Sunday, December 20, 2015

Souvenirs and Pasalubong from Japan

What to look for when in Japan? I honestly do not know when it was us in there. everything seemed so nice and wonderful. But often time when you grab a hold of something, other stuffs get your attention. Which is pretty normal. A lot of cellphone charms and keychains, and memorabilia, and souvenirs and bags are sold in the Namba Walk, Dotonbori Shops, and almost all Tourist spots. Foods and chocolates and even mochi of different flavors are also popular Pasalubong from Japan.

There are really cute charms but they go for no less than 400 Yen each. lucky if you find one with a price tag of 300yen or less. I really doubt that!  Sample below is taken from the Takoyaki Museum. These takoyaki charms are all over the shopping area, and they basically cost the same. if you want one, just budget them at 400 yen each.


Well I have learned though, that you can buy cheap pasalubong only in Daiso. They have almost everything! from Home or kitchen items to Geisha doll replicas and stationary. For 108Yen, or just about 40 pesos, you can already bring home an item from Japan one for each of your friends. =)

First on your list: Every friend of yours who love to eat Ramen, and loves to eat egg, would also love this pasalubong. Its an EGG TIMER. cook perfect medium boiled eggs like they do in Japan. =) I have tested it, and yes it worked perfectly.

Also in Daiso are good Japan Souvenirs, for only 1000 yen per Doll, you can already give your Inaanak one doll each straight from Japan! :D These are replicas and some replicas sell for 5000Yen to 30,000 yen in some old towns in Japan.

Next are Kit Kats. There are a lot of Kitkat flavors found only in Japan. Most famous of this is the Green Tea Flavor. =) Go to Dotonbori and head to the Don Quixote shopping center for the best deals on KitKat. They sell it 3 packs for 760 Yen. Other shops sell 1 pack for 268Yen. This also is lowered to another 8% since tourists can buy tax free in Don Quixote.

Premium Strawberry KitKat

Unique Flavors of Kitkat only in Japan is the Green Tea, Strawberry, Strawberry Cheesecake (boxed with a Mt. Fuji Design) and the Cheesecake Flavor. I am not sure about the Premium Dark Chocolate Flavor but it sure was packed differently here too.

Strawberry Cheesecake

For your best of friends, your Ninangs you can go buy them a more expensive but really cute Solar Maiko. Like this one. It costs 1500 Yen inside the Airport and its the cheapest. In tourist spots its at 1650 Yen.

For your classmates, and officemates - you can bring them tasty goodies too - they are good but just really bulky. :P These are like the local "Shanghai" or "Lumpia"Chichirya we can buy for 1 peso. But they tastes better. These are available in Don Quixote, 1 pack at 30 pieces for 288 Yen.

Additionally, there's this Unique Oreo green tea filled snacks at Daiso for 108Yen. Too bad Daiso does not offer tax free shopping. haha

If you see this in the building around Dotonbori, you are in the right track. =) That's the Don Quixote.

Namba Walk
Shopping Center
For the Techie Friends and Family, you can go to Yodobashi and grab some of the headphones. They are at least 20% cheaper here in Japan. Also Camera Accessories are the best here - for less too. 8% discount on tax is applied for tourists as well. I bought myself 2 headphones here at on 1600Yen each.  They even cost the same as the solar Maiko! ha ha Casio Watches are available, Baby G, etc are at a lower price too. If you use a visa card, additional 5% discount is applied. =)

Japanese Love sweets, desserts actually. When you go by Kobe, they have a lot of stalls in the tourist spots that offers Mochi of different flavors. We kind of tasted a lot of these for free. They are always no less than a thousand yen per box. But some flavors are good. Dark Chocolate and Strawberries are the best. If you want to go classic, the red bean paste never go out of style.

With That, Domo Arigato Gozaimasu for reading! =) Happy Shopping! =)

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Foods you shouldn't miss when you travel to Osaka (Kansai Region) Japan

Food, Snacks and Desserts alike tastes so good in Japan. All of those we tried have made quite an impression. Here's my list of what I would be going back to Japan For. In no particular order, hope this helps as you may have come to the blog with hopes of some information on what to try out in Osaka Japan.

(1) Food court meals! If we have only found out about this sooner, We would have tried as much as we could, but really just one order would make you full already. There are a lot of  Bento boxes, Salads, Croquet, Desserts. Try the Shrimp Salad, the Shrimp Croquet, the Turkey Leg, and some sweets. Taking out would costs you half the price compared to eating in the restaurants around Namba or Dotonbori.
 Almost all train stations in Osaka leads you to a department store exit in the subway. Get inside the mall and look for the grocery.

Fresh Seafoods, Best for Sashimi

Salads, Vegetables, Fruits, and Seafood Salads

(2) Takoyaki - There are a lot of Takoyaki stalls, restaurants in Japan. in Dotonbori and in Namba Walk alone. The best so far is in Dotonbori. Where you see this huge octopus at the top of their establishment.

