Archive for the 'Food' Category

Mugimaru 2: Steamed Buns in a Secret Alley

More hidden places! I’m starting to spend my free time just digging these up around Tokyo.

I found this place called Mugimaru 2—a tiny cafe along a narrow alley in Kagurazaka that serves traditional manju.  Lots of flavours and lots of fillings; they’re all handmade by the lady owner and delivered to you straight from the steamer.

The first time I actually walked right past because I didn’t see the entrance shrouded in all that ivy. How’s that for a hidden spot?! It was kind of like a treehouse, but on the ground. What a mysterious feel. You can’t even go inside without crouching so you don’t hit the low door frame.

But once you’re inside it’s a real gem of a placeEverything’s cosy and worn out, with lots of knick-knacks spilling out everywhere. The owner decorates the space with things she received from customers, so it was fun thinking about where it all came from. There’s supposed to be a cat too, apparently, but it wasn’t there that day I went.

This is my favourite bit! A Mount Fuji wall panel, plus a little round table and cushions to make you feel like you’re having tea by Mount Fuji haha.

Like I said last week, the ice cream cravings are starting for real. I’ll trade up my usual tea for a matcha float if it means getting a big scoop of soft serve ice cream in it. The debate is, do I eat my ice cream before it melts or the manju before they get cold?

I ate the ice cream first. But even though the manju did cool off a little while waiting they were still soft and fluffy with some warmth left in the thick bean paste. I just really love anything sweet and squishable. Plus I got a good combination of flavours—uguisu bean paste and chocolate.

I haven’t had this much fun coming to a cafe in a while. Mostly because there weren’t any other customers, so it just felt like I was at home surrounded by plants and rugs and the smell of buns steaming in kitchen downstairs. It’s not the most pristine or modern of interiors, but it’s full of soulI mean, those cracks in the paint don’t come without years of history.

Kosoan: Hidden Japanese Tea House in Tokyo

We’re on the cusp of summer, which means I’m going to be consuming a lot of ice cream for the next few months till we’re back to sweater weather. And Japanese desserts in the summer are just so good at cooling you downI went to Jiyugaoka to check out the teahouse Kosoan, mostly because it’s such a beautiful place and also because I wanted to eat some anmitsu.

It’s quite literally hidden. The place is just so shrouded with greenery you miss it if you don’t pay attention. It was built in 1954, so the traditional aesthetic is off the charts. Sitting inside made me feel like I was visiting someone’s old Japanese house, complete with tatami and potted plants.

They served the daintiest slice of cake I’d ever seen. I can’t even remember what flavour it was because my portion was gone in two bites, but it was a good side to the strawberry smoothie. And that was kind of underwhelming, but that’s Japanese sweets for you. Less pizzazz, more comfort.

The anmitsu was the real starThere’s nothing more attractive than a bowl snugly packed with fruits, chunky red bean and a big scoop of ice cream. I love having lots of colours and different tastes and textures, so this was a winner for me.

I’d willingly travel to Jiyugaoka again just for teatime at Kosoan, because it’s such a pretty enclave tucked away in the streets (plus with good dessert to boot). Plus the neighbourhood has tons of things to do and see, so you could really just spend a few hours walking around and looking at the shops.

May Conbini Favourites

Top picks from the convenience store for the month of May (which is already almost over, HOW?)—ready, get set, go.

When you can’t afford fancy macarons, get them cheap from the conbini. Family Mart’s always coming up with new macaron series, so once in a while I get them when I find a craving coming on and I only have that much spare change. These new ones have twice as much cream as usual, so they look bigger and prettier in the box

Here’s Kumamon with his own Pocky, proudly packaged in support of Kumamoto. I don’t know why I like him so much, but if he comes on a snack box I’m buying it. My friends make fun of Kumamon but I think he’s just trying his hardest to be cute. And that’s endearing! Anyway, the Pocky was good

Next up on the weird characters lineup. Gudetama mochiThis was basically mochi with a kind of custard pudding filling inside—a lot better straight out of the fridge, because one time I ate them in the middle of the day and they’d melted inside. But they tasted great when they were nice and cold and firm.

I love it when conbini actually put effort into jazzing up their desserts. Lawson had this lion-shaped roll cake for Children’s Day in Japan, so of course I tried it. The lion’s face was one big mound of custard! That was delicious. Plus I don’t often eat mikan, so it was nice having so many juicy ones all around the cake.

Last one. Kuromitsu and kinako-flavoured sweet potato chips from Calbee, here one minute and gone the next. It’s actually scary how fast these disappear once you open the lid. But I really like these Japanese flavours! I’m always a fan of kuromitsu (black honey syrup? Literally, anyway) so it was really the perfect combination.


And that’s all for May! Life is getting even busier…but then again what’s new. At least there’re always different things to look at in the convenience store.

The Farm in the City: Mr.FARMER Cafe

I get frequent assumptions that I live on a diet of pancakes and cafe sweets in Japan, but (once in a while) I actually go out of my way to have salad for lunch. Welcome to Mr.FARMER, a cafe in Tokyo that has successfully gotten lots of people to eat their veggies.

Healthy food, stylish ambience, and full of appropriately sophisticated customers—it’s a trendy place to be even for a neighbourhood like Omotesando. Plus you know a place is really putting itself out there when they serve water infused in three different combinations of fruits and vegetables.

