HOLIDAYS, Japan, Uncategorized JAPAN: EXPLORING UENO 27 February 2010

Japan’s an awesome place for pottering around.

In particular I like Ueno, filled with small streets and alleys selling knick knacks, food, and random stuff. Unlike China, the shopkeepers don’t yell out or hassle you as you walk past, so it’s all rather peaceful and chill, despite being a bustling marketplace. It’s easy to get lost, in the seemingly random zigzag of paths, but that all adds to the fun of poking around.

I was especially fascinated with their street food, which is EVERYWHERE. From metal trolleys cooking up a storm, to little shop fronts dedicated to serving just 1 dish (eg. takoyaki), it’s not possible to leave Ueno with a full belly 😉


The streets of Ueno

Lots of goodies for sale

Street food

At the Takoyaki stall

Cooking Takoyaki

Fresh Takoyaki!

Freezing my ass off 😛

Poking around the streets

Dinner was, again, randomly decided on. It was a little hole in the wall Yakitori restaurant right in the middle of the lane! People were bustling past but little (and I do mean little!) chairs and tables were placed along the lane where customers could sit and eat. Yakitori is basically skewered meat or vegetables, cooked over a hot grill. Very simple, but oh so satisfying.

We huddled on these little wooden chairs around a squat little wooden table, all set out on the uneven cobblestone footpath. The menu was, thankfully, in English.. but the waitress was totally strange! A sweet lil old Japanese lady, she seemed to NOT want to let us order a lot. So we’d point to perhaps 2 dishes, then she’d nod and smile and hurridely scurry off before we could order any more. We were starving and wanting to order 10 dishes for the table, but she kept dashing off after we’d ordered 1 or 2. Tres weird 😛 We figured that perhaps Yakitori is meant to be eaten whilst chilling out with a drink.. and so people just order a little bit at a time so they can stay there for ages. It was nice that she wasn’t hassling us to eat quickly and leave (considering the place was packed out), but the first time we experienced the strange ordering system of “just order a little bit each time”.

The food was all very impressive. Freshly cooked on the grill, and it’s not hard to see why they are THE most popular yakitori place in the Ueno area. The sticks had an impressive amount of meat jammed on it, and we especially loved the chicken yakitori, which boasted fleshy tender chunks of chicken and basted in delicious sauces before grilling.

Only downside? It’s expensive! The little sticks really add up. And let’s face it, you need a LOT to fill you. So it turns out to be a lot more expensive than expected, especially considering it’s not a fancy restaurant. Still, it’s a great experience huddling out on the street and chowing down on yakitori and Japanese sake, so it was worth it for us 🙂


A squashy, cramped Yakitori stall.. right in the lane

Dad and Mum perusing the menu

Huddled at our table in the middle of the lane

Sake, and green tea

Homemade tofu in… liquid fat broth. Whoa!

Edamame and potato salad (so good)

Miso garlic chicken – that sauce was divine!

Grilled mushrooms – a bit too salty/flavourful

Soy chicken – delicious. Loved how meaty each stick was

Warming ourselves up

Dinner part 2!

Cooking it up in front of us

Aiiieeee I was freezing!

Egg omelette rolls – plain, and stuffed with ingredients

Digging in :)~


16 Comments

  • __xopricktor posted on February 27, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    HEY!

    It might be because its an all you can eat place, so they take a few orders of little things at one time, then they cook it and bring it over before you order more?

    I remember most of the yakitori places I went to doubled as a bar especially the little hole in wall places when I lived there.

    Looks like you guys had loads of fun!! Makes me wish I was back there!

    Reply
    • beverly posted on February 28, 2010 at 1:58 am

      Re: HEY!

      Nah def not all you can eat… cos it was pay by the stick. It was $ but at least the food was good!

      Reply
  • __xopricktor posted on February 27, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    HEY!

    It might be because its an all you can eat place, so they take a few orders of little things at one time, then they cook it and bring it over before you order more?

    I remember most of the yakitori places I went to doubled as a bar especially the little hole in wall places when I lived there.

    Looks like you guys had loads of fun!! Makes me wish I was back there!

    Reply
    • beverly posted on February 28, 2010 at 1:58 am

      Re: HEY!

      Nah def not all you can eat… cos it was pay by the stick. It was $ but at least the food was good!

      Reply
  • drshree posted on February 28, 2010 at 4:23 am

    Oooh it looks good! What’s Takoyaki?

    Reply
    • beverly posted on February 28, 2010 at 4:51 am

      It’s basically octopus and seafood inside a little dough ball thing. hard to describe.. try searching on Google and it should have a good explanation! It’s super good :)~

      Reply
  • nakedpetals posted on February 28, 2010 at 11:24 am

    so weird how how your standing while eating your dinner!!!

    Reply
    • beverly posted on February 28, 2010 at 11:29 am

      Yeah, it’s very typical of Japan! I guess ppl are always in such a rush.. so often the casual places are standing-room-only

      Reply
  • drshree posted on February 28, 2010 at 4:23 am

    Oooh it looks good! What’s Takoyaki?

    Reply
    • beverly posted on February 28, 2010 at 4:51 am

      It’s basically octopus and seafood inside a little dough ball thing. hard to describe.. try searching on Google and it should have a good explanation! It’s super good :)~

      Reply
  • nakedpetals posted on February 28, 2010 at 11:24 am

    so weird how how your standing while eating your dinner!!!

    Reply
    • beverly posted on February 28, 2010 at 11:29 am

      Yeah, it’s very typical of Japan! I guess ppl are always in such a rush.. so often the casual places are standing-room-only

      Reply
  • j0s1e267 posted on March 8, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    This looks really good too! Did they have English menus? How did you do the ordering? I can read some Kanji but it’s still a challenge to order stuff ….

    Reply
    • beverly posted on March 9, 2010 at 2:12 am

      It had a quasi-English menu, stuff like “chicken” and not much else written on it, lol. A lot of the time in Japan we either looked at pictures, pointed at what other people were ordering, or just randomly guessed! Chris can read Japanese though, so that helps 😛

      Reply
  • j0s1e267 posted on March 8, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    This looks really good too! Did they have English menus? How did you do the ordering? I can read some Kanji but it’s still a challenge to order stuff ….

    Reply
    • beverly posted on March 9, 2010 at 2:12 am

      It had a quasi-English menu, stuff like “chicken” and not much else written on it, lol. A lot of the time in Japan we either looked at pictures, pointed at what other people were ordering, or just randomly guessed! Chris can read Japanese though, so that helps 😛

      Reply

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