I’ve tried quite a bit of food around Tokyo since I arrived in late October. Unfortunately, I have no idea what most of it is. The best I can do is take a few photos of what I’ve had and try to explain it.
On my day at Shinjuku Park, I stopped for lunch at a ramen noodle shop that was relatively inexpensive for the area. I ordered what looked like a spicy noodle soup, and I was right. It was a red curry ramen soup — not too spicy, but had great flavor. The restaurant was also easy to find as it wasn’t far from the entrance to the park — just on the street from the station.
There was also the evening I dined at Sushi-Go-Round (also in Shinjuku). There’s nothing quite like sitting at a counter and grabbing plates of sushi from a conveyor belt. Most of what passed by was not identifiable without knowledge of Japanese characters — I still have no idea what the last thing I ate was, but it definitely should’ve stayed on the conveyor.
The most entertaining part of the meal was having staff come up and count my plates to give me the bill. There are different prices for the various sushi, and the plates are different colors depending on the price. I also noticed some customers ordering specific dishes (not that I’d know how to do that).
When I met up with my Chinese expat friends from my hike at Mt. Takao, we decided to try okonomiyaki. Okonomiyaki is a sort of pancake with cabbage that you get to make on a grill set in the table — ours had seafood and meat mixed in as well. It’s also topped with some shaved dried fish and dried seaweed. I’m still not sure about topping it with mayo, but that’s how it’s done in Japan. It was pretty good, but I think it’d be better with kimchi or curry mixed in.
We also ordered some other variation of okonomiyaki (or maybe it was just some similar cooking style) that wasn’t really a pancake, but more of a mess. We had to ask for help making it because my companions only had it once before and had forgotten what to do with it.
One of the more interesting meals I tried was at a seafood restaurant with another friend. We were actually searching for an okonomiyaki restaurant, but decided on a lively seafood restaurant instead. We had a small table grill to cook our own clams and whelk.
I’m not sure if we overcooked the whelk, but it was very chewy and tasted rather bitter. It really didn’t taste anything like the escargot I’ve had at French restaurants. But it was worth a try.
I enjoyed the tuna cheek much more. I was surprised by the size of it and by how much meat there was. It was the best tuna I’ve had, which would explain why it’s the restaurant’s specialty.
On one of my solo sightseeing journey’s, I found a street of restaurants set beneath the railroad tracks near the Imperial Palace. I chose to eat at the semi-outdoor barbecue restaurant alongside the tunnel. I had some sort of light meat stew and some grilled skewers for a few dollars. Had I not been exhausted from a day of walking and getting lost, I might’ve enjoyed the semi-outdoor atmosphere more.