(The only reason why I can’t come to places like this more often is because one salad could buy me a week of meals from the convenience store)

So while I’m here I need to get the best out of it. I had the Cobb salad plate, packed with ingredients and with a fancy arrangement of bread and baked potatoes on the side. My rule of thumb when it comes to salad: the more colours there are, the more likely I am to eat it. It was like eating a collage

And then because I am who I am, I couldn’t stop there and went on to get dessert. Their sweets are a lot more dinky than their massive salad bowls, but I very much enjoyed that stick of tiramisu

It was sunny, so lots of people were taking advantage of the weather and having their lunch out on the terrace.

Since it’s so popular, there was a queue all afternoon.

Health is wealth, which might explain the pricey meals at this cafe. But then everything was delicious, and the atmosphere had a way of making you feel like you belonged in that charming, airy aesthetic. I’d definitely want to go again the next time I want a nutrition splurge

Tokyo Food Diary

Sakura trees are losing the pink and sprouting the green—the season’s crossed over the threshold of spring and said goodbye to those photogenic flowers for another year.

Here’re the last of my sakura food snaps—if I wasn’t taking pictures of the flowers I was walking around Tokyo looking for everything pink and limited edition, like this cupcake I found in a bakery cafe at Nishi-Ogikubo. It’s amazing how much difference one sakura leaf makes to a plain cupcake. Really though, it was salty and sweet and an unforgettable ten minutes spent on a dessert.

Something homemade for a change! Except the pasta. When you walk into a store and see a packet of pastel pink sakura-shaped pasta, there’s no question about it—it sails straight into your basket and then you litter it all over your bento later because it’s just so cute.

A rare choice of drink: Pricey, hyped and taking over my Instagram explore feed, but if there’s anything that can make me go to Starbucks it’s a domed pie crust over a frappe. Creativity right there! The American Cherry Pie Frappuccino came out last week in Japan, and it’s already become a star. I liked the drink okay enough, but the real satisfaction for me was in breaking up that crust and scooping up with the drink.

On to a tale of more humble beverage. I went to the supermarket and saw all these boxes of soy milk, so I swiped them off the shelf and finished them in two days. It’s easy to become a serial soy milk drinker when they come in packaging and flavours as fabulous as the Kikkoman range. I mean…mango soy milk? It was calling my name!

Getting some egg action with the most beautifully constructed quiche. I don’t actually love egg’s benedict—I’m not usually a fan of gooey food that runs all over the plate and leaves a mess, until it comes protected in a buttery quiche crust. This was at Quiche Yorozuika in Omotesando! They just don’t do anything but make really good quiche.

All filled up and ready for the new week!

Cafe itonowa

Cafe itonowa! It’s been making its rounds on Instagram and their seasonal strawberry cakes are something of a poster child so I went to try it for myself. Twice, in fact.

It’s one of those small, Instagrammy cafes where everything is in shades of white and tan and customers walk in with little else but a camera. It was near Asakusa and a bit far out from the city centre, but at opening time there was already a queue. It’s popular!

Their menu is pretty uncluttered, with just a few main items and drinks. And lunch sets, to coax customers into getting a dessert along with their food.

I had the toast set which came with cream of spinach soup, so that was healthy.

On my next visit I tried the curry rice, and that was satisfying too. Brown rice doused in grainy curry with a half-boiled egg cracked on top. And a broccoli for some greens, yum.

If you search itonowa up on Instagram, this is the one that’ll probably show up the most. I’d gone all the way there with the intention of getting their famous strawberry roll cake, so I had it with a cup of hot houjicha milk (hooray for lunch sets). Expectations met

These cafes really make you work; travelling there and looking for them in the maze of streets they tend to hide in takes effort, but so far they’ve been worth the trip. I even went to itonowa a second time! It’s a special kind of joy going to a cafe alone and seeing you’re not the only one alone (ha, the irony).

Cake and Peaceful Days at Cafe SOROR

Recently I’ve been on a hunt for small cafes with pretty desserts so it’s a good thing that there are so many hidden around the streets of Tokyo. Everything is designed with heart, from the interior to the beautifully plated desserts.

I went to SOROR, a cafe in Shin-Otsuka near Ikebukuro. It’s tiny, so sometimes people have to wait outside for a table (I waited). But since it was cold out the staff gave us blankets to keep us warm. So kindPlus the storefront is adorable. I want to sit out there!

Lunch plates are one of my favourite things about Japan. Cafe SOROR had the typical sets with soup and drinks, so I had their bibimbap with apple juice.

Their quiche plate was also good

We finished off with dessert and were completely satisfied with the aesthetic and taste of their homemade cakes. Everything was so pretty! There was also a vase of dried flowers conveniently placed on our table that became a prop for our pictures.

It’s the kind of place that I would go to even by myself—a cosy and unassuming space that lets you enjoy cake in peace.


Welcome ♡

▷ . Cheryl

I'm a university student in Tokyo blogging every weekend about cute food and cute places in Japan٩( ᐛ )و

Read my About Me ☆ to know more.

はじめまして!
大学一年生のシェリルです
毎週日本の可愛い食べ物や場所についてブログ更新していますヽ(´_`) /♪

よろしくお願いします

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