Sunday, 9 November 2014

NomNom: Yayoi Teishoku; Sydney

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As a small celebration of our anniversary (4 years of marriage, 12 years being together. Woot!), 1/2heart and I decided to try the relatively-new Japanese restaurant in Sydney - Yayoi - which specializes in teishoku (a.k.a. meal set).

Don't be mistaken - japanese meal set is nothing like the usual meal set you'd probably get in western restaurants (burger, chips, and soft drinks, anyone?). In a japanese teishoku/meal set, they emphasize in presentation and an array of well-balanced ingredients - from soup, vegetables, meat, as well as the rice (which is probably the most important element in japanese and asian meal. After all, most asians haven't 'truly eaten' if they haven't had rice as part of the meal).

Yayoi does this true to how it's done in Japan: intricate and tantalizing.

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We started with some Umeshu - both on the rocks (just the swag term of having some ice cubes in it), as a refresher and palate cleanser.

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Gyu Tataki (A$16) and Age Dofu Dengaku (A$12.50) came soon after, as our ordered entree.
The tataki was served with ponzu jelly, giving it just a hint of citrus sourness. The taste was excellent, but I couldn't help but to lament that the beef pieces themselves were a bit sinewy to my liking.
The Dofu Dengaku was a better hit for me, fried with very light crisp batter and served with miso paste.

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As part of dinner service, our rice was served kamameshi style - cooked in a pot on our table while waiting for our mains to arrive. The rice took around 20 minutes to be ready, then the staff served the rice into our individual bowls.

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I ordered Yayoi Gozen (A$39), a pretty set containing a little bit of everything: pork katsu, salmon salad, wagyu beef, and salmon teriyaki). It also came with lightly fried age dofu, miso soup, and chawan mushi (steamed japanese egg custard).
It is certainly very pleasing to the eyes. The presentation is excellent, But nothing out of this dish really impressed me (apart from the visuals of course). Tonkatsu pork in the set was quite good though, probably on par with another place that does it well - Miso.

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1/2heart ordered Miso Pork Fillet Kastu Teishoku (A$28), and although the pork katsu was again - excellent, the runny poached egg did not come 'runny'. It was pretty much almost hard boiled (or hard-poached, whatever the term). I mean, you were supposed to slather the runny egg yolk all over the pork katsu to give them more flavour and texture (or so the menu said), but instead it became a pretty much an independent side dish of fully cooked egg.

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We wanted to try their warabi mochi, but they didn't have any. Boo! Why!
So anyway, we decided to get Matcha Ice Cream ($9). It was disappointing. Not enough matcha flavour, and for $9, it was hardly bigger than a size of golf ball.

It's certainly an interesting concept, but I think Yayoi has to maintain its quality & menu sufficiently.

Shop 2, 38-42 Bridge Street, 
Sydney, New South Wales 2000
02 9247 8166

Friday, 22 August 2014

Travel: Japan 2014 Day 15 // Osaka // Den-Den Town, Namba, Shinsaibashi and around

Today was pretty uneventful, we explored the area around our rented studio apartment, which is not only close to Namba station, but also smack bang in front of Nipponbashi Den-Den Town.

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This, folks, is pretty much equivalent to Tokyo's Akihabara. You could imagine our inner otaku soaring free and drooling all over the merchandises.

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Maid cafes everywhere

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We also walked around Dotonbori and Shinsaibashi area... some mascots were always ready to entertain...

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Had kushikatsu at this place:

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Had the Assortment Set (JPY 650), but changed the green pepper, lotus root, & eggplant to Quail Eggs, Sweet Potato, and Mochi (Rice Cake).
Yummy!

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And tried this chicken stall... Small portion JPY 260.

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Around Dotonbori as well...

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For early dinner, we had Salmon and Uni Donburi. I have new-found love for uni. This stall did not disappoint. Uni was sweet and creamy too.

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Tomorrow we will be flying back to Sydney, so this will be the end of my Japan travel blog. You can always drop me a comment or message if you need suggestions or questions for your upcoming trip, need my itinerary, etc.

Until next time :)

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Travel: Japan 2014 Day 14 // Osaka // Eat: Ippudo; Coco's Curry // Walk: Momofuku Ando Instant Noodle Museum; Kaiyukan Aquarium

We planned to go to Momofuku Ando Instant Noodle Museum, located only around 5 minutes walk from Ikeda station.

