Just like cherry blossoms in the spring, people take autumn leaves VERY seriously in Japan. And how could you not? Leaves change to such a deep but bright burgundy that completely transforms the scenery of Japan into a rich, fall wonderland. Haha Do I sound a little over dramatic? Maybe you have to visit to understand. (You still have time – the leaves will stay until around mid-December, and they’re especially beautiful in Kyoto.)
There’s something about the way the Japanese dive so fully into each little thing (whether it’s soba, pork, lavender fields, or maid cafes) that enhances your perspective on it. The best way I can explain autumn leaves is through these photos. Even though this is a small temple near Nagano, the abundance of red is so overwhelming!
How do you enjoy fall? Do you have beautiful fall leaves where you live?
If you’ve ever been to the Mt.Fuji area, you’ve no doubtfully seen or tried one of the many houtou restaurants! Houtou is a local specialty in Yamanashi close to the hot tourist spot, Mt.Fuji. It’s a hearty and nutritious miso and pumpkin-based broth cooked in a large cast iron bowl and filled with chewy udon and vegetables. Although it’s served year round, it’s my favorite in the colder months when nothing satiates your stomach like a piping hot bowl of noodles!
There are tons of restaurants that sell hotto in the area, but my favorite is Fudou. Other than a few side dishes, the only thing on the menu at Fudou is houtou. The portion is quite large so although the Japanese usually order one bowl per person, you can probably share if you have a small appetite.
If you like it, they sell pre-packaged udon at the front that you can bring home along with a whole bunch of other fun omiyages! My favorite are the blueberry cheesecake and strawberry kitkats. I’ve never actually tried them, but they catch my eye every time!
Well that didn’t take that long! You can now find cronuts in cafes around Tokyo supplied by Banderole. The craze hasn’t hit the radar of Japanese trend setters yet so don’t expect the long lines that you’d find for pancakes or brunch spots. I’m not sure if this will become a fad in Japan as even cupcakes haven’t made a big splash. But we’ll see! Sometimes these food trends take awhile to catch on here (like pancakes).
If you’re keen to try it, they’re offered here in chocolate, matcha, strawberry, and white chocolate:
Check out their website for shop locations across Japan – mostly surburban locations so far.
As if we don’t get hungry enough looking at our foodie-filled Instagram and Facebook feeds, we can now smell them too.
The Japanese have come up with a little device called Scentee that attaches to your phone’s headphone jack, and using some preinstalled cartridges, it ‘blows’ foodie scents at you. You can already buy a Scentee with coffee, apples, and cinnamon roll scents (breakfast anyone?), but coming soon is the smell of Japanese beef BBQ.
Want a quick reminder of your Memorial Day holiday? Just blow this in your face. Your meeting running into lunch or dinner? Pick up the pace by making everyone hungry. But user beware. If they don’t get the smell quite right, people will just think you had Japanese BBQ ….. last night. (I know… I had to go there.)
Still interested? Check out their hilariously depressing video:
First spotted on Fine Dining Lovers
Last weekend, we were invited to our friend, Megha’s house to learn some home cooked Indian dishes – Malai Kofta and Chicken Tikka. Malai Kofta is a vegetarian dish of fried balls of fresh cheese served in a cream gravy sauce. I’m not usually one for vegetarian dishes, but I can’t wait to make this again. It was hearty and filling – perfect for this fall weather! Here’s how to make it yourself at home, in pictures!
For the kofta, you’ll need: 1 quart milk, 1.5 tbsp white vinegar, 2 medium potatoes (boiled & mashed), 2 tsp flour, 1/4 tsp cardamom powder, salt, olive oil, oil for frying
For the malai, you’ll need: 4-5 medium tomatoes, 1/4 cup cashews, 2 tbsp melon seeds, 1 tsp poppy seeds, 1 tsp chopped ginger, 2 green cardamom pods, 1 tsp red chilli powder, 1/4 cup yogurt, 1/4 tsp garam masala powder, salt to taste, 2 tbsp fresh cream
First, make the cheese:
Honmura An has long been one of my favorite restaurants in Tokyo. It’s one of the many Michelin-starred restaurants here and specializes in handmade soba. The soba here is sublime. It’s the perfect smooth and chewy texture, and you can really taste a deep buckwheat flavor. The dipping sauce is even more elegant here. They serve a wide variety of soba on their menu – from plain soba served in a bamboo box or soba topped with uni.
Aside from soba, Honmura An‘s other dishes are also done with such finesse. Most use seasonal ingredients and are based on traditional Japanese recipes such as kinpira salad or sweetened lotus root. One of my favorites is the soba salad (pictured above). For dinner, the dishes are tapas-style with an even larger seasonal menu.
Tip: If you’re on a budget, go for lunch and order the zaru soba (soba topped with seaweed). You’ll get to experience this Michelin-starred restaurant for just over 800 yen – cheaper than some ramen joints!
7-14-18 Roppongi, Minato-ku Tokyo
M-F 12-2:30, 5:30-10; S-S 12-2:30, 5-9:30
All non-smoking, reservations recommended for peak lunch and all dinners
I can honestly say that I have never had good pork until I came to Japan. Although Japan is famous for its beef, the pork is also high quality, marbled, juicy, full of flavor, and oh so tender. There are many ways to eat pork in Japan, but one of the popular dishes is tonkatsu – a lightly breaded, fried pork cutlet. I’ve been wanting to try Butagumi in Nishi Azabu for a long time. It’s rated as one of the best places in Tokyo for tonkatsu, and I have to agree that it’s my favorite so far!