My dreams came true and I went to Japan this past June. Here are a few food highlights for me. I will keep posting travel and food reflections for the upcoming day.
(1) Depachika Food: This is the type of food you get at the basement of big department stores such as Mitsukoshi and Daimaru. They were the highlight for me as I have never seen such a vast food space. Food items to purchase, beautifully packaged variety of items.
(2) Hakata Ramen: This pork broth ramen is to die for. We used have this ramen religiously at the Ippudo Ramen shop in New York. Hakata Ramen comes from Fukuoka where we visited during our visit. In addition to more low key ramen joints, there are also headquarters of Ichiran. Ichiran is how a ramen shop should be. You order in small little computer boxes outside of the store. You pick your ramen and indicate whether or not you want extra noodles. You bring the little receipt inside. You sit in small individual booths. There are small windows in each booth and you give your receipt to the person behind whose face you do not see. There is also a button to order extra noodles or drinks. The noodle is amazing. Soft. I ordered spicy version which was great.
(3) Custard Craze: In Japan, there is an ongoing custard craze. These custards are much like Pastel de Belem, which I tried in Belem when in Portugal. Here the filling is a bit more cheesy and less sweet and custard is a bit thicker and more buttery. Also in the store they have soft serve pure cream ice cream which also was to die for. The store Baked in Kyoto also had a cool display of custards on top of a lego structure. Also should note: we waited an hour for them.
(4) Pastries and Coffee: The French style pastries in Tokyo are amazing. The places that serve them are also amazing. Nice china, nice presentation most are around Ginza area of Tokyo. I ordered an ice coffee and a creamy but light strawberry cake.
(5) Soba Lunches: Soba noodles are simple but delicious. They can be ordered cold or hot. With the oozing eggs on top, it is an amazing way to fill the stomach mid day.