All posts filed under: Food

Food and Restaurant Reviews, Cafes and Cakes, Desserts and Sweets

Inoda Coffee at Kiyomizu Higashiyama - Kyoto Cafes

Inoda Coffee // Kyoto’s Old School Café

Founded since 1940, Inoda Coffee イノダコーヒ has been a beloved coffeehouse for more than 69 years, serving the residents of Kyoto with its own brand of coffee. Its first café opened in 1947 in Sanjyo 三条, and it has 7 other branches in Kyoto, 1 in Osaka, 1 in Hiroshima, 1 in Hokkaido, 1 in Tokyo, and 1 in Yokohama. It also has a take-out cake shop in Kyoto, called Ketel. Don’t expect swanky or hipster vibes in this Kyoto café. Inoda Coffee houses an old school charm that still appeals to the everyday lives of locals. There are no frills, no fuss, just a strangely familiar comfort that seems to belong to bygone days. Since 1947, Inoda Coffee has been a beloved coffeehouse for more than 69 years, serving the residents of Kyoto with its own brand of coffee. Instead of visiting the flagship café or honten 本店, we always made our way to the one in Kiyomizu as part of our exploration of the Higashiyama district 東山区 after visiting Kiyomizu-dera. You need strong knees …

Nishiki Traditional Market - Kyoto Japan

Nishiki Market // 5 Must-Eats in Kyoto’s Kitchen

Nishiki Market (錦市場), fondly known as Kyoto’s Kitchen, has been around for more than 400 years. Traditional food vendors, small cooked food shops, and eateries line this 400-metre street. The potential of this street extends beyond these 400 metres. Running perpendicular to Nishiki Market is Teramachi-dori (寺町通), an organized labyrinth of shops and restaurants worth exploring. Weaved into the smaller lanes, you will find vintage shops, small eateries, and the famous Sou•Sou shops. Parallel to Nishiki Market is the shopping belt of Kyoto, Shijō-dori (四条通), where you’ll find bigger shopping malls and boutique shops. We’ll dedicate a separate post to these later on. Stay tuned!   The array of fresh vegetables, local fruits, seafood, meat, pickled foodstuff, condiments, and ingredients will have you weaving in and out of the traditional food shops if you love to cook. Such was the allure of seeing in person, those heirloom Kyoto vegetables (京野菜 kyōyasai) cultivated since the Meiji Era, that you’ve only heard of, or seen on television – the sweet spring onions called Kujo negi (九条ねぎ), round eggplants called Kamo …

Sagano-Yu Cafe Style Resort // After Arashiyama and Bamboo Groves

Our feet were screaming for respite, our palates in need of something sweet, and our body craved for a warm cuppa, after that trek to admire the bamboo groves, Arashiyama and Katsura River. Right along the street from Saga-Arashiyama station to Tenryu-ji is Sagano-Yu Cafe Style Resort 嵯峨野湯, a public bathhouse turned cafe. Don’t be fooled by the spotless exterior of Sagano-Yu Cafe. It was built in 1923 as Sagayu Bathhouse and refurbished into a teahouse in August 10, 2006. Beyond its cool white doors are warm wooden furniture, exposed bricks, quiet conversations and shared laughter. We had to put down our names on the waiting list, as there was a queue of like-minded, tired people wanting a table. While waiting, we wandered up the steep stairs to the 2nd level where you would find a little space selling a plethora of handmade goods – from accessories and knits, to kitchenware and food. We were intrigued by the rustic display at the bottom of the stairs, but disappointingly, it’s not as well stocked, or as …

Hisago // The Best Oyako-Don I Have Ever Tasted

Frankly, I didn’t know what to expect when I decided to locate Hisago (ひさご) in Kyoto, Japan. We definitely did not expect to see such a long queue outside the restaurant, not when the restaurant opens at 11.30am for lunch. It’s off the usual track for most travelers, and pretty out of the way. That is why we didn’t think many would go to the trouble of finding this place. Since we finished early at our previous visit at Kiyomizudera 清水寺, we decided to take a leisurely walk exploring some really old streets and houses. We reached Hisago (ひさご) at about 11am. Somehow, you know you have stumbled upon an excellent place to eat when you see Japanese of different ages in the queue – young, families with toddlers, elderly folk, groups of teenagers, and of course, tourists from different countries. I heard Taiwanese, French, Thai, Korean, English and Chinese while I stood in queue with the rest. Our curiosity piqued with more and more joining the queue. Many times, we contemplated on abandoning the queue …

Yuzu Ramen at Eitaro // Hidden Gem in Kyoto, Shijo

Did I share that I simply love the taste of yuzu (ゆず、柚子) ? From yuzu vinegar to yuzu fruit, yuzu sake to yuzu cakes, I’ve tried it all! Naturally, when I hear that there is a shop in Kyoto serving yuzu ramen, I had to go try. I was already imagining how such disparate flavors would combine – one is obviously a fruit! I arrived at Eitaro (英多朗) at 11am, when the shop opens and way before the lunch crowd hits. The shop exterior is not eye-catching and one could have easily missed it. So, here’s a picture to help. Eitaro is a small ramen shop and does not have a lot of seats, so it was good to get there early. Of course, I ordered the yuzu ramen (ゆずラメン) at ¥700 (approximately S$9 – S$10). When the bowl of piping hot noodles was served, the refreshing whiff of the citrus fruit  greeted me first before the fragrant chicken broth started mingling with its fruity accent. You can either squeeze the mini yuzu fruit or …

Casa Tartufo // House of Truffles

Recently, I have been feeding my addiction to truffles in what I hope is a modest way. Trying not to burn a hole in my wallet, I have stocked up 2 condiments – white truffles olive oil and black truffle-infused sea salt, and made some really simple, but satisfying dishes at home, whenever the addiction hits. Having similar addiction, some of my friends organized a dine-out session at Casa Tartufo Ristorante (House of Truffles Restaurant), making a reservation 3 weeks in advance – something that we seldom ever do, and take the wonderful opportunity to try some really expensive dishes at special prices found only during the Restaurant Week. During this Restaurant Week, there are 2 seatings (one at 6pm and another at 8pm). The Restaurant served a fixed dinner menu at S$55++ for antipasti (starter), main and dessert. Like any good Italian restaurant that I’ve encountered in Rome and Venice, Casa Tartufo served up herb-infused bread, good quality olive oil and vingarette. It would have been made perfect if they were warm. Be careful …

Five and Dime Eatery // Changed to Fat Lulu’s

[UPDATE] Five and Dime Eatery has changed its name and concept. It’s now known as Fat Lulu’s, serving grilled food and small plates. After looking at my friend’s photos on Instagram, pling thinks…it’s time to gather some friends to check out this quaint cafe, Five and Dime, along River Valley Road. Somehow, the name conjures up memories of ordering kopi and teh in coffeeshops at the price of S$0.50. And in that nostalgic mood, we trot to this cafe in search of some elements from the good ol’ days. Long bay windows greeted us, and those windows let in some cozy afternoon light into the cafe. Lovely. Nice chairs. Mightily important to have them, especially if we are going to chill the afternoon afternoon. We found the cafe charming with its tiled floor and vintage wares, juxtaposed against a modern bar counter. Brunch ends at 2.30pm. Coffee and desserts are served all day round. And of course some coffee to warm up the system. I ordered a Cafe Mocha and a Mini Guinness Cupcake. Cafe …