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Guys, I went out. I went out and tried a new place. I finally left the comfort of my couch & Netflix, closed my kitchen, and ventured out to explore some of what is new in the wilderness of Dubai’s F&B situation. My choice of destination: the hottest new talk of the town: Pheonix Social Club at The H Hotel.

As I walked in, I was pleased by the dimly lit interiors and 3 levels of seating, thus giving it the illusion of being much larger and roomier. The private room looked like a fun time waiting to happen, and live music is always a treat (even when it’s a little off-tune, as it was here)

We had the Experimental Tuesdays menu which included all of the below items (and originally the duck breast instead of the pumpkin I went for because the former had red wine jus), however, I will list down the ala carte prices for better reference.

Tandoor bread with wagyu pancia  herb cream, semi-dried tomatoes and fennel (AED 48)

The (already) famous chicken liver parfait with creme fraiche, caramelized yogurt, pickled shallots, endives, and crystalized rose. (AED 40)

Hamachi ceviche with burnt avocado, tiger’s milk, chili oil, sesame and radish. (AED 75)

My friend’s cocktail, AED 55

The white asparagus with smoked potato espuma, slow cooked egg, caviar and gold leaf (AED 70). This was my favorite course of the night.

Chargrilled octopus with yuzu kosho, miso foam, grapes, pickles kohlrabi and nori powder. A little chewier than I would have liked.

Tortellini with porcini beurre monte, parmigiana-reggiano crisps, fresh truffle and braised beef cheek (or mushroom). AED 75.

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So, last month (WOW, I started this post on Halal Food in Japan only a month after we got back from Japan, abandoned it and now it has nearly been a year! I do apologize) M and I set off on our maiden voyage to the land of my dreams: Japan. It was a rollercoaster of a trip (we weren’t expecting to get caught in the middle of an earthquake in Osaka), but we definitely left large chunks of our hearts behind and can’t wait to go back. There’s a reason why Japan is on so many bucket lists. It’s the perfect mix of culture, history, heritage, modernism, technology and futuristic trends. It amazed us how in only an hour you could get from a bustling metropolitan city to serene tea valleys. Japan is the best of ALL worlds.

When we were planning our trip, we were fully aware of and prepared for the fact that our halal-conscious selves would only be able to eat a small fraction of Japans culinary brilliance, and lowered our expectations to the point of convincing ourselves that this would not be a foodcation, and that we would not make food the focal point of this trip (which is a huge ask from two people who love to eat). I mean, we knew that we could always eat sushi, but much to our delight, there were a lot more halal food options, and even pork-free/seafood only options than we had anticipated, and it should come as no surprise that most of the things we ate in Japan were pure and utter bliss and there was PLENTY of halal food in Japan.

I must admit that while a lot of blogs and vlogs promise that there is no bad food in Japan, I beg to differ. We actually had some quite underwhelming dishes from some very overhyped places, which were definite tourist traps. Dotonburi is a perfect example. That said, while not all the sushi/takoyaki/ramen/etc. we had in Japan was mind-blowing, we did have the best sushi/takoyaki/ramen/etc of our lives in Japan, so it really is a matter of where you eat from, which is easier said than done in the land that has so many restaurants that it has more Michelin stars that New York, Paris and London combined!

Here are some of the best things we had in Japan (all either halal food or simply seafood), and you should too!

  • Tea! I know, this is kind of an obvious one but we have to talk about this. We’ve been to Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Japan when it comes to Far Eastern countries, and Japan has been the only country where we found an abundance of good old, unsweetened, absolutely phenomenal tea. Singapore is more about Kopi, Malaysia most about Teh Tariq, Thailand all about Thai Milk Tea, but Japan is what’s heaven for all you tea lovers! From Oolong to Hojicha to Sencha to Matcha and many more, Japan is truly tea heaven! Do try to cook yourself an authentic Japanese tea ceremony experience.

