’s changed now after my visit to Pho Vietz. I had planned to blog about this place since late last year but ahh there are just so many things to do in everyday life (+procrastination). It’s never too late to share a good eating place if it’s good, right?
I have visited Pho Vietz twice so far and both times I was blown away by how good they are. The marriage of fresh herbs + pickled vegetables with meat are the flavor bomb. I am definitely in love with Vietnamese food. A trip to Vietnam would be fantabulous, eh?
Here are what we ordered from our two visits there…
For our very first dinner at Kyoto on day 4, we choose to have it at Ootoya Gohan-Dokoro 大戸屋ごはん処 or just Ootoya for short. It’s a famous chain dining restaurant focusing on teishoku (Japanese set meal). It has branches all over Japan and oversea. You might have seen Ootoya in your country as well.
In Kyoto, there are four Ootoya shops. We went to the one at Sanjo dori. Ordering was easy as they have English menu. For limited/seasonal dishes, they only have it in their Japanese menu. So make sure you check them out too. The atmosphere was really cozy (imagine family style restaurant) and food were served in timely manner.
Let me show you what I ordered first. Charcoal grilled atka mackerel @ 780 yen. I ordered the dish minus rice, miso soup and pickles. In other words, à la carte. This dish wasn’t my first choice. I wanted charcoal grilled mackerel but it was sold out. The atka mackerel was really salty and has an odor that I’m not accustom to. Due to that I had to beg some rice from my mates to down it with.
I left Osaka for Kyoto on day 4 of my Japan trip and the first meal I ate was this famous burnt ramen at Kyoto Gogyo which I’ve heard plenty of. Why is it called burnt ramen? Well, it’s not that they burn the ramen (noodle). In actuality it’s the broth (shoyu/miso) that’s scorched in 300°C lard which resulted in an almost black-colored broth. I’m not sure if it’s healthy to eat it everyday but hey it’s my first ever visit, so why not? 😉
We arrived in Gogyo at 11.50am after half an hour of walking from our hostel. The plan was to have lunch there and visit Nishiki Market right after. In case the place is full, then we’ll have lunch at the market… ya know need to have contingency plan. Haha Gogyo opens at 11.30am and thankfully there were no queue! Okay, I find it weird since this ramen place is well-known. Inside, we were shown to our table and there were still some empty spots. Too bad the counter seating area was closed and therefore I can’t peak into their kitchen.
I went to Nara on day 3 of my Japan trip last year and one of the things I look forward to besides meeting the deers, was eating kakinoha sushi 柿の葉ずし aka persimmon leaves sushi. Kakinoha sushi is a local specialty in Nara and it really means what it says, that is sushi wrapped with persimmon leaf. Pickled mackerel and salmon are the common fishes used. Other varieties are sea bream, eel, prawn, etc.
Because Nara is located inland, it doesn’t have access to sea products easily. There was no such thing as refrigeration in the olden times. The fishes and other seafood were pickled with salt and brought into Nara. The usage of persimmon leaves is due to its healing properties and also because Nara has abundance of persimmon trees. This suaku tourist (me!) was ohh-ing and wah-ing along the road whenever a persimmon tree is spotted. LOL
Just outside of Kintetsu Nara Station where we alighted, there is a kiosk selling kakinoha sushi called Hiraso 平宗. You can also visit its Nara branch store, a further 8-10 minutes walk from the kiosk.
Here I am, the butternut squash addict with another butternut squash soup recipe. I was going to roast the butternut but thought “Hey why not steam it instead?”. Then I decided to include steam fish to make my meal fuller. Then there were this thought of “Hey, I should make use of my long forgotten saffron!” and lastly “Let’s add some chia seeds to make this soup more nutritious since I’ve not seen any recipes adding chia seeds to soup but mostly to smoothies, drinks and pudding!”. That’s the story of how this recipe were conceived. Haha