We are back in Japan!
This trip happened because the promotion for 15% off Krisflyer miles for online redemption was ending (boo SQ!), and we wanted to use up our miles (and the discount) 😛
When we started our planning, we had great ambition to cover lots of places, so we decided to fly in to Osaka and fly out from Fukuoka. And to travel leisurely in between so as to cover the whole stretch of Wakayama, Shikoku, Kyushu and not have to backtrack in order to fly back. But as the planning went, we thought we were too ambitious and reduced our ambitions to just Kyushu. 😛
We were scheduled to fly in and reach Osaka like 9:35pm, so we had planned to quickly go through immigration and dashed to take the train to hotel. We planned to stay two nights in Osaka, and only spent 1 Saturday to explore Osaka since we had been here before.
Therefore, we went to the areas within walking distance of one another, where good food and shopping were concentrated at (as well as the crowds!).
After our palace visit, we decided to pop by 동대문 Dongdaemun 東大門 for an early dinner, and to explore the area.
We took the subway to 동대문역 Dongdaemun Station 東大門站 (Subway Line 1 or 4 Station No. 128 or 421) and saw the famous 흥인지문 Heunginjimun Gate 興仁之門, before having a simple 치즈 라면 (Chijeu Ramyeon) Cheese Ramen 奶酪方便麵 (₩3,500) and 고기만두 (Gogi Mandu) Meat Dumplings 肉馅饺子 (₩3,000), at a local eatery, which appeared to call itself as 興仁之門 (since it was located just in front of the gate). The food was simple but satisfying.
While we have yet to try out the 유가네닭갈비 Yoogane Dak-Galbi 柳氏家鐵板雞專門店 in Singapore, it is certainly not to be missed when in Busan, since this is where this popular Chicken Galbi brand first started out.
We got ourselves a medium 치즈퐁~닭 Fresh Cheese Chicken Galbi 新鮮的芝士雞排 (₩19,500) and a side order of 라면사라 Ramyeon 拉麵 (₩1,500).
Though the medium Chicken Galbi was meant for 2 to 3 pax, and the large Chicken Galbi (₩28,500) was meant for 3 to 4 pax, 4 of us could barely finish the medium portion, probably because we had eaten so much at Jinhae 😛
It was really thoughtful of them to give us aprons, so that we did not have to worry about getting our clothes dirty. We were almost about to attack our food after the staff brought the ingredients over and left our table, but the lady at the next table quickly stopped us, and gestured that the staff would help us with the cooking. How nice of her! Shortly after, the staff returned and did the cooking for us, while we tried to control our excitement.
Once ready, we picked up our chopsticks and attacked! The cheese was gooey and stretchy, and definitely enhanced the flavours of the spicy and tender chicken pieces. All I could say was that it was really quite addictive, and of course we were all fighting over the ramen too 😛
It was truly a fun and filling meal!
- Location: 부산광역시 부산진구 부전2동 242-21 242-21, Bujeon 2-dong, Busanjin-gu, Busan
- Website: www.yoogane.co.kr/en/
- Directions: Walk along Seomyeon-ro at Exit 7 of Seomyeon Station
- Hrs: 11am – 12am
Our foodie journey today brought us to the world’s first Michelin-starred ramen eatery, Tsuta, which opened it’s first overseas outlet at Pacific Plaza (it has since opened another outlet at 18 Tai Seng).
We were here during late afternoon, and the queue was fairly manageable. Since we were still rather full, we did not mind the 20-minute wait, especially when there were seats available in the queue.
We thought that this place had a rather efficient system, where we could just place our orders and pay via the kiosk at the entrance of the restaurant, before the staff brought us to our seats, where we could watch the chefs in action.
Food was served rather quickly too, and we managed to finish our meal in a jiffy too.
Hakata Gensuke Ramen Professionals were celebrating their 2nd year anniversary today! A pity we were not in time to be the first 50 customers to get the free ramen as part of the celebrations.
