Category Archives: Japanese

SF Japantown: Japanese Crepes

When in San Francisco’s Japantown, you have to get yourself a Japanese crepe with gelato if you haven’t already.  The question is, Sophie’s Crepe or Belly Good Cafe?

Green Tea Gelato Crepe @ Sophie’s Crepe, Japantown SF

Honestly, I don’t know. I had gelato crepes from both at too far apart times to be able to recall and compare. All I remember is that they were both different in some aspects but I walked out of the plaza both times an extremely satisfied person. All I can offer are some tips:

Tip One: Save enough space in your stomach for the crepe. Eating a whole crepe after downing an entire bowl of ramen was not a good idea.

Tip Two: Belly Good Cafe makes super kawaii faces on top of the gelato if you consider that a plus (I did!).

Tip Three: Green tea gelato, always.

It still remains one of my big regrets for not having more of these delectable crepes before leaving NorCal so please have them on behalf of me if you can.

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Eating the Big Apple

When I plotted a graph of my monthly food expenditures for the past year, a friend noticed a spike in the month of July and asked, “Was that when you went to New York?”. He was spot on. My friends and I had some pretty decent meals to say the least and here are some of the more memorable ones we had:

1) Shake Shack
During this second trip to New York, I had time to check out Shake Shack in Leicester Square. The square itself is a pretty sweet location to just sit on the bench and chill with your friends (and maybe some squirrels) while you devour that hard-earned Shake Shack burger, a trophy from your 30 minutes of waiting.

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Verdict? Pretty good. However, it has yet to usurp In N Out from its throne in my heart.  Maybe I’m too impatient to wait that long for a burger, or maybe I’m just biased towards the west coast. My friend absolutely fell in love with Shake Shack though and was extremely eager to make another visit to this establishment.

2) The Halal Guys
Yay to vendor food! Its location made it an ideal lunch stop before my visit to the Museum of Modern Art.
Long line? Yes. Overrated? Maybe. Bang for your buck? Absolutely. For $6, you get a chicken rice plate that is worth two meals (or one very satisfying meal if you have a hearty appetite).

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My recommendation comes with two warnings though:
1) The hot sauce is the spiciest shit. And you know that I am dead serious because I rarely use expletives to describe things and least of all, food.
2) One bowl is rumored to be roughly equivalent to 2000 calories. It is up to you what to do with this information…

3) Ippudo Ramen
My friend and I walked into this restaurant at an odd hour for lunch, about 3PM, and successfully avoided the long line that I’ve heard can go up to 2 hours. We were instantly seated and I proceeded to ordering my first twenty dollar bowl of ramen in my life.

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A little skimpy with ingredients, but the noodle and broth were great. My favorite was actually the egg, half-boiled to perfection.

4) John’s Pizzeria
I used to believe that restaurants within the vicinity of main tourist attractions are tourist traps with mediocre food. For a place nested pretty close to Times Square, this restaurant sure has fine pizza. Absolutely love the thin crust and all that cheesy goodiness.

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5) Kale Salad
Nothing out of this world but I never knew that a simple kale salad with golden raisins, pine nuts and lemon dill dressing could taste this appetizing. Perhaps my body was just intensely craving for some greens after nearly a week of nearly everything but vegetables.

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Chelsea market is a great spot to hit if you, like me, enjoy looking at food. The garden in the second floor balcony is really worth checking out too. Here are a few sights in the market:

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The Lobster Place in Chelsea Market. I was definitely tempted to get a whole lobster or a lobster sandwich.

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Time to Roll

Baked Salmon Roll @ Nanayiro, Berkeley

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Good stuff.

Sushi + Burrito = Sushirrito!

Sushirrito @ New Montgomery St, San Francisco

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Top: Mayan Dragon consisting of chicken katsu, peruvian potatoes,avocado and jalapenos among other things

Bottom: Geisha’s Kiss with stuffings such as  yellowfin tuna, tamago, lotus chips and avocado

Finally tried the much raved about Sushirrito in San Francisco! There is always a long line for these during lunch hours and I ended up waiting for at least fifteen minutes. Since Sushirrito only does takeouts, my friend and I ended up going to Starbucks across the street and had some peppermint hot chocolate (my favourite!) to go with our sushirritos. Strange combination, I know, but we were definitely not the only ones who did that.

