Hungry in Tokyo

As we spent the morning visiting the Moomin Bakery and Cafe, by the time we got to Tsukiji Market all the excitement from the morning live auction that we were hoping to catch had died down and the marketplace was empty. The hubs asked sheepishly where all the fish had gone and I laughed. Had he been a good boy and woken up at 5am like I had asked, there would have been beautiful fresh fish everywhere! It was already close to 11am so instead of an abundance of fresh fish and seafood, there were massive queues for lunch for all of the small sushi shops in the covered mall. Not wanting to queue for hours, we bought some dashimaki at one of the food stalls to tide us over until lunch.

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We headed back toward the Ginza area and decided to have lunch in a restaurant specialising in tonkatsu (pork cutlet) inside Matsuya Ginza, Keitei (恵亭松屋銀座店), which evidently is part of the Wako Group. Our meal was tasty, but I prefer the menu at the original Tonkatsu Wako, as Keitei caters to a slightly more upscale crowd.

Delicious but tiny cup of coffee that came with the hubs meal.

Delicious but tiny cup of coffee that came with the hubs meal.

I enjoyed my simple meal of fresh pickled vegetables, insanely fresh and sweet shredded cabbage, soup and standard pork cutlet. You can get free refills of the pickles, cabbage and rice, but there’s only so much of it that you can eat.

Fresh pickled celery, burdock root, mountain yam and shredded daikon.

Fresh pickled celery, burdock root, mountain yam and shredded daikon.

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Eyeing the portions of the set menu, the hubs felt he should opt for something with more variety.  Little did he know that more variety didn’t mean larger quantities of food, just more dishes served in bite sized portions. Haha!  Needless to say, the hubs was still rather hungry after our meal. To be honest, feeling hungry after a meal in Japan can be a running theme if you’re not accustomed to the smaller portions.

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But don’t you fret! There is a magical floor in every luxury department store that is truly wonderful –the food hall, or depachika (デパ地下), literally department store basement — that Japan has perfected. My favourite food hall is in Takashimaya (高島屋) so that’s where we headed after lunch to sample as many items as we could before meeting N.

Food Hall Collage

And sample we did! But sadly, photos are not allowed in many shops and establishments in Japan, which is rather annoying when you’re just trying to capture all the beautiful food. I was awful at pretending that I didn’t know what was going on when asked to put my massive camera away by an elderly ‘security’ guard, so you’ll have to make do with the few shots I took before I got caught and you can get a pretty good idea of what it’s like here.

Fruit Collage

From delicate cakes to savoury sides, cured meats and ‘luxury’ fruit (you know, those melons from Hokkaido that cost 15,000yen each) the food hall has something for everyone.

Melon Collage

Harrod’s Food Hall is the only place that comes close and even then it’s not quite the same. The hubs was in heaven, we were no longer hungry and now we can’t wait to spend all day visiting various food halls the next time we’re in Japan.

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4 thoughts on “Hungry in Tokyo

  1. I haven’t been to Tsukiji Fish Market yet! I am not a morning person and can’t face getting out of the bed in 4 or 5am… Your lunch at Ginza looks great. They are so serious about food, aren’t they? Every time I visit the Japanese “Depa-chika”, I wish if I had a large wallet & stomach. And those fruits with exorbitant price tags! I had one of those very expensive strawberry once. They were gigantic and individually wrapped in tissue paper. It tasted very sweet but became more than mere fruit…
    About photographing in Japan, I felt uncomfortable too! No one was doing it and the act was almost frowned upon by others. Did they think I was a spy or something???

    • I was so ready to go at 5am, but the hubs was snoring away so we really didn’t see anything. Haha. About the photos, one of my friends said it might be for legal reasons. Like you can’t use/take photos of people without their permission. But the focus is on food! Another is as you suggest, they don’t like corporate spies. I was asked not to take photos in a supermarket when we were in NZ for our honeymoon. I was surprised and embarrassed! Haha.

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