Zen eats Tokyo

A few weeks ago, my friend Marc of No Recipes asked me to join him on the Tokyo stop of his eating frenzy across Asia, an offer i couldn’t refuse of course. Do you remember how much fun we had in Kyoto last year? So after a long journey halfway across the globe (what we wouldn’t do for food) we met up at the Cerulean tower in Shibuya and started eating our way through this amazing city.

There’s so much to say and so little room here to share with you all the sights, the smells and the sounds that make an eating adventure complete and unforgettable but i will do my best to scratch the surface and hopefully inspire you to book a ticket and go and explore for yourself.

Oh, and by the way, i almost ended up on the hood of the taxi for that photo. A blog is a dangerous business, my friends.

On our first night out we found a smoky “hole in the wall” joint in Shibuya that serves the lesser-known to westerners, Horumon Yaki. You can think of it as a yakitori place that specializes in grilled organ meats. The different morsels of meats are simply grilled over Japanese charcoal with perfect seasonings and eaten with lots of sake or shochu. Fantastic! Also we had raw beef liver, nabe and rice with a raw egg that night because we were on a mission.

A random bite, a sweet Japanese potatoes in a thick syrup with black sesame seeds. Crispy on the outside and creamy on the outside. A perfect mid-afternoon pick me up on the way to the Asakusa Kannon Temple.

Later that night we were lucky to meet up with Rachael and Brad of Tokyo Terrace fame. Not pictured is Tally, the cute dog would loved me. Don’t they look like the coolest couple ever? After having drinks and snacks at their place they took us to one of their favorite neighborhood restaurant they call “the plywood place”, a seafood Izakaya the real name of which was lost in translation. The translation of which was lost in translation too.

This was the perfect hang out, between the excellent company, the friendly staff, the raucous crowd, delicious food and sake a gogo we had a heck of a good time. It made me wish i had a place like that around the corner.

After feasting on copious amounts of clams, sashimi, grilled local fish and nabe, we did the unthinkable. We walked a few blocks and sat down at a popular ramen shop counter and all had a bowl of delicious ramen in a rich pork broth – and beer.

Yes, we did! I think it’s time for us to join Overeater Anonymous: “Hi, I’m zenchef! [in unison] HI ZENCHEF!”

Thank you Rachael and Brad for the great evening!

Who painted the Eiffel tower red and white!!??

Err.. What? .. Oh yes, too much sake and pork fat last night. This is the view from the lobby of the Park hotel in Ginza.

Of course, no visit to Tokyo is complete without a visit to Tsukiji market, the biggest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world. We risked our lives criss-crossing the market looking for a food stall Marc remembered from one of his previous visits and after nearly ending as canned tuna, we finally found it.

Oh Toro over rice with the freshest uni and salmon roe over rice. That’s what’s for breakfast!

I could get used to this lifestyle.

After nearly a week in Tokyo eating through my savings i put on my hat and went out to beg for money to buy a train ticket to Shizenji in the Shizuoka province, about 2 hours south of Tokyo. But let’s save that for part two of this adventure… til’ then!

Domo arigatou gozaimasu!

Be Sociable, Share!


  • http://twitter.com/JunBelen Jun Belen

    Unbelievable! I’ve always wanted to go to Tokyo… such a fascinating city! Gorgeous photographs! Can’t wait to read more about it in your future posts!

  • http://twitter.com/MangoTomato Olga Berman

    it looks like you had no fun at all…seriously 😉

  • http://twitter.com/sugarbardiva davina

    amazing photos! and that breakfast!! oh toro for breakfast??!?! indulgent :) i love it. And those sweet potatoes look gorgeous too. I’m hungry.

  • http://mayssam.tumblr.com mayssam

    Beautiful pictures! Looks like you had a blast, lucky Zen!

  • Jeremy

    Very cool!

  • http://twitter.com/iNOMthings ila

    BEAUTIFUL! I loved the food a Tsukiji when I went in August. Shibuya had so much to offer too… Can’t wait to go back to try out that horumon place!

  • Jmkayano

    eh hemmm…where is the yukata video? :)

  • http://www.thecotswoldfoodyear.com James

    *Jealous* This makes me want to go even more!

  • http://annajohnston.com.au Anna Johnston

    Wow., you’ve captured the city & your experience beautifully, wonderful pics, looks like a great time was had by all.

  • Anonymous

    Yay! You’re photos are stunning! I would hang every single one of them on my wall. And yes, we totally outdid ourselves that evening…I’m STILL full! I’m so happy to have met you- you are an honest-to-goodness great person and talented photographer/blogger/chef. I hope you come back to Tokyo soon! xox

  • http://www.bakegreek.com/blog Kotomi

    Great photos! I’m heading to Tokyo/Osaka/Kyoto in a month with two of my friends — this post makes me so excited for our trip! Thank you also for introducing me to to the Tokyo Terrace blog :)

  • Joan Nova

    Great visuals. You, Marc and Tokyo Terrace…great!

  • http://kokken69.blogspot.com shirley@kokken69

    Looking forward to your 2nd instalment… am always keen to find out good places to check out in Tokyo..

  • http://breadetbutter.wordpress.com/ Su-yin

    So this is what you’ve been up to! Gorgeous photos, I especially like the last one. Was it from your hotel window or something? What a view!

    Am so jealous that you got to eat such such amazing food. The last time I was there was 10 years ago, when I *drumroll* wasn’t a huge fan of sushi! How shocking. And upsetting, when I think about it. Oh well, it’s just another reason for me to plan a trip to Japan – soon! 😛

  • http://mypotsandfrills.blogspot.com Bogna @ Pots and Frills

    I am sure a trip to Japan can be inspiring, and only to a Zen Cook.

  • http://twitter.com/eatdrinklove amy

    I’m in ALL kinds of envy….I wish I had eaten that much food when I was in Tokyo!….That just means I’ll have to go back.

  • http://twitter.com/KitchenM Em

    Glad to guys made it to Tsukiji market! I’m drooling over those sashimi!

  • http://tavolini.blogspot.com Tavolini

    Great photos!! Tokyo looks amazing–we’ve never been over there. I love the potatoes and the clams–yum.

  • http://www.eatlivetravelwrite.com Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite

    So so jealous of your culinary adventures! And you got to meet Rachael and Brad!!!

  • Anonymous

    This is among the top places on my list to visit for all of the reasons you cited. I know it’ll be an expensive one, but so well worth it for the freshest and most exotic seafood found.

  • Elin

    Great place to visit…thanks for sharing your food adventure and anxiously waiting for the second part :)

  • Stacey Snacks

    How great that you finally got a work break and had a adventure w/ Marc and Tokyo Terrace. A great trip!

  • http://www.wheelsandlollipops.com/ Wheels and Lollipops

    Thanks for sharing your trip, I’m now even more curious to visit Tokyo.

  • http://www.flanboyanteats.com Bren

    Can I pretty please be your muse? Not just your culinary muse. Te hablere en Español todo el tiempo! :) So glad you had a great time. Are those poppy seeds on the potatoes. Lovely.