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Sunday, March 31, 2013

SAKURADAI: Kouka Chinese Restaurant for a cozy late night dinner

I always had a curiosity about this little neighborhood Chinese restaurant because it consistently had a steady flow of customers... only 2 shops down there is another Chinese spot thats usually empty.

Decided to try this weeks "Service Teishoku" that consisted of 5 different dishes for 800yen. 

Counter seating facing the Chef.


Comfy counter seats.

Japan's baseball season has begun... game playing in the top monitor.

Help your self water.



The chef was a bit hunched over and I had a feeling that part of the attraction here was in support of this guy.  There was a warmness to this shop... 

And so little did I know how far 800yen can take you in a tiny neighborhood Chinese restaurant that is Kouka... my 3 sides first came...

Followed by the main dish... Chinese cabbage with Chicken in a tasty creamy spicy sauce.

Order wasn't complete yet...

And another dish arrived... 

This was honestly waaaay to much for me at midnight... phew.  But overall it was a great late night dinner.  Just felt like home cooking.  I'll definitely be back to try out another weekly special.

Just 3 shops down from Ramen Jiro

Shop: Kouka Chinese Restaurant
Nerima-ku Website: http://s-nerima.jp/wp/3446
Address J: 東京都練馬区桜台1-5-1
Address E: Tokyo, Nerima-ku, Sakuradai 1-5-1
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Thursday, March 28, 2013

SAKURADAI: Ramen Hagan "shiru-nashi" (no-soup-ramen)... What a wonderfully new experience!

I've passed by this shop many times on my way to Ramen Jiro but never thought about entering... the thought of having Shiru-Nashi ramen just didn't appeal to me.  I love ramen soup!  But anther thing was that you could also add Soup-Wari (water used to boil the ramen) to the bowl whenever you wanted... but I just wasn't too sure how to go about this.

But not craving the massive 1600 calories and even less desire to battle the long line of Jiro I decided to give Hagan Ramen a try.  Of course always always go for the top left hand corner button... without fail it is the shops most recommended selection.  650yen for 200 grams of ramen but next to that you can also go for 300grams for the same price!  

Red spice for alittle kick.

Lots of different instructions.  Nice to see everything written out so clear and detailed... perfect for the 1st timer.

And there it was... 

The pork was grilled to perfection... crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.  It was like they gave me free Yakiton with my Ramen.  Sooo good!

The noodles were covered seasoning much like Yakisoba... thick and chewy.  It was honestly just good.

On the bottom of the bowl there was some very very flavorful soup but as all the foodies recommend at some point you have to add the Soup-Wari (on the counter in large silver pitchers) to mellow out the flavor and start to enjoy the bowl like traditional ramen.  


This place always has a nice steady line and the flavor was just great.  Ranks neck and neck according to the foodie rankings with Ramen Jiro in Sakuradai so you really can't go wrong.  Give it a try for sure!!


Returned on 3.30.2013 with a friend and managed to get a little video of the Chef in action.

Shop: Ramen Hagan
Address J: 東京都練馬区桜台1-5-11
Address E: Tokyo, Nerima-ku, Sakuradai 1-5-11
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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

MEJIRO: Ban Thai for my ver first Gaeng Massaman Nuea

Had to pass thru Mejiro on my way to Ikebukuro and wanted to check out the town for the very first time.  For years I've only rolled thru this town on the JR Yamanote line without much thought of checking it out.

I was happily confused with the menu.  There were more unique lunch selections than most other Thai spots in Tokyo... but settled for the "E-set" Gaeng Massaman Nuea 850yen.


Looks like Famous Enka singer Jero was here.


Interesting waitress that was immersed into her iPad... wasn't sure if the person was a guy or girl with no smiles and an dirty brown colored mo-hawk. 

I got Pineapples!  Thats a first :)

The Video!

Rice with a spinkle of fried onions.

A light soup with daikon and carrots... just something to clear the throat.  Perhaps Consomme soup.

And this was the my selection, after reading the description how could I resist! "South Thailand of slowly braised beef, potatoes in rich coconut curry sauce topped with fried slices of red onion and cashew nuts."  Thinking back there were no red onions or cashew nuts!  Anyways it was a nice rich thick flavor and the carrots/potatoes were stewy soft.  

One piece of beef that was rather tough and a little piece of chicken.


Wasn't too into the mayo salad... 


Overall not too bad.  The interior was clean, a huge TV helped pass by the time and it was nice to try something totally new.  I asked the waitress what was recommended and she said the regional thai food they specialize in is spicy stuff... she suggested trying the Thai Curry next time.  She was very courteous and smiley as I left.

Shop: Ban Thai
Address J: 東京都豊島区目白3-5-8 佐久間ビル1階
Address E: Tokyo, Toshima-ku, Mejiro 3-5-8
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Monday, March 25, 2013

IKEBUKURO: Yakiniku Gyu-En for some god awful Sundubu Chige

I'm a huuuge fan of great Korean Chige's and my stroll thru the side streets of Ikebukuro led me to this menu on the road... 650yen for Sundubu Tofu Chige.  How could I go wrong!


Ashtray... not good.

It was simply dead empty at 12:45pm on a weekday... highly unusual as most other restaruants were busy with the weekday lunch rush. Plus Rikkyo University (Saint Paul's University) was right around the corner... bad bad sign.

And my much anticipated Korean lunch arrives!


Kimchee was definitely grocery store bought... the seasoned bean sprouts just tasted all wrong, like it was just old. 

Now for the Tofu Chige.  Boiled water with red oil... it just tasted like red water.  Honestly... this is the WORST Sundubu I have had in my life.  Very little tofu, the clams still had sand in them and whats up with all the little skinny mushrooms?  

The egg that is normally cracked fresh into the Sundubu had already been boiled solid.  


The sandy clams... I have to admit they were generous with this.  Possibly 4-5 pices.


After 15 minutes I just felt sick... Did my best to finish the Kimchee but forget about the rest.  I simply got up and left. 

The attraction to this restaurant might be the all you can eat 980yen Yakiniku and nothing else.  But I did see them bring out the meat to another customer... meat was all frozen who knows where they source it from.

I am usually one to NEVER randomly walk into a restaurant without checking the foodie rankings but how could I have gotten Tofu Chige so wrong.  Wish Gordon Ramsey could visit this spot... its just sh*t.

Shop: Yakiniku Gyu-En
Address J: 東京都豊島区西池袋3-29-2 三原ビル 4F
Address E: Tokyo, Toshima-ku, Nishi Ikebukuro 3-29-2, 4F
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