  • Matcha! This requires no explanation, as Japan is where matcha was born, as were the hundreds of matcha flavored desserts, sweets, ice-creams, drinks and even savory foods. You don’t have to look hard to find matcha flavored treats, but I do highly recommend the best and richest matcha gelato we’ve ever had, at Nanaya Gelato in Shibuya. If you’re new to matcha, start with Level 1, but we had the Level 7 and it was phenomenal! You can also find matcha powder, and matcha flavored chocolates here.

 

  • Okonomiyaki: by far one of the best things we ate in Japan, and our only regret is not having more of it! I can’t remember for the life of me the name of the place where we had the (best) Okonomiyaki (ever), but it was in the alley to the very right of Tsutaya in Shibuya, if you have your back facing Tsutaya. Just a few steps in, you’ll see a sign prompting you to go upstairs for the most delicious Okonomiyaki.

  • Tempura: There are a million places you can have tempura in Japan, but the one we tried and fell in love with was Tenya Tendon. You can find it anywhere, it’s cheap and its absolutely delicious. Read all about it here.

This was a special Onigiri meal we had in Wazuka

  • Onigiri: one of the easiest things to find at every 7 Eleven and Family Mart. Beware though, as is the case with most convenience store food, the ones here aren’t that great. The best Onigiri we had was at a store specializing in onigiri, at the East exit of Ikebukuro station, called Bongo.

  • Takoyaki: M’s favorite Japanese snack. He must’ve had 20 plates of these in the 2 weeks we were there, but interestingly enough, although this dish originates from Osaka, we enjoyed the versions we had in Tokyo far more. Perhaps because most of the places we tried in Osaka were tourist traps?
Click to view slideshow.
  • Ramen. I mean, this really should have been the first thing I mentioned, because how does one go to Japan and NOT have one of the biggest culinary marvels in this world? It’s NOT just soupy noodles, it’s science and an art to have the perfectly springy noodles, and smooth but rich broth that will feel like a hug from inside with every sip. Our favorite Halal Ramen spot in Tokyo with Shinjuku Gyoen Ramen Ouka. The best we had in Kyoto was Ayam Ya Karasuma. We always went for the spicier options, which are so perfect on a cold and rainy day!

  • Baked goods. Fact: the Japanese do everything better, so why would baked good be any exception? Some of the bakeries sell extremely kawaii (cute) breads and buns, and you’ll find very unique flavors ranging from Azuki through matcha to sesame to katsu and so on. Just beware of one thing: in some places, even the apparently vegetarian buns have lard in them, so make sure you google translate and ask.

  • Yuzu Ice-lollies, or any ice-llollies really, but when in Japan, why NOT have the best flavor of all?

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The last pizza place I really loved was Matto Dubai and I’ve since fallen in love with Luigia as well. Located at the Rixos Premium JBR, Luigia is a tribute to grandmothers and the love they put into every meal they make. I have a very soft spot for my grandmother, but this in no way influenced any bias towards how much I loved this restaurant.

The ambience is quite “Moulin Rouge”, for lack of a better description, and I don’t know why the choice of decor comprises of red walls and lilac chairs, but it definitely is distinctly memorable.

The cocktail selection was unimpressive in variety but delivered quite well on the balance and refreshment front.

Attention to detail is clear, even with the details often overlooked by most restaurants. The bread basket is one of the best you’ll have in Dubai, soft and fluffy yet crusty enough to soak up all the good stuff yet hold it’s own.

Even the oils and balsamic are truly superior.

Of my absolute favorite things at Luigia that I always reorder are the pizza rosettes. There are always 3 things that make or break a pizza: the dough, the sauce and the cheese. The quality of all of these need to be just right, and if you look at that char on this crust and that truffle on top as a bonus and don’t start salivating, I don’t know who hurt you.

When it comes to their menu, pizzas and otherwise, I must admit it’s awfully overwhelming, and I always find menus items that are headlined in a foreign language and described in English to be a little confusing and dizzying.

