Tag Archives: Japanese

How to find good value Japanese food

Sometimes you have to search out those little hidden gems to get a good dining experience at a good price! We ate at an out of the way place called Zipang in Currumbin Creek Road on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia and it met our expectations. Zipang offers lots of tapas style dishes and has a following with the locals. The location is a bit out of the way in the industrial area of Currumbin Waters – it is worth finding though.

We went on a Saturday night with a group of friends, they were about 16 of us seated at a long table outdoors.  The menu was preset as a banquet where courses were delivered to us over the evening. When we arrived there were some lotus root chips and edamame beans on the table.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A little starter to nibble on – lotus root chips

The first main dish to arrive was some beautiful sesame seed crusted salmon. This really was a taste sensation and incredibly moist. This one is definitely on our reorder list when we go back.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Sesame crusted salmon
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Moist and tasty salmon

We were then treated to some Japanese-style tofu that was done with the very special skin on the tofu and topped with a special Asian sauce.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Tofu

Because two of us do not eat meat there were some substitutes. This was particularly nice because many restaurants do not take the time to substitute when it is a large group. That was not the case at this restaurant and we were exceptionally well taken care of. One substitute comprised green beans and cashews with some Japanese dressings on the top.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Green beans Japanese style with cashews

Another of the substitutes was a noodle and vegetable soup. This had some beautiful juicy,  fresh and thick udon noodles  coupled with an array of vegetables.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Vegetable soup with udon noodles

We also were pleased to receive some classic Japanese-style eggplant with miso  topping.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Eggplant with miso

The finale was quite interesting as it comprised green tea ice cream that was a little different from what you might normally expect. The ice cream was wrapped in a glutinous  coating, which made this dish very memorable. We loved it  but not everyone wholeheartedly agreed with us. If you like Japanese flavours and texture we recommend it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Green tea ice cream

The menu is quite extensive for the size of the restaurant, and by all accounts they pulled pork bao is supposed to be pretty good.  If you are looking to discover a different side of Australia’s Gold Coast then why not head out to Currumbin Waters and sample some of this food.  For more information on some of the places that have set up business in this area check out this Bulletin review.  Some of our friends who were there on the evening told us they regularly come down to get pastries and croissants from the artisan bakery.  They reckon it is well worth the trip.

We visited on 26 November 2016 as part of a larger group. Please be aware this is a casual restaurant and the small stools are quite hard. Some of our group brought a cushion!

Cost per head for a banquet $40

Allows BYO alcohol

Verdict: We loved it; great food, excellent service and good value for money. We will be back.

Advertisements

Just what the Dr needed!

We had something to celebrate, so we decided to head back to one of our favourite Gold Coast restaurants. Can you guess what we were celebrating? One of us is now Dr Wei after working for the past few years on a PhD thesis into customer experience and food events. So, it was fitting to head out for a wonderful meal to celebrate this life achievement. Perhaps we should have had champagne but being a bit of health nuts we opted for lemon lime and bitters – ha ha.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Lemon, Lime and Bitters

When we eat out we really value the opportunity to eat food that not only tastes great but looks good.  So we headed for Kiyomi, a Japanese restaurant located in Broadbeach Queensland.

The meal we ate lived up to our expectations with lots of beautiful looking and wonderful tasting dishes shared between the three of us. We started with some appetising warm beans, which were juicy and flavoursome with a touch pf chilli.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Edamame and chilli

Never want to miss out on some wasabi or ginger we heaped it on to various sashimi dishes.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Can’t resist a little wasabi and pickled ginger

Then we turned our attention to some delectable kingfish, which was super fresh, soft and really tasty.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Kingfish sashimi

One of our weaknesses, when it comes to menus of an Asian kind, is soft shell crab. If it’s on the menu then we are predictable and order it. This one was very nice with a light batter. Perhaps not the best ever soft shell we have had but pretty good.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Softshell tempura

We’ve been to this restaurant before and fell in love with the silky tofu dish so we could not resist returning to this gorgeous meal. The tofu is so very silky with a lovely coating and accompanied  with mushrooms.  The mushrooms are the very tasty Asian style ones.  This dish remains one of our all time favourites and will be having it again when we head back to this restaurant.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Tofu and mushrooms – wow, loved it

