Friday, March 16, 2018

What did I eat in Kyoto?

Having just picked up several Japanese magazine dedicated to travel and food in Kyoto, but list was long and expectations were high. Here’s what the list boiled down to:

1. Food I wished I had but didn't: peach shaved ice
2. Food I had but wished I didn't: udon – not memorable, we were in a hurry
3. What should have been on the list: eel don – its famous in Kyoto
4. Biggest surprise: pate sandwich
5. Most delicious meal: Sukiyaki from Kimura

Kyoto classics

Sukiyaki from Kimura – Sukiyaki was at the top of my list so I made sure to start searching for a place the moment I arrived. Many were very expensive and were fully booked each night, but I found this lovely family-run place called Kimura, recommended by Popeye magazine. It was only about 3,000 per person, a very fair price, and it was excellent. We really enjoyed our meal on the old red carpet with views overlooking the covered shopping arcade.

Kyoto Parfait – there are so many places to get these famous parfaits that I didn’t bother to stress about the exact shop. I stopped into a few random places and was please with the outcome. The hallmark of a good parfait is that it blends multiple wa-fu (Japanese) flavors, like matcha (gren tea) with black jelly, mochi, anok (red bean), kinako (peanut), and goma (black sesame).

Kyoto sweets – unlike the parfait, I knew exactly where I wanted to go for some fine Kyoto mochi. Zen Café offered some premium Japanese sweets for tasting.

Eel don – I didn’t realize Kyotos famous eel don with a scrambled egg on top was such a hallmark dish, so I didn’t get around to visiting this place until the very last hour I was in Kyoto. It was stressful because the line was long and we had a train to catch, but I'm glad I got to see what all the fuss was about.

Korean food

Korean BBQ – our group stumbled upon a cute little Korean BBQ restaurant where we all cooked over our own tiny grills. 

Western food

I hadn’t intended on eating wester food in Kyoto (my Japanese food list was long enough!) but a few times necessity outweighed intent.

Mentaiko spaghetti and spaghetti carbonara – this was one of those time we were too hungry and had to eat the closest thing. But I love this chain and Japanese pastas so there was nothing to regret.

Ham and cheese sandwich from Arabica – this sandwich was recommended t me by a friend in Tokyo who said she has it every time she goes to Kyoto. It is rely an excellent sandwich, with a crispy baguette, soft prosciutto, and butter.

Curry plate lunch – this was from one of my favorite cafes, Independents. We had their set lunch plate that say which was a Japanese take on Thai curry with a salad and soup. Technically not a western dish, but very inspired by western interpretations of taste.

Pate sandwich and Egg sandwich – both these sandwiches were from Gabor Café, and I am so, so, so glad we decided to get them. The pate sandwich was the best I have had anywhere, and the egg sandwich (on the cover of a magazine) was divine. This café also has an excellent ambiance and drinks.

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