[Samcheongdong] Bukmakgol HUGE RIBS!

April 24th, 2016

so there’s this place in Seoul where you can devour beef ribs like as if you’re a cartoon character.

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and it’s this place called Bukmakgol located at the end of Samcheongdong.

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and the best part? you get to dine in an old fashioned looking hanok!

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the banchan! as in side dishes. they serve AMAZING side dishes. like, that marinated mini octopus!!! we loved that so much I think we asked for refill like 3 times. D=.

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AND THE MAIN DISH!!! the great and majestic BEEF RIBS!!! called Wang (king) Galbi Jjim don’t you just want to eat it right nowwwwwwwww? that sauce though. it went really well with that tender beef. this would be like the literal love at first bite kind of dish. MMMMM. and the damage to this is 39,000won (63,000won for the bigger one!). although it’s pretty pricey but I ASSURE YOU that it’s worth every won. you’ll literally finish all those vegetables even if you do not eat vegetables because of that amazing sauce hahaha.

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and their famous bossam. I like it because it was different. the quality of the pork was definitely great and the sourish onions went very well with it making it feel like some sort of light appetizer. BUT, I kind of prefer the normal kimchi and pork bossam as it is heavier =X. this costs 28,000won. the bigger one will cost you 38,000won.

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also for sides, we ordered makguksu! (10,000won) this was pretty good too! very homey feeling and they weren’t stingy on ingredients ^_^. the meal here was for 5 of us!

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strongly recommend this place! so if you’re visiting Samcheongdong, be sure to stop by here for their phenomenal beef ribs! =3.

[Tokyo] AFURI Ramen

April 1st, 2016

recently I got the nickname “ramen girl” from my Japanese friend because he stated that Ramen isn’t normally loved by women. but if you look through my instagram a month before I leave Japan, you could probably see my love for ramen, which made me the “ramen girl.”

while the best ramen I’ve ever had was still the one from Osaka, from a chain called.. I forgot (update: it’s called 藤平) but it was near Fukushima station, Tokyo has the widest range of ramen in my opinion. it is like, you can find anything in Tokyo. and I love Tokyo for that reason. if you are living in Tokyo and loveee ramen, then Afuri shouldn’t be a name that is unfamiliar to you as it is literally ONE OF THE BEST ramen available in Tokyo.

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you should know how no ramen in Japan would taste the same, Afuri takes a huger leap away from the weird. they are known for their Yuzu ramen, or in other words, Citrus ramen. how would the citrus’ tangy taste taste like with salty ramen? well, that’s why I went to find out!

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you might be really pleased to know that Afuri (located in Ebisu and also in Harajuku! and a few other places I think) opens throughout the week and it serves awesome ramen from 10:30am to 3:00am. yeap, 3 in the morning!

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there are two choices of broth and I chose the recommended Tanrei!

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unlike many other ramen bars, there are actually women working here! you normally see manly looking guys serving you the hot bowl of goodness but it was really different here.

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and the famous Yuzu Ramen! it was really good. I was actually very skeptical about it because I ate Yuzu ramen at another popular place at Kabuki-cho which copied Afuri and boy was that a disappointment. this one though was really good! it is quite funky since it’s sour, bitter and salty at the same time. but the noodles were cooked to perfection and the yuzu freshens up my whole meal!

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and this is the Yuzu dipping sauce Tsukemen! I actually preferred this as it was more refreshing. love how Tsukemen noodles are so chewy and the way they serve their dipping sauce cold complements the Yuzu very well in my opinion. it’s more sour and the way the pork was cooked until tender and diced up like that made the whole slurping experience even better.

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the dipping sauce!!! very citrusy but yet less bitter than the Yuzu ramen.

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look at those yummy pork!!! I actually preferred the Tsukemen over their store specialty. so I urge you to try the tsukemen instead!

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went with Ryuta Saru-chan again! (saru means monkey. he looked very funky in this picture so I hid him before he comes complaining to me heheh) long live our ramen adventures!!!

[Ginza] Midori Sushi. is it worth it?

