Rating Everything I Ate and Drank in Japan

I don’t know what compelled me to do this, but to be fair, I haven’t done one of these personal blog posts in a while, so why not? Perhaps I miss the days when blogs were just random things in your life that you wrote about. I went to Japan in November 2023 for vacation and it was amazing. Maybe I should become a food blog or something instead. The craziest thing about that country is how it was literally impossible to have a bad meal. You could stumble onto any restaurant, konbini, izakaya or vending machine and the food was high quality. It was kinda crazy to experience firsthand. Whatever, let’s go!

1. Airplane Food

I haven’t been on an airplane in quite a long time, so I was impressed by how much better the quality of airplane meals has gotten. Or maybe because it was Singapore Airlines or something. This was some fusion of Japanese/American cuisine I guess and all in all, it was much better than whatever I expected. 5/10

2. Classic Famichiki – FamilyMart

Famichiki is the truth man. ¥200 for a juicy piece of deep-fried chicken. This was the moment I realized that I couldn’t live in Toronto for the rest of my life. I can’t be paying $7 for something like this anymore. First FamilyMart I waltzed into and it changed everything. 7.5/10

3. G-Zone (Regular Flavor) – Vending Machine

G-Zone is the most popular energy drink available in Japan. They’re dirt cheap too (~¥200 in vending machines). You could get Monster too but there wasn’t really any Red Bull. They kept me going on those 30k step days that lasted well into the night. Bless whoever decided on the bottled design too for carrying around. 7/10

4. Katsukare – Curry Shop C&C Shibuya

This was the only meal I ate on the first day because I was so jet-lagged and excited to explore that I just forgot. I didn’t even feel hungry at that point, but I hadn’t eaten a real meal for like 20 hours and felt compelled to try something. It was one of those “fast food” places where you just tap a button for your order, so it wasn’t a Michelin dining experience or anything. Nevertheless, this ¥700 meal was better than any of the $20 katsukare throughout Toronto. 7/10

5. Steak – ステーキてっぺいHarajuku

It was real early in my trip but I can’t lie, this steak place was probably my favorite. I wandered into the basement level of some building after seeing the sign for STEAK TEPPEI outside. The owner couldn’t really speak English, but I still had a blast talking to him with my broken Japanese. The steak was pretty solid but the big winner was the special garlic sauce they had on top of the cabbage. I don’t know what they were putting in that bad boy but the umami hit like crack.

When you mixed it all together with the rice and steak, it was life-changing. I probably should’ve paid more attention to the steak because it was high-quality stuff but I literally couldn’t focus on anything else. I do remember it was 250g for about ¥2700 though. Also, it was such a random, lowkey place that it took me forever to find it on Google Maps when I got back home. True forbidden knowledge. 10/10.

6. French Toast – Cafe Aaliya Shinjuku

Sometimes, you just gotta follow the crowd. In Tokyo, most restaurants don’t open until 10 or 11am. That means for popular places, there’s usually always a lineup before opening. Well, I didn’t know that was a thing so when I saw a big lineup starting to form on the street corner, I decided to join expecting some cool clothing store or something. I only waited about 15 minutes or so since it was pretty early and discovered that it was a specialty french toast/panini place. So naturally, I got some French toast for breakfast. It was surprisingly good considering I knew nothing about the place. The french toast was really fluffy and melted in your mouth. It also came with three different toppings: blueberry ice cream, marmalade, and caramel. For ¥1000, it was cheap and filling. 9/10

7. Yakitori – Yakitori Mizutaki Toriichizu Nakano

I wandered into this nice little place after a day at Nakano Broadway. A gigantic menu of cheap eats and booze. I went kinda hard with the highballs here. They only had a LINE menu so it took some very poor Japanese to get the orders going. Once it started though, it was pretty good. The gyoza wasn’t anything special but the prices were the main draw here. I went with assorted yakitori here and all 6 ranged from decent to great. Super chill vibes as an izakaya and the whole thing was under ¥2000. 7/10

8. Suntory Craft Boss Fruit Tea – Vending Machine

Decided to try something new from the vending machine that day and who could pass up on a drink emblazoned with the big CRAFT BOSS, a grizzled, mustached dude with a cigar? The fruit tea was just alright and didn’t blow my mind or anything. I think at this point, my expectations had caught up with the quality of the drinks here so it didn’t feel like anything special. Good grape flavor, a little on the sweet side. CRAFT BOSS specializes in coffee for a reason. 6/10.