Once you can get past the chaos on the menu of the hundreds of items listed, order any pizza, absolutely any one at all, and fall completely and blissfully in love as you fine into that perfect crust, get a mouthful of marinara and cheese, use the slightly charred crust to wipe off some chili oil on your plate, and thank me later.

The post Luigia Dubai – The Pizza Place that won’t disappoint appeared first on passmethedimsum.com.

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Last weekend I attended an exciting workshop on Dashi, hosted by none other than Dubai’s most celebrated Japanese culinary teacher: Chef Tatsu. The venue: Dubai’s hottest (and my favorite) Asian grocery, 1004gourmet.  This is where I got to learn how to make the very special Japanese Dashi egg custard

Because I get invited to so many cooking classes and workshops – many of which are with decorated chefs- (wow, how entitled do I sound?), it’s highly unlikely for me to sign up for a paid cooking class, and that’s the blunt truth. This class, however, was one I wanted to attend, for 2 reasons:

  1. It was being held at 1004gourmet and their classes are very well thought out and always impart valuable knowledge
  2. The agenda was extremely unusual and very specific. Chef Tatsu promised to educate us on how to make proper Dashi, and then to use it in 4 (!) different authentic Japanese recipes

I was sold. I walked in only vaguely familiar with Dashi, completely unaware of how to make it from scratch and at best seeking recipes I could use my instant Dashi powder from Japan in. I walked away with a whole new appreciation for the process and the understood the different nuances between types of Dashi and how its a natural source of MSG or umami.

I also realized that a lot of those Japanese dishes which taste simple enough for you to appreciate every individual ingredient but still have an unidentifiable, magical undertone bringing them together are actually bound  together with some good Dashi. The “umami” in them is the Dashi.

The class started with us blind taste testing and trying to guess the types of 4 different types of Dashi. We then learnt 4 recipes that could be made using said Dashi, the most technical of which was Chawanmushi – a steamed Japanese Dashi egg custard. I’ll share all the recipes with you one by one, but for now, here is Chef Tatsu’s Japanese Dashi and Egg Custard Recipe:

This is what the chawanmushi looks like right after being steamed…

And this is what it looks like after it’s coated with the thickened/congealed  Dashi broth and crabstick….

Here’s Chef Tatsu’s foolproof Chawanmushi recipe

Serving size: 3-4

Ingredients:

  • 320g dashi
  • 20g mirin
  • 2 Eggs
  • 20g Kanikama (crabsticks)
  • 300g shiitake mushrooms (cut into small pieces)
  • 5g chopped spring onions

Sauce:

  • 150g Dashi
  • 10g Usukuchi soy sauce
  • 10g mirin
  • 5g katakuriko
  • 5g water

Method:

  1. In a mixing bowl, whisk eggs, Dashi, sou sauce and Mirin. Strain this mixture through a fine sieve into ramekins to remove any impurities. Fill ramekins to about 3/4 as the mixture will rise as it cooks
  2. Add the slices of shiitake mushrooms into the cups and place them in the steamer
  3. Steam at high heat for 5-10 minutes until the surface hardens. Then reduce to medium heat and steam for another 10-15 minutes. Chef with a wooden skewer to toothpick to see if it comes it clean (which means it’s done)
  4. Remove from heat and chill in the refrigerator
  5. In a separate pot, mix the remaining dashi, usukuchi soy sauce, Mirin and bring to boil. Mix the katakuriko and water in a small bowl, then add to dashi mixture. Remove the heat and chill in the refrigerator.
  6. When you’re ready to serve, garnish the chawanmushi with kanikama, add sauce and garnish with chopped spring onion.

Pro Tip shared by my dear chef friend Alicia (who also happens to be the head of sales and marketing at 1004gourmet:

To prevent overheating when steaming on a lower temperature, a great way for temperature maintenance is placing two chopsticks under the lid, close to the rim. This allows enough steam to escape while the custard continues getting steamed

The post Japanese Dashi Egg Custard Chawanmushi appeared first on passmethedimsum.com.