Personally, I think this Japanese-Mexican fusion food is more Japanese than Mexican and is pretty similar to the Japanese hand roll but with more ingredients. I love Geisha’s Kiss, especially the fresh tuna and the crispy lotus chips! The portions are large and I had little room to spare for dessert after downing this with my small cup of hot chocolate. I had to abandon my plan of indulging myself with some sundae at the new Ghirardelli Ice Cream shop two blocks away.

Davis Sushi Buffet

Whenever anyone mentions Davis in California, few of the many things that will pop into my head are the university, the fields and the SUSHI BUFFETS. This was my second time pigging out at a sushi buffet in Davis. My first was at Fuji Sushi and this time round, my friend took me to Davis Sushi Buffet.

Sushi Buffet @ Davis Sushi Buffet, Davis CA

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After all these years, I still derive so much joy from picking dishes from sushi boats and trains.

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King Roll made to order.

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Fried tofu, oysters and crabs. I liked how the tofu was so soft and delicate on the inside!

Really great selection of sushi and other dishes for only USD 15, which I might add is pretty cheap compared to other sushi buffets in or near Berkeley. They even had  sesame red bean balls and soft custard buns which I liked. The only thing that I felt was lacking was their dessert options — complimentary green tea ice cream would have made it perfect!

Morning Sushi!

Japanese Brunch @ Kirala 2, Berkeley

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About USD 25 worth of food enough for two meals for two person.

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My first time having sushi rolls made out of brown rice. Not bad at all!

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Chicken teriyaki rice bowl with my favourite bell peppers.

Kirala Sushi

Sunday Brunch @ Kirala 2, Berkeley 
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I recently found out that that Kirala Sushi in Gourmet Ghetto, North Berkeley has Sunday morning specials where you get to choose a free bento box with any purchase above $10. I bought a tray of sushi for $12 and got a teriyaki salmon bento box to boot which is a pretty good deal considering the quality and quantity of food. I decided to save some of the stuff in my bento box for Monday lunch and even though the bento box was probably intended to be served cold, the salmon tasted so good after it was microwaved.

I love how I am slowly expanding my list of good places to eat for Sunday brunch!

Kaizen

Excapade, move over. I have found my new favourite Japanese restaurant in Brunei.

Kaizen Waterfront @ BSB, Brunei

My mom and I really liked the Philippine Roll which is quite similar to the generic California Roll. The best part? The sweet and succulent mango. I love Asian mangos!

The chicken katsu curry was decent; I am honestly not too big of a fan of Japanese curry or mild stews but this dish is pretty good for what it is. I would not mind ordering this again if I do ever have my rare cravings for Japanese curries.

I wrapped up my dinner with a sweet treat: Macha ice cream with red bean. I could tell from its texture that the ice cream was home made and I love how it is not overly sweet like Haagen-Dazs green tea ice cream.

The sushi and entrees in Kaizen are definitely made more meticulously and with fresher ingredients than in Excapade Sushi. The discrepancies in the quality of the dishes are also reflected by the differences in price though. Even though Kaizen has usurped Excapade from its throne as the best sushi bar in Brunei, I will probably still go to Excapade if I was in the mood for quantity over quality or if I wanted a casual meal with my friends. Kaizen, on the other hand, will be reserved for more special occasions or on days when I want to splurge a little more.

Sushi and Sashimi

Oh Excapade Sushi, we have parted for way too long!

Excapade Sushi @ Kiulap, Brunei

In the States, I usually exercise a lot more control over what I order in Japanese restaurants because I can very easily spend over USD 25 if I were to allow my appetite for sushi and sashimi to dictate. I have walked out of sushi bars unsatisfied so many times because my cravings for lots of salmon were unfulfilled while the memories of whole buckets of sashimi from what felt like the distant past taunted me. First world problems.

Now that I am back in Brunei I can finally gorge myself on cheap yet decent Japanese food. I am one happy kitty.

Takoyaki

Takoyaki @ Tsukiji Gindaco, ION Orchard

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The sauce and shaved bonito on top of the takoyaki tastes as good as it looks.

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My picture does not do the takoyaki justice but the octopus and the warm molten filling are so savoury and good. This was my third time eating takoyaki and they are the best I have had by far. I guess third time’s the charm!