9. Some other G-Zone Flavors – Somewhere in Akihabara

If you’re gonna try one, might as well try them all. They were all under ¥200 so I got one of each. Wait, I just realized midway through writing this that it’s not actually called G-Zone but rather Zone. The logo is a power button on its side. Too late now I guess because I’ve called it G-Zone forever. To rank these bad boys I’d have to say it’d be Deep Dive (2nd from left), Utopia (1st from left), EGO (5th from left), Crazy Vacances (4th from left), and Typhoon (3rd from left). The OG one was still by far the best though. The difference in taste was honestly pretty minimal across all of them. 6-7/10

10. Tonkatsu – Gyukatsu Ichi Ni San Akihabara

This place was insanely popular considering it was right in the heart of Akihabara and had such high ratings on Google Maps. I had to line up for this one about 45 minutes ahead of opening and I barely made it in at the cutoff (I was number 10 in line out of the 10 seats available). Obviously, you can only order tonkatsu but it was still a fun experience. The waiters could speak English and the only thing you needed to choose was size. I went with the biggest one: 260g for ¥2760. You’re able to cook it as you like with the mini stone grill each person has. The only negative was that my tonkatsu was already a little overcooked when it arrived (as you can see in the pictures) so I wasn’t able to try it rare. 9/10

11. FF14 Eorzea Cafe

Everyone knows you don’t go to the theme cafés in Akihabara for the food but the FF14 one was surprisingly good all things considered. It’s obviously going to be mediocre compared to the rest of Tokyo’s eats but it was cute and had a nice ambiance going on with the low lights and restaurant decorations. I ordered the Fat Cat meat bun (which I promptly spent 10 minutes on poking its cheeks), the Pasta Carbonara, the Reaper drink, and the Zero parfait. A little on the pricey side (I also dropped money on the merch store outside) but it was a good experience overall. The other people at my time slot were JP players so we didn’t converse too much but the waiters understood English. I didn’t win anything in the Gold Saucer draw although I did get 4 coasters at the end. 7.5/10

12. Coffee & Soufflé Pancakes – Hoshino Café Chuo

I went to a random Hoshino Café after seeing the tourist trap prices at Tsukiji Outer Market. I ordered a coffee and two soufflé pancakes and just people watched for an hour through a big window on their second floor. The buzzer to order food was a mess to figure out so my dumbass sat there for 20 minutes before getting food. Still hadn’t gotten over the cultural difference of yelling for a waiter. Nevertheless, an enjoyable lunch at a coffee chain. It was only like ¥800 too. 7/10

13. Ramen – らーめん宣ノ土 Chiyoda

A quick meal in the first place I stumbled into after visiting the aquarium and malls in Ginza. It was another one of those “fast food” places where you hit a button to pick your meal. I didn’t even know this place had a 3.2 on Google Maps until after I finished but ramen is a pretty casual fare anyway. The quality is on par with the $20 bowls in Toronto and I paid ¥900. The pork bone broth was a little too salty but it had a good thick consistency. The meat and eggs gave some heartiness and balanced it nicely. I also got a free refill on noodles at the end. Not particularly memorable but a nice, cheap meal. 6.5/10

14. Pikachu Donut – Mister Donut Odaiba

There was a Pokémon X Mister Donut collaboration happening when I was in Japan. After visiting around Odaiba (Digimon pilgrimage ofc), I went to DiverCity Plaza and grabbed a Pikachu donut at a Mister Donut. It was just shy of ¥300. It was very cute and had a chocolate whipped cream filling. There were also Psyduck and Pokeball versions alongside some non-character designs but I had already eaten lunch. 7/10

15. Yakiniku – Garuva Odaiba/Yakitori – Toritonkun Setagaya

I met up with some students who showed me around Odaiba and we grabbed dinner here at Garuva. The yakiniku was pretty standard fare but there was a wicked view of Tokyo Bay and Rainbow Bridge. The beef was well-marbled and the fattier pieces (not pictured) were delicious. The beef tongue was also quite solid despite being a thinner cut. The price was a little on the higher side but I’m assuming that has to do with the location. Got there at around 6:30pm and it had already gotten dark so the view was lit up by the skyscrapers and neon lights. 7.5/10

