Monday, January 2, 2017

Delicious Japanese Food Discovery 2016

In 2016, I traveled to Japan through Hokkaido to Kyushu using the Japan Rail JR Pass. I am dedicating this blog article to share my food experiences of new seafood discovery, fruits and dessert in 2016. In short summary, I have tasted Gram Cafe's Premium Pancake, Hokkaido expensive melon, and Koshihikari rice in Niigata prefecture plus many more. 
Japanese Gram Cafe Premium Pancake.Tokyo Consult. TokyoConsult
Delicious Japanese style Premium Pancake at Gram Cafe



- To read about my recommendations of best food in Tokyo, visit: Best food in Tokyo Japan
- To read about my latest Kobe Beef Experience in 2016, visit: Kobe Beef in Kobe 2016 Ishida Kobe Beef Steak Restaurant



Being a foodie myself, I have always liked to experience local cuisine in different regions in the world. I have finally tasted as well as discovered more amazing food during my trip in Japan in 2016. Having an open mind, I believe a trip to Japan would definitely open the horizon of your taste buds.



Premium Pancake at Cafe Gram グラム カフェ - プレミアムパンケーキ
Japanese Gram Cafe Premium Pancake.Tokyo Consult. TokyoConsult
Kanazawa Gram Cafe entrance 
With many bloggers posting photographs of thick fluffy pancake on the internet, I can not resist the temptation of trying the most trendy pancake Gram Cafe has to offer. Gram Cafe is a franchise restaurant in Japan and I was fortunate to be in Kanazawa at the time, where there was no line for the popular Gram Cafe. The cooking time takes about 30 minutes after ordering the premium item after being seated at a table.
Japanese Gram Cafe Premium Pancake.Tokyo Consult. TokyoConsult
Kanazawa Gram Cafe Kitchen
The fluffy and almost melt in your mouth texture was something no other pancake can compare. I believe they cook it in a special steam technique in special egg and flour batter to achieve the result of the texture. It did not tasted as buttery as I expected but there was strong flavor of the aroma from the egg. The optional maple syrup and premium butter helped to accentuate the flavor of the fluffy pancake.
Japanese Gram Cafe Premium Pancake.Tokyo Consult. TokyoConsult
Amazing texture of Premium Pancake at Gram Cafe in Japan





Nodoguro のどぐろ Fish Nigiri Sushi (Blackthroat Seaperch/Doederleinia berycoides)
Nodoguro Nigiri Sushi Kanazawa. Tokyo Consult. TokyoConsult.
Buttery Nodoguro fish nigiri sushi in Kanzawa Hokuriku area
This tiny fish, perhaps grows up to 30cm (1 foot) in length gives full buttery explosion of flavor in the mouth. This is a relatively rare sushi topping ingredient popular in the Hokuriku (Kanazawa) area in Japan. I had the opportunity to taste the buttery fish at a resolving sushi restaurant at Omicho Morning market in Kanazawa. The order of nigiri sushi cost about 700 yen. The price was higher than blue fin toro sushi and Wagyu nigiri sushi at the same restaurant.
Nodoguro Nigiri Sushi Kanzawa Omicho Fish Market. Tokyo Consult. TokyoConsult.
Nodoguro Nigiri Sushi in Kanzawa Omicho Fish Market
There were street food stands making grilled Nodoguro fish. I wonder how the grilled version tastes like when compared to the raw sushi nigiri style.
Nodoguro grilled fish Kanazawa Omicho Fishi Market Kanazawa. Tokyo Consult. TokyoConsult.
Nodoguro grilled fish at Kanazawa Omicho Fishi Market in Kanazawa






Hokkaido Yubari Muskmelon/Cantoloup 夕張メロン
Hokkaido Hakodate Melon. Tokyo Consult. TokyoConsult.
Hokkaido Hakodate Melon
I am sure many travelers have heard of how expensive fruits are in Japan, especially prices for their cantaloupe or melon. I finally got a chance to taste the infamous expensive musk melon in Hokkaido Hakodate morning market in 2016. I bought the most expensive type of melon at the food stand. The higher price melon came with a spoon for the ease of eating. I must say it was very juicy and had a more refreshing and aromatic flavor than similar fruits I had in the US. The slice of melon cost about 350 yen.
Hokkaido Melon Hakodate. Tokyo Consult. TokyoConsult.
Slices of Hokkaido Melon in Hakodate
Through out my trip in October 2016, I paid much more attention to melons sold at traditional open markets and super markets. I noticed melons are not as expensive as the ones sold at department stores in Tokyo. The reasonable prices made me want to bring them back to the hotel room for the melon feast.
Japanese Muskmelon Cantaloupe Melon. Tokyo Consult. TokyoConsult.
Expensive Japanese Muskmelon Cantaloupe Melon





Shine Muscat Grape シャインマスカット ぶどう
Japanese Muscat Grape street vendor Kurashiki Okayama. Tokyo Consult. TokyoConsult.
Japanese Muscat Grape street vendor in Kurashiki near Okayama
This is a pleasant surprise/discovery in 2016. While I was visiting Kurashiki area near Okayama, I came across some big green grapes sold by a street vendor. I have previously seen similar grapes sold at different fruit shops near Okayama station, but I was not interested in paying outrageous price for the entire bunch of grapes sold at expensive shops. I bought a few grapes in a box for 500 yen. They turned out to be some of the most refreshingly juicy grapes that had an refreshing apple flavor to it. 
Japanese Muscat Grape Kurashiki Okayama. Tokyo Consult. TokyoConsult.
Expensive Japanese Muscat Grape in Kurashiki near Okayama
I later bought a bunch of Shine Muscat grapes from Don Quijote superstore, the refreshing apple flavor was not as apparent as the very first time when I had it in Kurashiki area.
Japanese Shine Muscat Grape Don Quijote superstore. Tokyo Consult. TokyoConsult.
Japanese Shine Muscat Grape from Don Quijote superstore






