If you're visiting Tokyo for business or pleasure, there's a good chance you'll be staying in the Shinjuku area. Arrive at night, and you'll feel like an alien (or perhaps a replicant?) amidst all the neon in the Blade Runner-like atmosphere. And while amazing Japanese food surrounds you, that alien feeling may challenge you in navigating the streets (addresses are difficult in Japan), not to mention the menus, and perhaps even the basic how-tos of ordering and etiquette. Read on for a list of essential Japanese dishes to eat in Tokyo and our favorite spots to enjoy them, all right in the Shinjuku area.
The deep red hue of fiery broths and the pungent smell of stinky tofu make this hot pot chain a compelling place to eat. Here's a look at perhaps the two most popular of their ten available hot pots.
Karaoke is part of the draw at Stars in the Sky, but the Korean Fried Chicken is the star of the food menu that includes everything from pizza corn cheese to boiled silkworms.
This moist bacon brownie is complemented by a honey bourbon ice cream. It's a decadent dessert I was happy to hog for myself.
Think about dim sum done with Filipino food, and you've figured out the Flip Sum concept. It's an interesting, economical, and delicious way to enjoy a meal that's full of fascinating dishes.
Cutting Board is an excellent option if you're craving yoshoku, or Western-influenced Japanese dishes, like this deep-fried pork cutlet served with curry rice.
Casual lunch from Meherwan Irani, James Beard semifinalist for "Best Chef: Southeast," brings lots of surprises, with food that offers a flurry of bold flavors and textures.
From the huge housemade doughnuts to mincemeat pie, there are a variety of intriguing sweets at Miller's Guild. But if you can only get one, make it the Whiskey Date Cake.
A sandwich might be a sandwich, but a Dudewich is more than the sum of its part. Here's what makes this sloppy joe so special.
Matcha, azuki, black sesame, ginger, and satsuma imo (sweet potato) are among the Japanese ingredients you'll find in use at Fresh Flours bakery in Seattle. Enjoy them in such treats at the Green Tea & Azuki Red Bean Pound Cake.
This homey Seattle restaurant serves Japanese classics like ramen and sushi, but if you're adventurous, items like ika wata ni are sure to delight.
If you didn't know to ask, chances are you'd never see the breakfast menu at Kung-Ho, in Bellevue, WA. It's a menu worth requesting, though given the reasonably low prices, more intrepid diners can always just randomly select a number of items and have a good chance of enjoying most everything. But let me steer you to a few of my personal favorites (and where to point should you decide to give them a try).
The Bread & Chocolate Loaf at Berkshire Mountain Bakery in Housatonic, MA, Might be the Best Bite I'll Eat All Year
All of the ciabatta breads at Berkshire Mountain Bakery are fantastic in their own right, but for a chocolate lover like me, the Bread & Chocolate loaf is irresistible. It's addictive, filling, and a deliciously messy treat to eat.
This classic mom-and-pop restaurant has a simple one-page menu that's heavy on the Hangul, but ask for help and you'll discover satisfying dishes like pollock soup and bibimbap available as early as 8 a.m.
With a self-service cooler area where you can design your own hot pot and a window showcasing the chef's noodle-making skills, Uway Malatang is a desirable destination in a largely abandoned mini-mall.
4649 Restaurant and Ramen Man are steps apart from each other, but each one brings its own distinct style to the bourgeoning Wallingford Japantown.
Formerly known as Bo Laksa King's Bubbles and Bits, this hole-in-the-wall restaurant serves an array of pan-Asian dishes, including Burmese salads and the namesake noodle soup.
Sometimes all I want is simple fried rice. Cold, (preferably) day-old rice hitting a hot wok results in grains that are soft and fluffy, not to mention a great vehicle for other flavors. Fortunately for me, Seattle's International District has a host of Chinese restaurants that fire up fried rice. Two of the most-touted are virtually back-to-back, so I decided to visit both to compare their offerings.
A new restaurant in the shadows of the Space Needle turns out surprisingly impressive Japanese shabu-shabu.
A protégé of award-winning chefs strikes out on his own with Asian-inspired octopus soup, kabocha buns, a personal spin on ramen, and more.
Pike Place Market is a working market for locals as well as a central attraction for tourists and business travelers alike. There are plenty of places to satisfy your sweet tooth, but here's where we recommend you start.
Affectionately called "the Hearth," Miller's Guild's custom-made Infierno puts out a lot of heat, producing delicious portions of beef, rack of lamb, pork loin, prawns, smoked quail, and more.
Chef Brendan McGill always maps out an adventurous meal, and that includes dessert. He offered up both Sweet Potato and Yam Terrine and a Sticky Toffee Pudding with a twist.
Parfait serves up some of the best ice cream in Seattle. We checked out their brick and mortar location and also gave the patisserie items a try.
"Biang" is the sound produced when a chef pulls dough and thwacks it against a table to make fresh noodles, making the hand-ripped Biang Biang noodles a star at Biang! restaurant (exclamation point theirs) just north of Seattle.
It's 5,000 miles from Seattle to Paris as the crow flies. Despite the distance, the Emerald City is shining proudly in the area of pastries—good news for those who can't quite cross the Atlantic for the real thing.
The words "molten chocolate cake" alone are enough to make most people melt in delight, and this is exactly the effect of visiting chocolatier Autumn Martin's new Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle.
Tokyo is loaded with yakitori restaurants, most notably in Yakitori Alley near Shinjuku Station where the smoke-filled, sake and beer-stained holes-in-the-wall rumble with each passing train. Make your way to upscale Roppongi Hills, though, and you'll find an altogether different yakitori experience.
With weekday Facebook postings announcing sell-outs in mere hours, weekend carbo-warriors have been getting to chef Neil Robertson's new Seattle patisserie well before opening. We joined the mob to see what's baking.
The Nagi Golden Gai experience is fascinating, from the walk up and down the stairs, to the wait for a call through a tube, to the two types of noodles and the unique broth made with niboshi--dried baby sardines. With just ten counter seats in cramped quarters, you'll be rubbing elbows with your neighbors.
Last year, Tokyo Ramen Street opened in the First Avenue Tokyo Station retail center, which includes about 100 stores and restaurants. Here you'll find eight of Tokyo's finest ramen shops, drawing long lines of adoring Japanese fans, mostly salarymen. For non-Japanese newcomers, there's a mix of mystery and confusion.
The 39 Japanese chefs who came to the Culinary Institute of America's Napa Valley campus joined other culinary experts to sell their love of Japanese food. Panelists included Ruth Reichl, Harold McGee, David Chang, Iron Chef Morimoto, and many Japanese culinary legends. Food is clearly serious business in Japan, particularly seafood. We learned that while Japan is smaller than California, due to its coastal jaggedness, it has fifty percent more coastline the entire United States.