Drove up to Setagaya afterwards. There was a bumping bar called Toritonkun with a great atmosphere that we stopped at for drinks and yakitori. The locals were friendly and it was lots of fun. 7/10

16. Caramel Tea Latte – Vending Machine

At a certain point on your trip, you inevitably get drawn to the “Warm” section of the vending machines. You think “Hmm, this is an interesting concept. Cold and warm drinks. It can’t be too bad.” So you grab 2 100-yen coins and slot them in to give it a go. Honestly, this one wasn’t too bad but I’m sure these hit harder in the wintertime. It’s quite sweet (even by Japanese standards) and it’s a pretty short can so there isn’t much. It just made me a little more thirsty. 5/10

17. Matcha Cream Puff/Matcha Latte – Matcha Sweets Kaminari-Issa Asakusa

This specialty matcha store is right behind Senso-ji so I stopped by for a quick bite after I’d seen the temple in full. I grabbed a matcha cream puff which had some powder on top and a ton of matcha cream inside. Surprisingly, it wasn’t too overwhelming and the light flakiness of the pastry helped balance out the earthy/bitter tones. I also accidentally ordered two matcha iced lattes so I chugged both of those bad boys down. There were different levels of matcha flavor strength so I intended to pick level 2 but I think my poor Japanese got me two level 1 lattes instead. They were refreshing but weren’t too different from the kinds we have in Canada. It was on the cheap side though so Japan wins again. The cream puff was a 7/10 and the lattes were 6/10.

18. Unagi on Rice – Unatoto Taito

I love unagi so this trip couldn’t have been complete without a stop at a unagi restaurant. Unatoto is apparently to be one of the most popular places so I had to line up for about 30 minutes before I got in. It’s a really small place and had one of those vending machine selection things again. Even though I had just eaten and drank my fill near Sensoji, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get the biggest Unagi meal possible.

It cost ¥2500 and boy was it a banger. The unagi was so big it hardly fit into the bowl of rice. The sauce was incredible and all the umami came together when mixed with the rice and toppings of soy sauce, eel sweet sauce, and Japanese pepper. The smoky aftertaste of the unagi was fantastic and funnily enough, the poor ventilation inside the restaurant sort of enhanced that flavor. 9/10

19. Real Gold Energy Drink – Vending Machine

I came across another brand of energy drink in one of the vending machines in Taito so I had to try it. It was called Real Gold and it seems that the main selling point was the inclusion of royal jelly. It was really small (190 mL) but it managed to pack a lot of fruity flavor inside. I don’t even know if it had caffeine in it since the energy drinks marketed in Japan sometimes don’t have it for whatever reason. Regardless, it tasted pretty good even if it wasn’t anything groundbreaking. 6/10

20. Bubbly Clouds Drink – Kirby Cafe

The Kirby Cafe is way too busy to actually get a reservation unless you book months ahead so I settled for the takeout menu which is available to anyone visiting. I ordered the Bubbly Clouds drink which was sort of this ramune-flavored juice with star-shaped nata de coco and mango pieces. For an extra charge, you could get a special Kirby straw holder thingy which you could attach to your drink. When added with the little Kirby the total was ¥980. There was also a lot of seating available outside so I could take my time. 7/10

21. Ramen – 輝道家直系 皇綱家 Toshima

Met up with another student at Ikebukuro at an izakaya called Nantaisan before setting off for some night ramen. This place seemed to be pretty popular as there was a long line even at around 9 pm. Once we got in, it had a chill atmosphere and the owner was very nice. Having eaten already, I got a medium size. You could supposedly customize the saltiness of the broth and hardness of the noodles but I just let them go with whatever they thought would be good.