If you also happen to go to the Universal Studios, find time to go up one of the buildings in the Universal City. There's a Takoyaki Museum with about 5 Takoyaki shops all serving different takoyaki's. If you happen to love this snack, they serve Takoyaki with lots of scallions, cheese flavor, curry flavor and more! Try to grab a souvenir Takoyaki Keychain too if you will. =)

(3) Grilled Eel -  A lot of the restaurants in the Namba and Dotonbori Area serves grilled eel. Even in Kobe, Japan there's a grilled eel restaurant, but it was expensive! They costs from 1800 to 2500Yen. When we went to Yoshinoya, they serve grilled eel for half the price! Get in there for lunch or dinner, order this heavenly fish meal. Philippine's Yoshinoya does not have this on their Menu. 

(4) Okonomiyaki - I never thought I would love this Japanese Vegetable (Cabbage) Pancake. But I do. Now that I am home, I crave nothing more than I do this pancakes! Its so delicious, I would love to have another set all to my self.

You can choose to put in noodles in there, for a more filling meal. But for my taste, the regular one tastes better. Go for the Pork, Beef and Shrimp combination. It tastes so good, I looked for restaurants in Manila that serves okonomiyaki the moment I arrived here in Manila! =P

With Bonito Flakes

 (5) Kaiten Sushi(Bar) - The taste is good, tastes better than most sushis i have tasted in the Philippines (of course). The experience made it all different actually as you get the sushis in front of you as they go on a trip on the conveyor belt. At 135yen per plate, you will probably get to finish 7 to 10 plates on one sitting.

The menu is also in front of you; when you do not see something you like pass by you, just ask one of the waiters to make it for you and they will send it out in the conveyor belt.

 When you come to this sushi restaurant in dotonbori, do not miss out on the green tea (powder) as you enjoy your sushi. Its one of the best green tea I have had in Japan.

(6) Ramen - We have eaten quite a lot of noodles and noodle soup in Japan, Mostly in Osaka they offer Udon. I am not a fan of Udon because I like think noodles. This place in Dotonbori is a must! DO NOT MISS Ichiran. Go there, make time, wait for at least 30 minutes, do not leave nor give up. It's worth the wait. Order an Extra Egg too!

(7) Cheesecakes and Desserts- There are a lot of cheesecakes, and pastries alike in town. We tried the ones where we see  people line up for.  

First, is the Rikuro's Cheesecake. This cheesecake is worth around 700 yen (medium sized) The texture is similar to a marshmallow, but not sticky. The taste is quite nice and it is light. Best when hot or warm.

Next is the Pablo Cheesecake - which happens to already have a branch here in Trinoma Quezon City.  The Pablo Cheesecake has a different texture than Rikuro's. The cheesecake feels like a cream. It is coated with a gelatin like glazed (which i originally thought as caramelized cheese) :P Pablo Cheesecake is great even when cold. They actually keep it in a fridge at the store. 

Belgian Waffle - When you decide to go to Himeji, you will pass by a Manneken Store. The smell will just invite you. Don't miss it. Try the Belgian with Almonds and the Maple Waffle. They taste really great.

Even in their cold weather, you will be surprised as to how they loved sundae cones, or ice creams. We have gone to a lot of tourist spots and almost always see a dessert station with all sorts of flavors. Green tea is among the favorite. But we chose a simple sundae bar near the Tempozan Ferris Wheel, taking a bite slowly and just enjoying the day.

Not to Forget, Japanese Cakes are everywhere too, they have all sorts of filling. Red Bean paste and green tea also among the favorites.

(8) Yakitori - The best ones are found in Kyoto! When we went on a trip to the Thousand Tori Gates, along the exit routes are several street food stands. Food sure catches our eyes, and so we went ahead and fall in line with other tourists in there. 

Pork Yakitori
Crabsticks good for sharing

 The Beef Yakitori, Pork, and even Crabsticks. We tried all these three and they are all just great! 500 yen per stick makes it a good deal because it is quite thick and the texture is of good quality. The pork and Beef have moist and nice flavors.

(11) Torikara (chicken) Stick - They serve all kinds of fried chicken nuggets, or chicken strips. The best flavor is the one with cheese filling. I love it, plus you get to choose your own sauce. This is along Namba Walk.



(10) Other Foods we tried: Pork Burger and a pound steak, at Meat Rush Restaurant (Yodobashi 8f Dining) in Umeda. The burger is a favorite, the steak is soft and not chewy. Garlic and Onion Sauce also compliments the fresh beef as well.
The Mayo Sauce is just heavenly
One Pound Steak

If you must try Mcdonald's in Japan - go for the Ebi Sandwich. Partner it with their Chicken nuggets for an additional of only 60Yen.  I seriously had no expectations over this sandwich, and thought it must be shredded shrimps. To my surprise, it was packed with whole shrimps! This sandwich is really good, I wish they have this in the Philippines!

For experience, Try Sukiyaki. They serve it for a cheap price in Yoshinoya too. It tastes good and they even give you a good portion. Below photo is only a regular order, and they have large ones too!