Waaah, midterms and projects are closing in! I'm sorry I haven't been updating as frequently as before...
Day 4 in Japan consisted of a lot of running around Kyoto. Kyoto is known for having many historical sites, such as the Shogun castle and one of the old imperial palaces. In terms of food, this was another one of those days where we hit up whatever we found. And luckily for us, we found an okonomiyaki joint!
|Entrance to Nijo Castle|
|Japan's Communist party?|
We stopped for lunch at a small restaurant, which seemed to be one of those fast-food chain restaurants. It had those ticket machines near the entrance, which had no pictures on them whatsoever. So we had match the symbols on the machine to the symbols on the menu poster with the pictures on them. Thankfully, we got all our orders right!
My dad ordered the tofu combo, which consisted of breaded shrimp, pickles and a platter of what seems like Chinese Mapo tofu. While not as spicy as the traditional mapo tofu, the Japanese tofu is much more tender than the Chinese tofu, and the sauce was sweet and slightly spicy. Overall, it was pretty good.
My friend ordered the tonkatsu, which she seems to love. Crispy and crunchy on the outside, lean and chewy on the inside. When has tonkatsu ever been bad?
I ordered a katsudon, which consisted of a bed of rice, tonkatsu and steamed egg. It was tasty, but a bit too sweet and heavy for me.
|Kyoto Imperial Palace|
We also walked around the 'geisha district' of Kyoto, or 'Gion'. There were quite a few restaurants that had geisha shows, but they were all pretty pricey. Prices ranged anywhere from $50 CAD to over $100 CAD for a combination meal and a geisha show, and some places require reservations. However, even if you don't go for a geisha show/dinner, it's still nice to walk around the district, with its stone streets and traditional architecture.
We also ordered various side dishes, such as grilled scallops and tofu.
The waiter was very nice, taking the time to explain to us how to prepare and eat our okonomiyaki. He spoke minimal English, but we were able to understand him without any problem. I'm not sure if it was because we were tourists or if it was the store policy, but the waiter and the restaurant owner helped cook our okonomiyaki for us, and the waiter showed us how to season them with spicy sauce, bonito and scallions.
Taste-wise, these okonomiyaki were much, much tastier than the ones I've tried in Montreal. The ones in Montreal usually come out ready-cooked, and don't contain as many ingredients as the ones here. As a result, they taste much more doughy and were mushy in texture, whereas these were bursting with flavours and much more chewy. I would definitely recommend checking out an okonomiyaki place if you're in Japan, if not for the food, then for the experience!
And that was pretty much it for day 4. Day 5, we're off to Arima to experience the famous Japanese onsen (hotsprings), and then we head to Kobe to try the mythical Kobe beef...