This ramen was a little more memorable than the others I had in Japan because it had an interesting flavor profile within the broth. On the first bite, the broth was exceptionally salty but it would gradually mellow out as the pork and noodles absorbed the liquid. At the end, you could order some extra rice for ¥100 to soak up the remaining broth. In total, a medium ramen and rice ran for ¥1080. Now that’s a deal. 8/10

22. Real Gold X – Vending Machine

Another iteration of the Real Gold energy drinks that caught my eye because it had a gigantic X plastered on the vending machine. It’s also apparently a collaboration with Yoshiki of X Japan fame so that’s interesting. It tasted more or less the same as the regular Real Gold drinks but it had some extra spice extract that I couldn’t identify. It had a strong punch and was a little better than I expected. 6.5/10

23. Sushi – Tsukijisushiko Akasakadoriten Akasaka

With my last day in Tokyo coming to a close, I realized I had forgotten to try authentic sushi so I walked around my hotel for a while until I found a nice-looking place. Since it was earlier in the day, there wasn’t a lineup but the restaurant still filled up quickly. The chefs and waiters were extremely friendly and attentive. I sat right in front of the kitchen so I could catch a glimpse of the work. They also had an English menu which made things easier.

I chose the 14-piece set menu which cost ¥4070. I’m not totally sure but I think it was likely a chain place since it was in a central area and was a little on the pricier side. Nevertheless, the fish was exceptional and you could feel the fatty parts melting in your mouth. The rice was a little on the dry side but it wasn’t a big deal when dipped in the soy sauce. Overall, an enjoyable meal. 8/10

24. Ice Cream – Chumon-Baisen MAMETORA Akasaka

After sushi, I grabbed dessert at a coffee shop nearby. It seemed to be a specialized drip coffee and beans available. It had some rustic, vintage deco and had nice aromatics floating around. I’m not too interested in coffee so I opted for the ice cream instead. The vanilla ice cream was topped with mocha bean powder to give it a distinct flavor. They also added a cute gingerbread(?) bear on top. It was ¥350. 7/10

25. Gyukatsu Sandwich – Tokyo Shinkansen Station

Grabbed a gyukatsu sandwich while I was waiting for my shinkansen to Kyoto. It was one of those unbranded konbinis at the station so the price was also very expensive (for Japanese standards). The sandwich was around ¥800 so I finally got a little taste of Canada prices over there. The sandwich itself was fine, nothing special. It was lukewarm but the bread still managed to retain some crispiness. 6/10

26. Takoyaki – タコとハイボール錦市場店 (Nishiki Market)

Once I arrived in Kyoto and dropped off my bags, I headed straight to Nishiki Market to check it out. Since it was already 7 pm, most of the stores had already started to close and so I decided to just grab a snack. Stopped at the first takoyaki place I saw and ordered the 8-piece spicy tanuki (¥750) which had spicy tempura bits sprinkled on top. The takoyaki itself was fluffy and the octopus was a little gooey but it was delicious. Apparently, it had a lot of poor Google reviews because they didn’t allow people to sit inside but there was a raised area where you could stand and eat right outside the restaurant. I didn’t bother with sitting down so there was nothing wrong with my experience. 7/10

27. Duck Rice – Gion Duck Rice Higashiyama

This bad boy was definitely the coolest dining experience I had dining in Japan. Since I arrived in Kyoto so late, I had to eat dinner at around 9 pm. I think this restaurant was supposed to be closing but they seemed happy to let me in and have a meal. There was no one else around and they had sold out of most of the food already. However, the classic duck rice was still available so I decided to go for it. They could speak English pretty well and thank god for that because their menu was only emojis. They didn’t have any truffle left anyway so I skipped the most expensive version and settled for the traditional duck rice topped with uni and ikura (¥2850).

I had no idea what to expect but it certainly wasn’t the chemistry contraptions they sent out shortly after. They had a beaker and strainer set up with katsuobushi to make your own dashi stock. They also included some yuzu powder, grape sansho, and black shichimi in test tubes to experiment with flavors. The duck rice itself was amazingly textured: the fatty duck parts had all the gamey flavors removed and they were balanced nicely with the egg, ikura, and uni flavors. It was quite tender and the presentation was gorgeous. Once they were mixed in a bowl together with the dashi stock, the result was delightful.

The create-your-own-broth thing felt a little gimmicky but it was still fun to experiment with the different spices and final flavors. It was a little more on the expensive, tourist-trap side of things but it was a very enjoyable meal (especially since no one else was sitting in the cramped interior with me). Definitely a great hidden gem. 8.5/10

28. Teishoku – Machikadoya Karasuma Gojo Shimogyo

After landing in Osaka, I found out that free breakfast was included with my hotel room. I got daily meal vouchers for a restaurant right beside the lodgings. It was nothing too fancy but they offered traditional Japanese teishoku or more Westernized teishoku. For the first day, I went with the Westernized one since sausage and eggs seemed more appealing. The rice and miso were great but the cabbage and sauce combo were meh (probably because I was still hung up on the steak teppei place). It also included rice pudding, veggies, and tofu.