We are also in love with the crispy rice topped with spicy tuna. This dish goes really well with the wasabi.  There is something about the crispy rice and the way it contrasts with the soft tuna that makes this a dish we want to order again and again.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Crispy rice and tuna – yum

The next dish that we were sharing is one that creates some theatre at the table. A platter of sashimi  is brought to the table and dry ice is used to create a beautiful white cloud that surrounds the lovely array of raw fish.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Selection of sashimi

We tried something that we had not experienced previously. And it was surprisingly good, buckwheat noodles mixed with various salad type vegetables such as tomatoes and avocado provided a refreshing meal for us to share.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Special noodle salad was a hit

On the evening that we went for dinner there were some prawns that were served from the barbecue and the general consensus was that these were pretty spicy and pretty yummy.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Prawns with a spicy dressing

For the grand finale  we selected the green matcha and white chocolate lava cake, which is truly delectable. When you cut this one open it oozes the green coloured chocolate tasting filling. Lucky we were sharing between three so as we didn’t have to feel too guilty about this wonderful dessert.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
All time favourite or matcha and white chocolate lava dessert

This meal lived up to our expectations and Kiyomi remains one of our ‘go to’ restaurants for reliable modern Japanese food and good service. Just what the Dr needed.

Cost for three people sharing $240 including two soft drinks, two beers and two wines.

Visited 22 November 2016

Foodie heaven

A recent trip to Japan led to all sorts of fabulous eating experiences. One highlight was at Honke Bankyu, a ryokan in Yunishigawa, established as Japanese Traditional Hotel (Ryokan) Since 1666 (according to their information).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Yunishigawa region

This was a peak experience of our trip as the ryokan was so unique. We had a lovely room overlooking a river and access to a private onsen (Japanese hot spring bath).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Clear water of Yunishigawa
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Room at Honke Bankyu

Dinner and breakfast was included and this was a feast to behold.

There are too many photos to add to a blog but here are some highlights:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Sushi combo
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Tempura
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Baked egg
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Scallop and veg hotplate
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Sashimi on ice
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
A feast
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Gratin of veg
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Snail
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Not sure what it was but love the look
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Tasty stuff
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Dessert
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Dessert

Stayed at Honke Bankyu, Yunishigawa, Nikko region in August 2016

Degustation Kyoto style

We had the opportunity to try kaiseke (haute cuisine) in Kyoto. Recommended by many we selected Gyon Karyo. It was no easy task to find the restaurant. We walked up and down the street trying to work out which it was as there was no English sign and our Japanese is super poor. But we finally made it!!

First instruction on arrival: – take off your shoes, second instruction: ‘set your phone to silent mode’. But, happy to be there we sat at the bar looking into the kitchen, as most guests did.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Kitchen view

Next, the degustation began and it was a feast for the eyes. Here are some photos.

  1. Sakizuke – appetiser of Seetfish, sweet potato, Japanese ginger, somen, water pepper and yuzu
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
first course – Seetfish
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
first course Seetfish and somen

2. Wanmono – Japanese soup made from Japanese sea perch, pumpkin tofu, taro stem, okra and yuzu

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The soup

3. Oshinogi – small dish of grilled pike conger, corn and manganji pepper and watercress sauce

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Pike conger

4. Yakimono – grill dish of Tile fish, giner, and citrus sudachi (this was really good!)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Tile fish

5. This course comprised three combinations: 1.Hassun – assorted dishes of Mackerel sushi, walnut tofu (the best!), fried river shrimp and ground yuba soup; plus 2. boiled octopus, carrot leaves, spaghetti squash with sesame sauce; plus 3. horse mackeral mixed miso, taro dumplings and lotus root.  Wow, what a visual sensation.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The main selection
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Sashimi and prawns – centre on green dish
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Walnut tofu (left in blue bowl) and yuba soup (in glass dish)
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Something special!
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Octopus
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
close up sashimi

6. Hiyashibachi – cold dish of herring, eggplant, pumpkin and common bean

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Herring and pumpkin

7. Shiizaakana – side dish of grill Japanese beef, fushimi pepper, citrus sauce and tomato (I only ate the tomato and it was good)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
for the meat eater in the party – not me

8. Gohan – hearth cooked rice with fish, Japanese pickles and miso soup

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Hearth rice

9. Dessert – not sure what it was but not a highlight of the meal.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Not sure what it was

Teppen rocks!

