Food! Man! There are so many options for eating food in Japan depending on what you’re looking for and how much time you have and one such place that I’d read about and wanted to try was ‘izakaya’. Now, it’s not a fancy place. It’s not a place to order one full-course meal, but it is a place to try lots of different types of food that are unique to the location and the cooks. It’s also known for being rather cheap. You know, until you start ordering a dozen different foods to try and some sake to wash it down with(which is a must for izakaya). :p Woops!
To start off the night, my friend and I chose to try some oden (above) that we’d heard so much about. What’s oden, you ask? It’s multiple foods that stew in a broth until served and there can be dozens of different of ingredients to choose from. (We tried all ten! :p) This plate above was our menagerie of oden and includes four different types of tofu, bamboo, turnip, beef, potato, & chikuwa(fish sausages). There is also a yellow mustard of some type to go with it, but I was told it was spicy. So I passed. I’m not big on spicy food. (I know. I’m in the wrong part of the world. Haha!)
Another of the countless foods I wanted to try while in Japan was yaki onigiri (above). Before this I had tried… probably a half dozen different types of onigiri, which is just a rice ball in the shape of a triangle and often with some seasons added. Yet, the Japanese LOVE to grill things. (Literally half their foods have the word ‘yaki’ in them, which means grilled. Haha!) And onigiri is no exception. So, I had to try.
Yet, it turns out that the char is one of the most important parts of the flavor for yaki onigiri. Um… Yeah, don’t think I’ll try that again. I don’t like char on my burgers, my brats, or any other grilled item and yaki onigiri is no exception. So, I think I’ll stick to my non-grilled onigiri from on. ^.^
Now, my Japanese friend want to make sure I got the full izakaya experience. So, she just kept ordering food. :p In addition to the food above, we also tried hinepon(above). This is beef and raw onions. Unfortunately, the beef seemed to be all the bad parts or whatever was left over from the cow after the good parts were taken. It was tough and chewy and had too much fat. Not my cup of tea. Though, the onions were quite good.
However, the last food we tried takes the cake when it comes to ‘weird’. It’s called nankotsu(above), which is grilled chicken cartilage. You heard me right: chicken cartilage. Do you know how hard (and disgusting) it is to try and chew cartilage? o.O Yeah, I don’t recommend it. The only good part about nankotsu was the matcha powder & salt sprinkled on top. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to mask the texture of nankotsu. So, I passed on this one, too. >.>
The only normal food on the menu was yakitori. There’s ‘yaki’ again! Haha! This happens to just be grilled chicken, but it had no seasoning and (again) kind of tasted like char. So, what have I learned? Perhaps izakaya isn’t the place for me to get food in the future. Oh well! You live. You learn. You experience and I don’t regret anything!