On the second day, I chose the traditional Japanese teishoku which featured a piece of mackerel for protein. The other things were more or less the same but it was still quite good. Both were 7/10

29. Strawberry Yakult – Vending Machine

I’m gonna be honest, I don’t think I’ve had strawberry milk since like middle school. But something compelled me to try this bad boy when it popped up at a vending machine in Kyoto station. It was chilled and slightly sweet but not overwhelmingly so. I guess that’s the advantage of Yakult over the sugar-dense strawberry milk in Canada. It wasn’t particularly memorable or anything but I suppose it was interesting to try. 6/10

30. Qoo – Vending Machine

I’m surprised it took until Kyoto for me to find some Qoo in Japan. I had some in Canada before and I enjoyed it quite a bit. Qoo is supposedly the equivalent of Hi-C in Japan. It’s way less sweet of course but it still has a light, refreshing aftertaste. It’s non-carbonated too so in that respect, it’s probably closer to actual orange juice than Hi-C. I couldn’t find the white grape flavor (which is the best one) so I settled for the orange one I came across at Saga-Arashiyama. 7.5/10

31. Crème Brûlée Donut – Donut Stand Hannari Hokkori Square

After an adventurous day in Kyoto and some incidents involving monkeys, I headed to Arashiyama station to head back for dinner. While waiting for the train, I noticed a donut stand that said Premium Kyoto Creme Brulee Donut so I thought why not? It was made to order and tasted better than I initially expected. The blowtorched sugar topping was balanced nicely with the creme filling on the inside. It only cost ¥350. 8/10

32. Cheese Snow Chicken Nuggets – Lawson Saga-Arashiyama

I have no idea why it took me so long to try the fabled chicken nuggets from Lawson. Probably because I was having Fami-Chiki like every day but towards the latter half of the trip, I started trying all the flavors of Lawson chicken nuggets instead. The cheese snow ones were my favorite. They went light on the cheese but you could still taste a touch of it on each nugget. They were crispy on the outside and quite tender inside. 7/10

33. Kuroge Wagyu Beef Hamburger & Dashimaki – Hamburg LABO

I was feeling some Japanese-style hamburgers for whatever reason that day so I headed to Hamburg LABO in the Shimogyo Ward near my hotel. Deciding to ball out a little here, I decided on the wagyu variant. I ordered the biggest one (450g) and it cost ¥4200. I ordered it medium rare and it was packed with tender juiciness on the inside. You could tell there was wagyu from the taste although it wasn’t as prominent in burger form as it is in regular cuts. There was also an appetizer of dashi rolls which were made together with Kyoto-style soup stock. The tamago was pretty good and the soup stock helped give it an extra burst of flavor. 8.5/10

34. Lifeguard Bionic Drink – Vending Machine

Another bizarre drink I passed by on my way back from Hamburg Lab. The label has some wild colors on it together with this rabbit-like mascot who has crazy eyes. It’s supposedly another one of those “energy” drinks that doesn’t actually have caffeine in it. Instead, it has honey and royal jelly mixed into the carbonated soda flavor. It wasn’t mind-blowing or anything but it certainly had a unique taste. It reminded me of rock candy sticks for some reason. 6.5/10

35. G(?)-Zone Fruits Mix Boost – Vending Machine

Found yet another G-Zone flavor to try at a vending machine near Kiyomizu-dera. This one was fruitier than the rest (wow no way) and had a tropical taste to it. Though it was clearly pineapple-centric, you could taste a little bit of the apple, mango, and orange flavors as well. Probably one of the better Zone drinks I had while in Japan and I think that’s largely due to the balance of fruit juice with the actual energy drink. 7.5/10