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Chinese tea boiled eggs (a.k.a marble eggs) are commonly sold as a snack by street vendors at night markets in China and Chinese stores and community get togethers all over the world.

I haven’t been to China, but I’ve had these in Malaysia, at a tea shop called Purple Cane, which you can find at Mid Valley Megamall amongst many other locations (and previously Sunway Pyramid Mall too, shame that branch shut down). The distinct fragrance (which is not everyone’s cup of tea, pun intended) can lead you to the store from meters away, and rumor has it that they never throw away the broth, but just keep adding to it.

I hear that in Taiwan, these are a common fixture at 7 Elevens and convenience stores.

Chinese Tea Boiled Eggs are very simple:

  1. Wash eggs well
  2. Boil them
  3. Crack them lightly
  4. Submerge in tea and spice broth and simmer for 30 minutes
  5. Add soy sauce, rock sugar and salt
  6. Simmer low and slow for 3 to 24 hours. The longer, the better.

The post Chinese Tea Boiled Eggs appeared first on passmethedimsum.com.

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Pass Me The Dimsum by Haiya - 1M ago

Akihabara – the most “Tokyo” experience we had in Japan. I was foolish to have put it off as one of the last stops on our trip itinerary, when in fact this should’ve been one of our first stops in Tokyo! It was the most intense version of Tokyo we saw, the kind you see on TV and in movies and if that’s a side of Tokyo you’re seeking to experience, this is the place to be.

From anime stores through maid cafes, cat cafes, vintage video game stores, arcades, customized everything to every single electronic item under the sun, Akihabara had it all!

Everything here felt like We even got handmade “Hanko” stamps with our names, which although we could have gotten for half the price in a vending machine at DonK, we found a handmade version to be a lot more memorable and personal.

Let’s take a walk through Akihabara now, shall we?

First things first, the best way to get there is via the JR line.

You’ll see hordes of electronic stores….

….Anime stores….

The quirkiest vending machines….

…cat cafes, where you can pay a small fee to go pet some cats for a while…

…and, of course, the famous maid cafes. You’ll see lots of girls dressed up as anime characters, passing out menus for said maid cafes.

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Anybody and everybody who has ever visited my blog or social pages knows how much I love matcha. So when Erwin Heuseff shared in one of his vlogs how Nanaya Aoyama Gelato has some of the best matcha gelato in Japan, of course I had to go.


They have branches in Shibuya, Harajuku and Ebisu, and while I originally intended on heading to the one in Ebisu (which is the one Erwin spoke of in this vlog), we ended up going to the one in Shibuya as we were there when I searched for it and it was so close that we just walked over and quite enjoyed the pleasant weather that’s a treat in it’s own to us desert folk (and by that I mean it was raining pouring).

Nanaya Aoyama Gelato was the quaintest little place in a residential alley, effortlessly but barely tucked away from the hoarder of tourists on the Scramble Crossing not so far away, and I could feel a pair of heels click with joy in my heart the second we spotted it!

You can pick from a variety of flavors, of which a large part includes 7 different strengths of matcha! No.7 is is the strongest, and the most highly recommended one. It’s so strong, in fact, that it looks dark green in color, and although we paired it with a scoop of black sesame (which is a very strong flavor in it’s own), the bittersweet beauty of the matcha still shined through and made sure to secure the spotlight.

If you’re not into gelato, you can pick from several cold brews and tea flavored chocolates – the latter of which incidentally also make great edible souvenirs to take back home! Click here for a full list of suggested souvenirs and shopping tips to keep on your fingertips for the next time you’re in Japan!

Speaking of souvenirs, if you find yourself in Nanaya Aoyama Gelato in Tokyo, do grab yourself some of these bags of tea. They’re shockingly cheap at just 500 yen per pack, and were still some of the best tea I’ve ever had the pleasure of steeping and sipping.

M and I enjoyed our gelatos out on the porch, under the pitter-patter of the raindrops on the tin roof, as we watched the authentic Japanese restaurant across the street setting up for dinner service. It was one of those perfect moments which remind you of why it’s so important to travel with your partner (or on your own – you do you), and was certainly one of the most enjoyable and unforgettable cups of gelato/ice-cream I’ve ever had.