Nonetheless, we joined the relatively short queue and got our seats within 10 minutes.
The tiny restaurant was like a typical Japanese ramen place, with staff shouting out greetings in unison, and tiny tables and seats.
We had already pre-selected the Signature Tonkotsu Ramen and Shio Tonkotsu Ramen, both with additional toppings of cha-shu, seaweed, and flavoured egg (base price A$13 each, with additional toppings at A$8).
We were here to check out the recently opened ramen place!
Since we read that the Chef Tan-san was the first Tonkatsu Chef in Singapore, we figured that it might be prudent to order the Premium Pork Loin Tonkatsu Set ($19.90 nett), and the Tonkatsu Ramen ($14.90) which uses the normal pork loin.
Each Tonkatsu set came with roasted sesame (which we had fun grinding), tonjiru soup (which was awesome broth simmered with Japanese pork and very rich in flavour), pickles, fruits, as well as unlimited servings of Niigata rice and crunchy cabbage (which we could barely finished the first serving).
So I have been wanting to relive the what I call 一蘭 Ichiran experience over again ever since I tried it in 福岡 Fukuoka many years ago. This is a classic とんこつラーメン Tonkotsu ramen shop that started from the 60s and have been dishing out ramen all over Japan over the years 24 hours a day.
The 一蘭 Ichiran experience starts from ordering your noodle and extra ingredients using a vending machine (or coupon machine). Then you wait in line for the server to assign you a cubicle. Yes you need to dine in a cubicle ALONE. Haha…
Once you are seated in a cubicle, you will face a wooden window where a server will appear from behind and collect your order. This is also the time when you can indicate your choice of thickness of noodle, hotness of sauce etc. Then you wait for the noodle to be served, again through the wooden window. This, my dear friends, is the 一蘭 Ichiran experience! 🙂
We had initially planned (with flexibility) to go 河口湖 Kawaguchiko (to admire 富士山 Mt Fuji from afar) by bus either on Monday (1 Dec) or Tuesday (2 Dec). We were more keen to go on Monday, as we needed to get up early on Wednesday to catch the early 新幹線 Shinkansen to 京都 Kyoto.
As we got nearer to the dates, the weather forecast for Monday was cloudy, and sunny for Tuesday… Which kind of determined that we would go on Tuesday, because there’s no way to get a clear view of 富士山 Mt Fuji on a cloudy day.
We had initially wanted to check out イーヨ横丁 Iiyo Yokocho, but somehow ended up 黒塀横丁 Kurobei Yokocho (black-fence alley). However, it looked like a tourist trap with very few customers, and none of the restaurants were appealing to us. We were almost going to settle for one of the nearby restaurant, when hubby recalled that Mr J had mentioned a very famous つけ麺 tsukemen place at Tokyo Ramen Street in Tokyo Station.
Without further ado, we located Tokyo Ramen Street within the massive Tokyo Station, and before I could look for the name of the shop, we spotted the queue 😮 It’s amazing that there were 8 ramen shops here but only one has a snaking queue!
We finally made our last trip of 2015 to the Land of the Rising Sun! And this time we started from Tokyo!
Our first real meal in Tokyo was at Shinagawa. We met JL, who recently started working in Tokyo. Funny that we always meet up when we are out of Singapore… 😛
Anyway, she used the powerful Google Maps to navigate our way to the Shinatatsu Ramen Street 品川駅前「麺達七人衆 品達」. This is an area below the railway tracks of JR Shinagawa Station 品川駅 which has a collection of 7 ramen shops. And Nantsuttei is the first one as you walked into the area (and incidentally one of the only two that were still operating, the others were closed for renovations because of some construction going on at the railway tracks).
Nantsuttei started from Kanagawa and has now quite a number of branches in Tokyo, Thailand and Singapore too (Orchard Central). There is quite a following for its celebrity founder Ichirô Furuya, and judging from the queue that we were seeing at the Shinatatsu branch, this was the ramen for us!