36. Strawberry Tapioca Milk Tea – Sumikkogurashido Kiyomizu

Although I’d seen these cute characters around Japan, I still have no idea what they are or what their significance is. At this point, I’m just going to assume they’re like Sanrio characters or something. Anyway, I stopped by this Sumikkogurashido store after finishing my visit to Kiyomizu-dera. There was an assortment of merchandise and food available. I wasn’t hungry enough to try the ice cream or egg waffle thing so I opted for bubble tea. The light strawberry flavor felt smooth and the whipped cream was a nice touch. 7.5/10

37. Ice Cream Coffee & Apple Cinnamon Cake – Pomme Sakyo Ward

While I was walking along the Philosopher’s Path, I felt the urge to go to the bathroom so I ran around for 15 minutes until I reached the first cafe I saw and went in. Surprisingly, this place was actually great. Run by an older Japanese couple, Pomme has a quaint vibe in its interior. I really enjoyed people-watching from my table for some time before setting off again. The owners spoke a little English but were very accommodating and kind. I ordered an ice cream coffee (¥600) and homemade apple cinnamon cake (¥250). Definitely a place to return to next time I’m in Kyoto. 8.5/10

38. Iced Almond Caramel Cafe Latte – Excelsior Cafe

I saw a lot of coffee chains while in Japan and the most popular ones seemed to be either Tully’s or Excelsior. So I decided to try one to see how it compared to Tim Horton’s in Canada. Ordered an iced almond caramel cafe latte (why is the name so long) for ¥570. I’m not a coffee expert or anything but even with the whipped cream on top, it was less sweeter than North American counterparts. Not too bad but like anywhere else, you’ll probably have to find a non-chain place if you want the high-quality stuff. 6.5/10

39. Daisuke & V-Mon Mint Oreo Roll Ice Cream – Roll Ice Cream Factory 0101 Namba Maru

As soon as I landed in Osaka, I went exploring around Dotonbori and stumbled across a promotion for the Digimon 02 movie. It was a pop-up shop for some basic merch and rolled ice cream so of course I had to get something. I decided on the Daisuke and V-Mon version (¥972) since it had Oreos mixed in. The ice cream itself was fairly good although the toppings were a little too sweet for my taste. It was on the expensive side but they also handed out postcards (I got the T.K./Patamon one) and a poster. Rolled ice cream feels a little gimmicky considering the end result is the same but chewier. Oh well. 7.5/10

40. Melty Cheese Beef Bowl – Sukiya Namba Sennichimae

Sometimes you get a craving for some rice so you decide to go out in search of gyudon. It was a little late though so I had to settle for some fast food gyudon from Sukiya. I ordered the melty cheese beef bowl which contains three types of cheese melted over beef and a bed of rice. Although it looks kinda unappetizing from the photo, it wasn’t that bad. The cheese could’ve been a little more melted and the rice was a little dry but it was filling for ¥770. 6.5/10

41. Deer Crackers – Nara Park

Okay, listen. Sometimes the intrusive thoughts win. I took a bite of the deer crackers because I was curious. Also, the deer were literally headbutting me and going crazy for them. It’s only natural to wonder right? Well, I’m here to tell you it wasn’t worth it. The crackers don’t taste like anything. They’re supposed to be made out of rice bran but it just didn’t have taste, only texture. 2/10. The extra point is for the satisfying crunch. Wouldn’t recommend it.

42. Lamb Brown Curry – Wakakusa Curry Nara

It only took 10 days but shout out to Wakakusa Curry for being literally the only restaurant I went to in Japan that had a good amount of spice in the food. Japanese people really hate spiciness so I was pretty let down whenever I ordered something “spicy” and couldn’t taste anything. But the lamb curry (¥1300) here was fantastic. I ordered the highest spice level possible and it was rich in taste, aroma, and texture. The lamb in particular melted in your mouth as it combined with the curry sauce. 9/10

43. Iced Caramel Cappucino – Rocks Cafe

Another interesting cafe I stumbled upon while needing to use the bathroom badly. This was at Rocks Cafe which was close to the Momotaro Jeans I was waiting at for my new jeans to get hemmed. The interior was quite nice and it had a modern all-black vibe going on. The washroom was also very nice which was the main reason I visited here I suppose. The cappucino was cool too I guess. Definitely one of the hipster joints though as it was on the pricier side (¥800). 6.5/10

44. Mapo Tofu, Dumplings, Beef Fried Rice, and Karaage – Osaka Ohsho Nipponbashi

By day 11, I had begun to get a craving for Chinese food since I usually eat it everyday. I searched around Dotonbori for restaurants and wandered into the first place that had a nice menu. Despite knowing that Japanese people did not like spicy food, I still ordered the mapo tofu (¥695). “How bad could it be?” I reasoned? Well, it wasn’t actually that bad apart from the fact that there was no spice. The sauce was like a sweet glaze with umami from soy sauce. The tofu was serviceable but ultimately, left me quite disappointed.