The post Nanaya Aoyama Gelato Shibuya – Best matcha gelato in Tokyo appeared first on passmethedimsum.com.

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During our trip to Tokyo, M was on a deadline to finish an online INSEAD course he had signed up for. Sometimes, he would call it a night earlier, to finish his assignments, and I would explore the alleys and backstreets on my own, something I absolutely love doing when I travel. On one such day I passed by a tempura and soba joint close to our hotel (in Ginza) that smelled amazing : Tenya Tendon.


A closer look revealed that their menu was almost entirely seafood and vegetable based, so I clicked my heels with joy and made it a point to come back with M. Sadly, I didn’t make note of the name and all I remembered was that it was 1. close to our hotel and 2. had a yellow and blue banner, and it just so happened that the day we did decide to go looking for it was the day I had already walked close to 30 thousand (I’m even exaggerating!) steps and felt like my feet would completely crumble under me. M encouraged me to keep looking just a bit more, and we finally found the blue and yellow banner which looked like the light at the end of the tunnel (and shining down from up above).


Boy oh boy, was it worth the extra steps. This was by far the best soba (both hot and cold) and tempura we had EVER had. Yes, I’m sure there might be better options in Japan, but that can be a never ending debate in the land of unlimited and very high quality food. Tenya Tendon was the best tempura and soba WE have ever had till date, especially for it’s price. This was cheap food, and it was good food.

I soon discovered that they are in fact a chain and have many branches throughout the city, and we loved Tenya Tendon so much, in fact, that I started having a meal or snack there every single day till we left. I still recommend it to everyone I know who is going to Japan, especially if they’re looking for a less porky place and are on a budget.

Mmm…just writing this post is reminding me of the yuzu fragranced Dashi broth…..

The post Tenya Tendon Tokyo appeared first on passmethedimsum.com.

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Evvvvveryone knows how much I love Japan, Japanese culture, Japanese food, Japanese teas…. so when I heard of Bokksu, I was ecstatic. “Matcha” is almost synonymous with my name, but the one quintessential Japanese flavor I haven’t had the privilege of trying too much of is Sakura. Lucky for me, the first Bokksu I ordered was the Hanami festival edition, in celebration of Sakura season.

Food is the best way to understand a country or region’s culture, and – to be quite frank- it’s really the only thing we are interested in when we travel. We’re really not super interested in temples, shrines, churches and museums- we’re only wherever we are for the food, and man oh man, anyone who has ever been to Japan can vouch for how phenomenal the food there is.

The challenge and dilemma in being a food traveller or going on what I like to call “food cations”, is choosing between trying fresh meals and snacks vs. packaged ones. Naturally, the former always takes precedence, and I just end up filling my luggage with all the snacks and ingredients I can fit in.

The supplies I bring back to hang on to my trips for as long as possible are but finite, and so I’m then torn between stretching them out for as long as possible vs. enjoying them to the max.

Another challenge we face in most Asian countries and particularly faced in Japan, was that all the labels are in Japanese, and Google translate only gave me a vague idea of what I’m about to buy. 

Enter Bokksu, the answer to all my snacking prayers. With this Japanese snack subscription box, I knew I could expect a box full of exciting Japanese treats, but I was giddy with excitement when I saw that the treats come with a very elaborate 16 page cultural guide detailing on the origins and key ingredients of each snack, as well and what they are best paired with. I LOVE that even when I’m not in Japan, my palate and I can keep getting educated on the marvels of Japanese snacks!

So far, I had the Sakura mochi with a freshly whisked bowl of ceremonial matcha, and I can’t wait to try more and update this space as I go along!

