I admit, one if the things I most looked forward to in moving to Japan is the food. I love food and my world revolves around it at times (as does my waist line- hah!)
So my biggest frustration arriving here was that buying authentic Japanese cuisine was harder than I had planned. It sounds silly- but getting off base to go buy food has actually been an ordeal for me.
First off- the food court on base is all American food. I think I may have mentioned it in one my previous blogs. When the locals are invited on base- they are excited to visit the food court and eat American fast food. We think yuck- but to them it is truly different than what they can buy out in the local economy. Even their McDonald's is different- serving the likes of Ebi-burgers (shrimp burgers).
As I mentioned before- my first meal in Tokyo was actually American style food- I was disappointed not to try the sushi. I LOVE sushi, and I could eat it every day for every meal.
There are three little Japanese restaurants on base that cater to the Japanese military we share the base with. They are only open at lunch so I did not desire to take the kids with me. I did order fried rice and gyoza a couple of time and take it home to eat. But I could not convince the kids to walk off base and find something to eat, they just would rather eat at McDonald's! That and they do not want to do the walking- especially sister.
The weekend before dad was due to come home I talked the kids into finding the sushi-go-round with me. We drove the gate and walked across. I forgot the map so of course we couldn't find the sushi-go-round. (Found out later we just needed to walk two more blocks!) So we stopped at what looked like a nice ramen restaurant. And it would have been good, if we had ordered the right thing! Brother had fried rice and gyoza (seems to be a safe choice and quite tasty). Sister and I ordered what we thought was yellow ramen noodles and broth. The noodles come in a bowl that has a sort of colander places there to drain out the liquid. I tried my noodles- they are cold. I touch the bowl for the broth- it is cold. What??$%$^!! I look around- to see if they are coming back to cook my food? Is the joke on me? No, I found out later what we ordered is called somen- cold noodles. I call them yucky. Sister said they tasted like a burp after eating too many Easter eggs- I agree! They were egg noodles- but not the nice rich egg noodles we use for chicken noodle soup- but nasty hard boiled stinky egg noodles!
Husband tells me he will buy me some good food when he gets home. And he does! Our first night together we went to a place called the Gyoza House. He has brought back to the states many times frozen gyoza from this place- we were excited to try it in person. Oh and it is so delicious!! Afterwards we stopped at a convenience store called Lawson's where we picked up Haagen Daz ice cream bars. It is a raspberry panna cotta I believe- so delicious. I have never seen it in the states- I had been missing out!
The next day the kids were at school so Husband took me to a ramen restaurant on base that I had no idea was even there. I had the biggest bowl of noodles ever- and it was the small size! very delicious- especially with the little slices of pickled ginger I added on top. After the kids were out of school we headed to Yokohama by train. (I have to add that even though I would rather she behave- I am glad Husband got to see how difficult Sister is on the train.) In the train station downstairs are many many restaurants.
We stopped at a sushi-go-round. It is my dream come true!! It may not have been a true sushi-go-round in that there wasn't any conveyor belt showcasing the freshly prepared sushi. Instead we were given a color picture menu (with the names in English). So we pointed (I tried to pronounce the names in Japanese) to the chef(s) who then prepared our sushi for us. I thought I had died and gone to Heaven! It was truly the best sushi I have ever had. We tried a good variety- including squid and salmon eggs. My favorite was the salmon and blue-fin tuna. I liked it all except for the salmon eggs. I couldn't get over the smell- I felt like I should be baiting a hook with the eggs, not eating them!
Leaving the train station Husband picked up some bread at the French style bakery. From there we headed into the city. Yokohama is very cool- much to do and see. We stopped at a place called Dipper Dans. I thought it was ice cream in large cones at first when we ordered. But then I realized they were crepes! They make them right there in front of you and very meticulously prepare them as ordered. I had a crepe with whipped cream, strawberries, kiwi fruit and mango. It was so simple and so good! Now I am inspired to make crepes at home.
Back home we dug into our treats from the bakery. I eat a croissant like treat with mocha whipped cream inside- yum! The next night we will enjoy the loaf of french bread that has some sort of cheese in it- very good toasted with butter!
So in spite of a couple of road bumps- I feel confident I will enjoy more delicious Japanese cuisine! I am learning the words for cold and hot- so that I make sure I will never order cold egg noodles again. But I know I can't go wrong with the sushi. Is it lunch time yet?