March 17th, 2016

I’d like to label people who come to Midori Sushi as.. smart. because for 3,000yen, you can get as follows:

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12 pieces of sushi, egg + one handroll and a miso crab salad!

although the queue would be quite a misery (normally 2 hours. I only queued for 80 minutes ahahhaha ONLY.) you can actually take a number and come back an hour later and wait for only about 20-40 minutes! depending on which branch you go to really. I went to the Ginza branch and I heard the Shibuya branch has the longest queue whereas the one in Kichijoji has almost no queue!

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with uni, chutoro and otoro on the list, I think it’s pretty worth it already. there’s also a 2,000yen set with lesser pieces of sushi.

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I ordered the 2,500yen set where I get my own bowl of fish liver MMmmm I absolutely adore it as it tastes something like foie gras except with a tinge of fishiness!

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the 2,800yen set also comes with a mini bowl of miso crab salad which was amazing! super yummy. highly recommended!

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although most of the sushi on their sushi platter ain’t like top quality, they were all descent! I mean, for 2,500yen, I’d say it’s a steal. it’s a satisfying meal. especially for those who’s visiting Japan for the first time (and had never had super high end sushi abroad), Sushi Midori will probably the best sushi you’ve ever had in your life!

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especially their chutoro. not their otoro. their chutoro literally melted in my mouth D=. I mean, I think the chutoro here’s better than the otoro in Sushi Dai. it’s that good!

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so, itadakimasu!

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the walls has everything illustrated to help you in ordering and seems like there were a lot of locals in Midori sushi too despite this restaurant being all over the foreign media. most locals prefer to order only one set of sushi to share and have a lot of individual dishes like sashimi, grilled fish or salad.

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at the end of the meal, a yummy bowl of yoghurt ice cream was served ^^.

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also, all the sets comes with chawan mushi. and boy was it smooth! probably the best chawan mushi I’ve ever had. since the restaurant caters a lot of foreigners, they have all kinds of American sushi like the dragon roll, caterpillar roll, California roll etc where I’ve NEVER seen in Japan while having lived there for around 10 months in total. except for Midori sushi of course. hahaha. they do not usually serve chawan mushi alongside with sushi sets but they do overseas like they do here!

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the two individual menu’s which I think are the best to order if you feel like the sushi ain’t enough! =3.

verdict: if you are on a budget and want to have some good sushi, go to Midori sushi as their deals are as good as it can get! but if you are into something better and is willing to spend a bit more, I recommend you Hideyuunigouten! I also went to both Sushi Dai and Daiwa! read it here!

[Sinsa] Jangsarang

March 16th, 2016

to balance things out between my Korean and Japanese posts, here’s a 5 month old outdated post on one of the best Jeongsik (Korean course meal) restaurants in Seoul, Jangsarang.

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salad and acorn jelly appetizer for starters! (and a lot of side dishes!) that kimchi acorn jelly appetizer was the bomb. I finished it all. hahahaha. salad’s just salad.

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this place was made famous by their many dishes but this was my absolutely favourite, the Baasak Bulgogi! which literally translates to crunchy bulgogi. served with crunchy seaweed with a generous dash of sugar and mushrooms, this bulgogi is like no other. while bulgogi’s supposed to be served on a curved pan, the bulgogi here is served like a pancake. but it was oh-so-delicious. it was a little sweet but the taste of the marinate was amazing and together with the crunchy seaweed and mushrooms? simply the best.

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there’s also the half kimchi half chives pancake which was to me authentic and light compared to the other heavy pancakes which was like a meal to me. the dish behind was perilla seed sujebi. it was quite special and the sujebi (some type of fat and flat noodle) was cooked to perfection ^_^!

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always grateful to JiHoon oppa for bringing me to such authentic places. it seems like I’ve only been to yummy places every time I meet him and also get a whole lot of life and career advises. how can I thank him enough xD.

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stir fried spicy octopus!

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this is literally called the healthy stone bowl rice. hahahaha. it really felt very healthy but at this point I can barely fit anything inside my stomach. there was also a bean paste stew served as a side!

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my favourite korean snack, seaweed with soy sauce! mmm. try grilling some seaweed at home and dipping it in soy sauce, it’s really really good!