Suffice to say, I will happily be ordering a Bokksu subscription box every month henceforth, because the joy I get from trying out new Japanese snacks is something I really look forward to coming home to after work every day. The subscription costs U.S 22 – $33 per box/month, depending on which one you choose, and each of them come with a 16 page cultural guide, and free shipping worldwide. You can even see what the upcoming month’s theme is, so that you can lose sleep with excitement and anticipation, as do I. I will never be the girl that looks forward to a Sephora subscription box, this is my jam, this is what I am now living for and you can watch this space for updates and reviews on a LOT of Japanese snacks now!

The post Bokksu – Hanami Festival appeared first on passmethedimsum.com.

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There are people who can travel with a backpack, and then there’s me: the f.o.b that takes empty luggage packed in and around one another like a set of Russian dolls. Why you might ask? Because I like to bring all the grocery stores back with me. I’m not one to buy cheap/rubbish souvenirs, but I tend to buy every local/indigenous ingredient I can get my hands on and props that I can use for my food styling. In Japan, however, the land of quality, we ended up finding quite a few things to bring back, and so I’ve compiled a list of the best Japanese souvenirs you should consider buying, and what you should buy in Japan.

Pro TIps:

  • Always carry your passport with you in order to claim the tax refunds/exemptions for tourists
  • The day you plan on shopping, take an empty backpack or carry-on luggage with you when you go shopping. Being able to drag/roll 10 kilos of shopping is a lot easier than having to carry it
  • Take a portable, lightweight hanging luggage-weighing scale with you when you travel. You can’t always rely on the hotel weighing scale (which is what happened with us, the hotel only had ONE scale it said I weigh 11 kilos so I knew it couldn’t be trusted)
  • Try to buy boxes or packs of individually wrapped items

Where to Shop:

  • I highly recommend going to Don Quijote for souvenirs and skincare, and then only getting from other places what you couldn’t find here. We bought all our fridge magnets and key chains from Kyoto, and regretted it later because we found all those things at Don Quijote, cheaper and offering a tax exemption.
  • Matsumoto Kiyoshi, Tokyu Hands and Marui are are great options for skincare and cosmetics, but you’ll almost always find a drugstore very close to you, no matter where you are.
  • Asakusa has some great souvenirs ranging from magnets through keychains through edible goods to crockery.
  • Harajuku for funky stuff or Supreme merchandise you won’t find anywhere else as its already sold out. We also saw the flagship Line Friends store here, which excited me more than it should excite a 30-year old woman.
  • Ginza for high-end brands and designer items
  • Shibuya for all sorts of random stuff
  • Tsutaya in Shibuya if you’re looking for the biggest music store in Tokyo
  • Loft for cool, funky things from Bento boxes that look like Le Creusets to phone covers.
  • “Akihabara” at the airport, after immigration is a great store to buy last minute wagashi, kit kats, cookies and mochi! I’d recommend leaving some empty space in your carry-on luggage for last minute impulse purchases here, as I found some items here that we didn’t see anywhere else (Hokkaido Melon Kit Kats and the best fromage filled paper-thin cookies!)
  • Department stores like Takashimaya, Tokyu Hands, Marui, Mitsukoshi and NeWoman promise interesting things across a variety of budgets. I found Mitsukoshi and Takashimaya to have the nicest (and more expensive) things.
  • Daimaru: This is the Mecca of premium wagashi, sweets and chocolates that are bound to wow the recipient!
  • Akihabara: for all the vintage and new video games, electronics and anime. We even saw Star Wars light saber chopsticks here!

Edible Souvenirs:

  • Dashi stock powder from the Food Hall of Takashimayanin Shinjuku. I’m sure you could find this in lots of places, we personally saw it in Tsukiji Market too, but the quality of the pack we got from Takashimaya was palpably superior.
  • Tsukemono or Japanese pickles from Tsukiji market. Japanese pickles are most unique and unlike any others. They often comprise of a variety of different vegetables and herbs and are usually brined. I especially love Umeboshi and varieties with cucumber, daikon, purple shiso leaves and variations of seaweed.
  • Hojicha: is one of the most distinctive taste from any other Japanese green tea, as it’s roasted in a porcelain pot over charcoal, and this process was first performed in Kyoto.
  • Matcha Kit: Needs to introduction, but if you’re keen to learn more about matcha, click here.
  • Any tea, really, be it Gyokoro, Sencha or oolong.
  • Senbei: these crispy Japanese rice crackers come in various shapes, sizes and flavors and make for perfect gifts for those who don’t have a sweet tooth. They’re often individually wrapped too, which is great for adding to assorted goody bags
  • Otsumami: smaller, nut-sized crispy Japanese snacks ranging from smaller rice crackers through the sorts of crispy peas. These make for perfect nibbles with fizzy and malt beverages
  • Kit Kat of all the unique flavors are quite possibly some of the most popular and iconic souvenirs from Japan. You can get these from the Kit Kat shoes, but also cheaper (and equally good) ones from from Don Quijote
  • Matcha salt: I actually bought this by accident, but it has since become one of my favorite seasonings. The salt is ground as finely as the matcha!
  • Sakura infused salt: If you happen to go during cherry blossom season, this might be a cool souvenir to bring back for the food enthusiast in your life.
  • Furikake: is a dry seasoning meant to be sprinkled atop cooked rice, vegetables and fish.  It typically comprises of dried fish, sesame seeds, chopped seaweed, sugar, salt, and monosodium glutamate a.k.a perfect umami
  • Wagashi: Last but not the least, the most obvious and perhaps the easiest souvenir you can buy, even from the Akihabara at the airport, is a delectable box of wagashi. These boxes are always beautifully wrapped (true to Japanese ways), and can be found within any budget of 500 yen upwards.

Inedible/Keepsake souvenirs

  • Magnets from Don Quijote or Asakusa
  • T-shirts: because who doesn’t want to wear the Hokusai wave? Uniqlo actually have some excellent quality clothing at reasonable prices and I stock up on office wear and PJs both from here.
  • Name Stamp: You can get this for as little as 500 yen from the vending machine in the Don Quijote at Ginza, which also translates your name from English, or you could do what we did: get it handmade for as little as 1500 yen in Akihabara. The handmade ones are acceptable for official use in Japan, but if it’s just for a souvenir, go for the vending machine
  • Skin Care Galore. Japanese skincare is such big business that I’ve done a separate and very extensive post on it. You can read more on it here.
  • Chopsticks and chopsticks’ rests: because obviously. You can find chopsticks for anywhere between 100 yen at Daiso to thousands at luxury stores. You can even get them personalized! Some specialized chopsticks’ stores help you pick the pair that fits best in your hands. We even saw Star Wars light saber chopsticks in Akihabara.
  • Cooking chopsticks: These are much longer than regular chopsticks. The ones at Daiso are not only good for cooking but also for eating chips out of big bags and keeping your hands clean. Then there are versions that are so big and thick they look like drumsticks, which are more for the pros making large quantities of food but of course I had to get a pair.
  • Rilakuma Merch. We found a Rilakuma store in Kyoto on the way to Arashiyama that we can only describe as a Rilakuma shrine, and my happy place.
  • Line Bear merch from the flagship store in Harajuku. Line is Japan’s version of WhatsApp, and their emojis are so cute and iconic that we witnessed a huge line outside the store for an exclusive sale open to app users only. You won’t find a single person in Japan who uses WhatsApp, so  the merchandise store should come as no surprise really. I wanted to buy everything as it was so kawaii, but limited myself to the most adorable mug and pencil case
  • Plates/bowls/crockery: from Kappabashi.
  • Cast Iron Kettle: I found the most beautiful one for 120 USD, and it looks a lot more expensive!
  • Japanese silk fan
  • Bento boxes for all those office lunches. You can find the best variety at Loft in Shibuya.

I’ll update this space when and as I remember/stumble across more things I must have bought and forgotten. Thanks for reading and do comment below if you have some fun suggestions to add!

The post Best Japanese Souvenirs and Shopping Tips for Japan appeared first on passmethedimsum.com.

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