We had a beautiful meal at a Teppen restaurant in Yokohama. There are so many restaurants in this city and especially around the Pacifico Yokohama conference area. This place is located at the bottom of the Landmark building in an area called the Garden area. There are many restaurants there in an old reclaimed dry dock ship building area called Dockland Garden.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Worth a visit

The place was bustling when we arrived so we sat outside in the lane way, feeling happy to get a table. After placing an order we received some complementary raw vegetables and sesame dipping sauce. Really good.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Starter of raw veg and sesame sauce

Being a veggie lover we ordered some asparagus and some eggplant. Both were good but the eggplant was the winner.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Grilled asparagus
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Grilled eggplant and bonito

Next, it was onto some tofu done with a crispy crust. Loved this dish as the contrast of textures was different from the usual way of tofu.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Really delicious grilled tofu

The catch of the day was mackerel – this was definitely the highlight of the meal. The fish was moist and tender with the crispiest of skin.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Grilled mackerel
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Another picture of the mackerel as it was so good

Green tea was great too.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Iced tea

The service was very friendly even if the language exchange was not of a super high level!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Friendly staff – sorry about the blur

Visited July 2016. Cost was about AUD65 including drinks (tea, beer and a sake) and we would go back there again if in Yokohama.

Harmony, respect, purity, tranquility – Let’s drink tea

Today there was an opportunity to learn about the art of a Japanese tea ceremony. It seems that making tea can involve a lot of practice and mindfulness. Creating a satisfying bowl of tea, with consideration of others is important, as is having some beautiful flowers to complement the scene.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Preparing the tea
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The teapot – maybe it looks a bit like Mt Fuji?

Before taking the tea, a small, yet beautiful sweet is offered.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Special sweet made from sugar

Flowers are set out around the room to create an atmosphere. The flowers for tea should be arranged to reflect their precious beauty.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Flowers adorn the room
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Precious flowers

The tea is served and tastes very good.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Freshly made tea in the bowl

After the ceremony there is an opportunity to gather for a photo!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Looking out of place in this photo!

There is something very special about making tea with all of the ceremonial rituals. Creating harmony, respecting others, striving to purify our mind and heart, while being prepared (tranquility) resonates in this busy world. Here’s to more tea ceremonies in the future.

Tetsuaki Japanese Cuisine

Our friend June had a nice meal at Tetsuaki Japanese Cuisine, Paradise Point and shared some photos on Facebook, which looked pretty nice. So we decided to check it out for the duty of being food bloggers.

It was a chilly night. It took us about 35 minutes driving from Bundall to Paradise Point. Lots of red lights along the way! The traffic system in Gold Coast really needs some improvement asap we reckon.

The menu includes a lot of dishes.

Menu
Menu
Asahi beer
Asahi beer – when you go to Japan do as the Japanese!
Cute serviette
Cute serviette – Kimono

After scanning the menu for a while, we decided to order 3 entrees to start with. We ordered tempura prawns, vegetarian gyoza and miso eggplant.

Tempura prawns
Tempura prawns
Untraditional looking miso eggplant
Nontraditional looking miso eggplant
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Closeup of the eggplant
Vegetarian gyoza
Vegetarian gyoza

The tempura prawns were really nice: very fresh, very tender and very crispy. We loved it! The vegetarian gyoza were excellent as well, particularly the stuffing was so juicy and yummy. The miso eggplant was a little bit disappointing as it was not well cooked and not very tasty. But the interesting thing was if you put the eggplant into the special sauce on the side, which was with some barbecue falvour, it made the eggplant more tasty.

We then ordered 2 mains. Our meat eater ordered crumbed beef fillet slices. We ordered the teriyaki salmon.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Crumbled beef fillet slices
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Teriyaki salmon

The beef dish was very very good.

Closeup of the beef slices
Closeup of the beef slices

For the salmon we thought it was a bit over cooked. After the big meal we were very indecisive whether we should go for the dessert. But we were intrigued by the ice cream. There are 2 flavours you can choose: black sesame and green tea. We decided to go for one each and we didn’t regret our decision. They were very yummy and more importantly very picturesque.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Dessert – 2 flavours ice cream

In total the meal cost $70 for 3 persons. We would like to recommend this restaurant to our friends.