"Fresh" Squid 活イカ
Squid fishing Hokkaido Hakodate morning market. Tokyo Consult. TokyoConsult.
Squid fishing at Hokkaido Hakodate morning market
Freshness is when squid is served a few minutes after being taken out of their tanks. When I was traveling in Hokkaido Hakodate in October 2016, I stopped by the Hakodate morning market known for the  world's first squid fishing game. After paying  them about 1200 yen, I was given a fishing rod attached to a special squid hook. Dropping the hook inside of a tank filled with live squid, I soon hooked a swimming squid and the staff took it to the kitchen table for cutting.
Cutting fresh squid Sashimi Hokkaido Hakodate morning market. Tokyo Consult. TokyoConsult.
Cutting up fresh squid Sashimi at Hokkaido Hakodate morning market
Natural sweetness and Umami were something other level of squid freshness can not compare. The semi-transparent color of the squid sashimi is the proof for its freshness. 
Fresh squid Sashimi Hokkaido Hakodate fish market. Tokyo Consult. TokyoConsult.
Fresh squid Sashimi at Hokkaido Hakodate fish market
A few drops of  soy sauce will stimulates the fresh squid and make it dance in front of you.





Niigata Koshihikari Rice 新潟産コシヒカリ
Niigata Koshihikari rice bowl. Tokyo Consult. TokyoConsult.
Niigata Koshihikari rice bowl
Koshihikari is a brand-name/strain of rice, similar to the name given to Kobe Beef or Matsusaka Beef. The rice is known to be slightly sticky but the texture remains chewy inside of each grain of cooked rice. Many of the restaurants near Niigata stations serve the famous Koshihirakari rice Niigata prefecture is famous for.
Niigata Koshihikari rice bowl Matsuriya Tonkatsu restaurant. Tokyo Consult. TokyoConsult.
Niigata Koshihikari rice bowl Matsuriya Tonkatsu restaurant






Chicken Wing at Sekai no Yamachan Honten original restaurant in Nagoya 世界のやまちゃん 本店
Nagoya Sekai no Yamachan chicken wing restaurant. Tokyo Consult. TokyoConsult.
Nagoya Sekai no Yamachan chicken wing restaurant
Perfectly seasoned chicken wing served at the famous restaurant Sekai no Yamachan has been a stable for locals in Nagoya. The restaurant is a well known franchise throughout Japan. Their chicken wing is lightly battered and seasoned with salty tangy sauce and perfect blend of spices. The taste is light yet very flavorful, 
Original flavor chicken wing Nagoya Sekai no Yamachan restaurant. Tokyo Consult. TokyoConsult.
Original flavor chicken wing at Nagoya Sekai no Yamachan restaurant
The restaurant also serves many other style of chicken wings that were seasoned in different sauces and spices.
Black sauce flavor chicken wing Nagoya Sekai no Yamachan restaurant. Tokyo Consult. TokyoConsult.
Black sauce flavor chicken wing at Nagoya Sekai no Yamachan restaurant





INFORMATION (Tripadvisor page or homepage)
*Cafe Gram Kanazawa
920-0961 Ishikawa Prefecture, Kanazawa, Korinbo, 2−1−1
*カフェ&パンケーキ gram 金沢香林坊東急スクエア店
〒920-0961石川県金沢市香林坊2-1-1
TEL: 076-254-5522

*Cafe Gram Harajuku Tokyo
1-9-30 Jingumae | FREG Harajuku 1F, Shibuya 150-0001, Tokyo
*Cafe Gram 原宿
〒150-0001神宮前1-9-30 FREG 原宿1F
TEL: +81 3-6804-3399





*Omicho Fish Market Kanazawa
Kamiomicho, Kanazawa 920-0905, Ishikawa Prefecture
*近江町市場
〒920-0905上近江町
TEL: +81 76-231-1462





*Hokkaido Hakodate Morning Market for Musk Melon and Squid Fishing
JR Hakodate Station, Hakodate, Hokkaido
*函館朝市
JR函館駅 西口
TEL: +81 120-858-313





*Koshihikari Rice at Katsuya Tonkatsu Matsuriya Pork cutlet restaurant near Niigata station
1 Chome-1-1 Minamisasaguchi, Chuo Ward, Niigata, Niigata Prefecture 950-0912, Japan
*政家 新潟駅南店〒新潟県新潟市中央区南笹口1-1-1ひもろぎビル2F(ドンキホーテ2F)TEL: +81 25-243-6125





*Kurashiki Bikan District near Okayama
倉敷市



Sekai no Yamachan restaurant franchise 世界の山ちゃん 幻の手羽先
*Original restaurant in Nagoya
4-9-6 Sakae, Naka-ku, Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture
*世界の山ちゃん 本店
名古屋市中区栄4-9-6
TEL: +81 52-242-1342 

*Sekai no Yamachan Seibu Shinjuku, Tokyo
2-45-2 Kabukicho | Tokiwa Bldg. 2 to 4F, Shinjuku, Tokyo Prefecture
*世界の山ちゃん 西武新宿店
歌舞伎町2-45-2トキワビル2・3・4F
TEL: +81 3-3232-1035


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