I thought I had pictures of everything but it seemed like I missed out the grilled fish which I quickly devoured hahaha. this jeongsik was literally good enough for 3-4 people in my opinion and I had to carry my belly with both my hands home because I was that much filled. D=.

if you’re looking for an authentic Korean restaurant to dine at, I’d say go to Jangsarang! but remember to book because I heard this place’s always filled!

주소: 서울특별시 강남구 신사동 624-47
Address: 624-47 Sinsa-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul-si
Phone no: 02-546-9994

[Ebisu] Itasobakaoriya 板蕎麦 香り家

March 12th, 2016

so this place which I’ve stumbled across in Ebisu while looking for a soba place, is the BEST soba place I’ve ever came across in Japan so far. I was actually around the area looking for the Ebisu illumination but decided to settle for soba instead since it’s a tradition in Japan to eat soba the night before new years (the Japanese NY is on 1.1) and it is said that you should not bite your soba as you eat and gobble it down as a whole until it is all in your mouth and then chew. all that just to live a longer life. well, no harm believing in it right? except I forgot and accidentally bit it off my first bite =X. but I followed the “rules” after that.

soba’s always been my favourite Japanese dish since I was young. although now it’s sushi, I still love soba. but to my surprise, soba in Japan does not taste quite like the soba’s I’ve had in Malaysia and Korea where it was always a little more jelly-like. instead, these buckwheat noodles called soba, are not as smooth and has a stronger buckwheat taste to it in Japan. I wasn’t very used to it the first few times but I came to enjoy it more than the ones I’ve had which I now label, the unoriginal soba.

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I actually read about this place and it has a soaring high 3.52 in tabelog and there were comments on how people waited for this and thought it was totally worth the wait. except because I had it first on NYE I had to queue for 2 hours in the painfully cold weather. and still thought it was very worth it! they even provided us hot tea, beer (yes, BEER!) and hot packs while we were waiting in line outside!

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soba prices here ranges from 800~over 1000yen but I can assure you, they are all very yummy!

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the shop only has around 5 tables to make sure to be there early (opens at 5pm) before the peak hours to get a seat! the picture above was taken right at 5pm hahaha but it wasn’t filled up till 5:40pm too!

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I have no idea what this was but it was really savory and crunchy! it’s served as a side.

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like how you can eat your chopstick holder at the end since it’s a real peanut =P.

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and at Ebisu, we shall have Yebisu.

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the tamagoyaki here though.. was superb. very fuwa fuwa~ which means fluffy in Japanese! it wasn’t too sweet nor was it too compact or loosely made. it was just purrrrrfect.

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and together with a little soy sauce.. mmmm. I literally came back here partially for this tamagoyaki. it costs 650yen. pretty pricey but definitely worth it for something so divine~ it went very well with the daikon and scallions and I normally do not really favour daikon so.. proves how nice this place was!

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I ordered the tasting set soba with a sesame and normal soy sauce dip. it was a little below 1,000yen from my memory. they have many ways of serving soba either hot or cold. the other famous one was the hot soba with duck meat. T_T.. next time…..

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my Swedish friend ordered the tenzarusoba set. he seemed very contented with his meal.

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there was actually two different thickness to the noodles. I ordered the thinner noodles for this set! I only added scallions and wasabi to the soy sauce dip but you should actually add that for the sesame too!

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the restaurant had a really nice atmosphere which I really liked. there’s also like a broth where the soba was cooked in served at the end of the meal for you to add in with your soy dipping sauce so you can drink it and not waste it =D.

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this was from the second time I was there. I loved the sesame dipping sauce so much I just went straight for it! this style of dipping sauce was really unique and my Japanese friend had never heard of such a dipping sauce either. according to him, the soba here’s really legit and yummy! I ordered the thick noodles for this time but I think you get more sauce with the thinner noodles but the thicker noodles are definitely more chewy! a little like udon.

oh! this is weird but the tea here’s really good too. it wasn’t like the normal tea served at restaurants. this tea made me feel really healthy. but I had no idea what kind of tea it was =S. guessing it has something to do with buckwheat! although it definitely did not taste like the Korean buckwheat tea..

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oh hello Ryuta! the RA boss of my dorm in Tokyo aka my savior whenever I was in trouble! it’s his birthday the end of this month so, TANJYOUBI OMEDETOO SARUCHAN!!!

