Posts Tagged 'Japanese food'

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.

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

A Real Cafe from a Ghibli Movie

Today I went to a special place, possibly one of my favourite places in Tokyo I’ve been to in the time I’ve stayed here. But first let me tell you about one of my favourite films of all time (yes, it’s relevant)!

The Cat ReturnsOr Neko no Ongaeshi in Japanese. It’s an old Studio Ghibli film, and it came out more than a decade ago when I was 7 or 8. I couldn’t get enough of all those cats—even the human protagonist turns into one—and years later it’s still one of the few shows I always go back to.

Anyway, these fish cookies are a recurring motif in The Cat Returns and a symbol of friendship between cat and girl. And they’re the same ones in the first picture on top. They’re real!

Everyone knows the beauty that is Ghibli art; this scene of a cake shop was just one of many gorgeous shots in The Cat Returns. What’s less known is probably the real shop that it was modelled after. The director of the film based it on an actual cafe in Koenji, Tokyo, and I never knew until I stumbled across it online. So of course I went to look for it

It was just right there around the corner of the street! So modest, so unadorned, but so surreal to see come straight out of the Ghibli film I love so much. It’s in a quiet neighbourhood and not a lot of people pass by. There aren’t often fans or people who watched the movie coming for a pilgrimage either, probably because The Cat Returns isn’t as known as some of Ghibli’s bigger hits.

Inside the cafe hangs a framed message from Morita Hiroyuki, the man who directed The Cat Returns, and it’s the most adorable autograph I’ve seen.

“Thank you for not only appearing in our The Cat Returns, but for even making these cookies in real life!” The famous fish-shaped cookies initially appeared only on the film and weren’t sold in original cake shop, but it seems that once they found out they were in a Ghibli movie they decided to make them for real as thanks to the director. And I’m so glad they did

They keep lots of film memorabilia inside, and a guest book for people to write in. It’s not a big cake shop, but there are a bunch of stools lined up along the wall and the counter for people to sit in and have tea. When I dropped by there were two grannies talking away with the shopkeeper while eating cake, so it seems like a good place to come to when you want some peace and dessert.

I only got the cookies and had to dash, but I enjoyed my 5 minutes inside lots. And the other 10 spent taking photos outside.

Tokyo never stops surprising me; I didn’t think I’d come across a place so familiar yet what was always just a fictional part of my childhood. Coming here made me feel like watching The Cat Returns all over again. And if you haven’t seen it before, you should too! It’s highly underrated and I need to share this imaginative gem of a Ghibli film with everyone. And maybe cookies, if there’re some left.

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

Youtube
Ameba
Twitter
Askfm

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Counter

wordpress analytics