A TASTE OF TOKYO
Tokyo is one of the most expensive cities in the world, but you don’t have to burn a hole in your purse to eat well at one of the city’s various ramen or curry houses.
Japanese culture is very efficient, meaning ordering food is easy. Simply pick your dish from one of the restaurant’s vending machines, make payment and you will receive a ticket, give your ticket to a server, find a seat and your food will come hot and steaming – this is ‘fast’ food Japan style.
For an authentic dining experience we’d recommend a trip to one of Tokyo’s Yakitori bars. Best known as the nation’s favourite beer snack, Yakitori are a skewered street food treat that are a little like satay and can be anything from chicken and fish through to ginko nuts and deep fried tofu.
The skewers are marinated in spices and sake wine and then grilled over Bintochan charcoals. The coals themselves are key to the final taste and texture of this eastern delicacy.
Hidden under the arches of Yurakchuo station lie a handful of the city’s most popular Yakitori vendors. After the Second World War, when housing was scarce in the city, the government gave families an arch each to live in where they began selling the skewers as a way to make a living. From here the lip-smacking trend spread down side alleys into shops and bars that have remained untouched since the 1950s.
While it remains a very informal way of eating – you might be sitting on a crate or stool and many of the stalls only have seating that is on the street – yakitori is a favourite amongst Tokyo’s young professionals who enjoy the social snack in bars (Izakaya) over drinks. This means that these establishments are of course conveniently placed near the train station and perfect for grabbing before your last train home.
ORIGINAL CALIFORNIAN CUISINE…
The food of California is characterised by fresh ingredients and fusion dishes; think sushi, specialty salads and organic steak and seafood. With an endless variety of ethnic influences and cosmopolitan cuisine, nowhere says culinary melting pot more than San Francisco’s Mission District.
Originally a Hispanic settlement, the Mission has become a favourite among fashionistas lured by new restaurants, galleries and night-spots that stand eclectically next to the authentic and even cooler dive bars. A neighbourhood whose residents consist of everyone from descendants of original settlers through to the tech entrepreneurs of Silicon Valley, Mission cuisine ranges from steak right through to ceviche.
Hailed the hipster heartbeat of the Mission, head to brunch at the Mission Beach Café. Serving fresh seasonal cuisine, get your day off to a guilt-free start with the super-fresh citrus salmon and runny poached eggs.