Thankfully, the rest of the meal was very good and salvaged the restaurant for me. The beef fried rice was great and the side of dumplings and karaage (¥1200 altogether) were stupid cheap. Not a bad place for somewhat authentic Chinese food. Just know the “mapo tofu” shouldn’t be called that. 7/10

45. Melon Cream Soda – Vending Machine

Grabbed this bad boy near Osaka Castle once I had finished exploring. Couldn’t find anything like it at the Tokyo or Kyoto vending machines so I decided to try it out. It tastes pretty much as expected: a heavy emphasis on the sweet melon flavor with a hint of vanilla ice cream. Suprisingly good despite how much sugar it seems to have. 7.5/10

46. Chashu Ramen – 喜多方ラーメン 坂内 なんば日本橋店

I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much chashu in a bowl of ramen in my life. I mean this thing was just packed to the brim. As you can see from the picture, you can’t even see the noodles anymore. The broth was light (thankfully because look at the MEAT) and the noodles were soft. The grilled pork was really good since it had a solid depth of flavor and the fatty parts were offset by the juicier ones. It was also stupid cheap for the amount of meat that was piled on top (¥1140). 8/10

47. Melonpan – Konbinis

This particular melonpan was picked up near the JR Kyoto station but in general, I don’t think melonpan ever let me down. This is by far the tastiest item available at any konbini as the subtle sweetness engulfs the fluffy cookie dough surface. They’re very cheap in Japan (~¥200 or less) and taste incredible. My ranking of Konbini melonpan goes from FamilyMart (the whipped cream filling one and French one were life-changing) > Pasco > 7-11 > Lawson > Yamazaki. They were beautiful every single time. 10/10 Melonpan save me.

48. Triple Hamburg Meal – 鉄板王国 秋葉原店

Upon my return to Tokyo, I was feeling something more American-like so I ducked into the first steak hamburg joint I saw. This one was right beside Akihabara and it closed late which was perfect since it was already 9:30pm. All of the servers were foreigners so their English was fairly decent. I ordered the triple hamburg steak (¥2970) which was basically three steak patties stacked on top of one another with a fried egg on top. There was also a side of assorted veggies. There was also free refill on the rice and soup which was nice. The burger patties themselves tasted pretty good although it was certainly not as good as some of the other meat I’ve tried in Japan. The gravy sauce was also decent as well. 7/10

49. Butterpan – FamilyMart

Although the butterpan could never hope to match up to the mighty melonpan, the FamilyMart variant could certainly give everything else in the konbini a run for its money. At a measly (¥145), it functioned as a cheap yet surprisingly filling snack for midday breaks. The fluffy dough with the subtle hints of butter were delicious and the sugar crystals on top gave it an extra wallop of flavor. 8.5/10

50. Omu Souffle on Tomato Rice – TAMAGO-TO-WATASHI Shibuya

Upon my return to Shibuya, I decided to get omurice for my last meal in Japan since I didn’t find any interesting maid cafes. Found this place on Google Maps and decided to go for it. I ordered the omu souffle which was placed upon a bed of tomato rice, beef, and mushrooms (¥1300). This was then topped with a delicious demi-glaze. The tamago itself was quite good when mixed with the rice but I discovered I’m not a big fan of the way omurice is typically liquified. Despite loving wet scrambled eggs, this didn’t do it for me. Nevertheless, it was a great meal and the restaurant itself was very nice with a retro chic vibe going on. 8.5/10

All in all, Japan was a really enjoyable trip and the food was phenomenal. I don’t think I had a bad or even mediocre meal once the entire two weeks I was there. Definitely a place to revisit multiple times and try the different cuisine they have available. I only hope the next time I go, I don’t drop as much money as I did on melonpans this time around.

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I turned my incoherent ramblings on music, anime, and video games into an entire blog.

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