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Sorry, just another case of my obsession with cool-looking manholes all around Japan....
Then we were enchanted by this small shop advertising awesome sushi deals. If it was this cheap in Sydney, I probably would doubt about the freshness of the establishment. But it seems that we have not had a single bad sushi here, so in we went for brunch.

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権太呂すし 池田店Website: Sankyu Susi〒563-0041 Osaka Prefecture, Ikeda, Masumicho, 2−7
(〒563-0041 大阪府池田市満寿美町2-7)中島ビル1F

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There is no english menu, but all of the meal set and other dish have pictures, so point point point away.

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Sushi Sets for lunch (JPY 780 and JPY 890) were great. Apart from the itty bitty uni that we got for the set (oh well, the price was cheap), they were all wonderful. This was the first time I actually liked uni. It was sweet and creamy. I have had one bad one in Sydney (and it was even expensive) and it kinda deterred me from uni from then on. I'm glad I gave this one a go.

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The lunch set came with fish soup (more likely fish bone soup), the soup was quite thick and flavorsome.

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Then off to the museum we went. Admission the museum is free, but there are some activities inside that guests can pay for.

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Rows and rows of various instant noodles

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Instant noodles for astronauts

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So we partook one of the activities that is no doubt really popular with adults and kids alike - designing our own cup noodle (well, only the container that is). We spent quite some time on the design stage - and it seemed that everyone took this seriously and put on their artists' hat to the max.

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Choice of MSG soup base and various toppings you can add (up to 4) into your own cup noodles

Mine and my pathetic attempt at drawing the opera house & harbour bridge

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While 1/2heart drew randomly (and what's with the Ghibli soot/ Susuwatari -_-), but I still think his pork looks great :D

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The process ...

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The museum also offer noodle-making workshop - but you have to reserve in advance. Looks fun, but I only understand a little Japanese, and 1/2heart is competely Nihon-go-blind.... .

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After getting out of the museum, we passed by Ippudo (Ikeda branch) on the way to the station, so ramen for late lunch it was.

Ippudo - Ikeda branch
〒563-0041 池田市満寿美町2-10


Ippudo is awesome :) and as it is way cheaper than Sydney's, of course we wouldn't pass the chance to eat some good thick Tonkotsu ramen.


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Various condiments - self-serve at each table

1/2heart had Akamaru Special (JPY 1030), as he loves Ippudo's version of black garlic ramen; and I had Ippudo Karaka (JPY 880) with extra ni-tamago (JPY 80)- I chose extra spicy level.

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Akamaru Special

I think the Karaka Ramen is different from Sydney's Ippudo's?(I may need to revisit...). I thought this was going to be just another TanTan Men, but turned out it was way more awesome. The miso chilli paste was also mixed with some cashew nuts, giving the ramen more texture and nutty taste.

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Then we went to Kaiyukan Aquarium. Admission is JPY 2300 per adult. We have gone here 7 years ago, but I always love aquariums, so I went again. It was kinda disappointing though, as the whale shark was not there :(


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a crab lost its front claw today...

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What's different from 7 years ago - now Kaiyukan also has a small section of rainforest animal.

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sloth

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After the aquarium, we headed back to Namba station and visited Coco's Curry (branch Namba). There is english menu available and here, you sit by the bar.

Coco's Curry (Namba branch)
〒530-0012 大阪府大阪市北区芝田1丁目3−16


Here, you can customize your curry - from the rice portion, the 'main course' to go with your curry (whether tonkatsu, chicken,vegetables, eggs, etc), and the spiciness level (they recommend that first-timers do not go beyond 5)

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But hey, I was a first-timer and I ordered Beef based Curry with Tender Chicken Cutlet (and soft boiled egg), and spiciness Level 10. YOLO, right? Besides, I am confident with my tongue's endurance in chilli department.

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I was right. It was spicy, but it was quite pleasant and I don't mind having this from time to time. BUT gosh, I had the smallest rice portion and I was so beyond full by the end of my meal.

1/2heart had Pork based Curry with Tonkatsu with spiciness level 5 and he was sweating soon after ^_^ Have to train him more...

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Dinner at Coco's curry costed JPY 2114.