Itasobakaoriya 板蕎麦 香り家
lunch: 11am-4pm (L.O. 3:30)
dinner: 5pm-12pm (L.O. 11:15)
open everyday!
for more information on tabelog

[Roppongi] Matsurokuya Wagyu Lunch

March 10th, 2016

so what is living in Japan without having tried wagyu? well.. I had (the cheaper) Kobe beef before and I still think (medium priced home-cooked) Hanwoo beef from Korea tastes better =X. but the thing is, after going to Hidenori at Tsukiji and had their 2000yen a piece of raw wagyu beef sushi, I am now hooked onto wagyu. can’t say I prefer it over Hanwoo but I am definitely digging the raw wagyu beef in Japan. but I am a poor student and very unfortunately cannot afford to eat such luxurious food often. so what do I do?

I look for affordable places!

but with a catch, because Matsurokuya only serves 30 portions of this A5 Kurogewagyu everyday. I arrived 40minutes before (10:50) the shop opened at 11:30am and I was already 10th in line. but however, people who arrived just 10minutes before it opened were at like number 20-25. but just to be safe, arrive earlier. as this place is near some university, there may be many Japanese university students lining up for this in the morning.

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but well, fortunately in Japan, cheap does not always mean bad. I searched online before university even started and found this place far out in Roppongi where you can devour a bowl of rice topped with lightly seared A5 Kurogewagyu beef for only 1,500yen! and the best of all? it is served in Hitsumabushi style (will blog about this famous Nagoya eel dish sometime later!) which means you get to enjoy one dish in three ways!

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Matsurokuya is actually a pretty high end restaurant (you NEED to check out their super high end toilet lol) and if you’re lucky you may even be seated on tatami and have a super Japanesey lunch which would easily cost you.. well, a lot.

but I am contented with my western style seating which is much more comfortable for my foreigner legs =D.

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they provide descriptions on how you are supposed to eat this the Hitsumabushi way (3 ways) in both Japanese and English so no worries on not knowing how to eat it!

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there’s an oyakodon menu too in case you arrived late. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be yummy but not as worth it ahhaha.

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for me, of course I went with the beef bowl!

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and my wagyu set!

three ways:
1. eat it as it is.
2. eat it with wasabi and the other “spices”. there are 5 different spices. (they forgot to give me wasabi hence it wasn’t in the picture. they served it to me later lol.)
3. they’d give you rice and a pot of soup in the middle of your meal and you can add more rice, all the spices and lastly, the soup and have it Ochazuke style!

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I was meant to come here with my Swedish friend who said the portion looked small in pictures and there looked like there was very little beef but I would like to say that.. I was super stuffed and there was an extra layer of beef in the middle! although it doesn’t look like it.

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one of the side dishes which I really liked! it looks like egg but it’s actually a bundle of tofu! mmm. sweet and savory.

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the layer of beef in the middle! there wasn’t as much of course but there was a good 4 pieces which was slightly more cooked by the hot rice sandwiching it.

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and eating it Ochazuke style! if you do not know what Ochazuke is, it is actually a simple dish of rice with some savory toppings drenched in tea or soup. Ocha means tea, zuke means submerge. makes total sense. haha. my favourite ochazuke’s actually with salmon+avocado or with mentaiko. you can also make it at home by buying the instant ochazuke packs at home and adding your own toppings ^^. those packs includes those confetti-like crunch balls, seaweed, seasoning and tea so all you need to do is add water!

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after my very satisfying meal, they served us cocoa youkan (red bean cake) which was amazing. I personally really loved it but my Irish friend wasn’t a fan and gave me his portion in the end haha.

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Mmmmm. who knew cocoa and red bean would be such a great combination.

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the shop wasn’t very spacious but it was definitely very classy.

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and here’s a picture of their name card!

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the exterior of the restaurant. very traditional.

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all that zen. I like.

verdict: it wasn’t the best wagyu I’ve had (spoilt by that super expensive wagyu sushi at Tsukiji just a week before this lol) but it was definitely very satisfying and heck, where else can you get such awesome wagyu beef for 1,500yen?!

directions: upon exiting Roppongi Station exit 6, turn into the left alley and you’ll see a line of people.

website: http://www.tokyo-rf.com/restaurants/r04/index.html