Favorite Japanese Snacks & Drinks

As I’m getting older, I’m learning about the importance of eating healthy and taking care of my body. During my college days, I used to be able to eat A LOT – not exaggerating. Every meal, I ate large portions. And I can’t even explain how my sister and I were able to eat all-you-can-eat Korean BBQ every other week, and eating fast food and instant noodles almost every dinner. Now, I can’t eat as much as I did before. My portions sized decreased, and I’m always leaning towards healthier options. But every now and then, I do have the urge to indulge in something sweet and savory. These are a few of my favorite (healthy & unhealthy) snacks and drinks that I like to purchase at my local Asian market.

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Saturday Lunch: Vongole Udon, Takoyaki, + Almond Milk Tea

Lately, I told myself that I should try new dishes instead of always ordering something that I’ve had many times. When I went to Midoh Japanese Kitchen, I wanted to order the Tonkatsu or the Hamburg Steak. But ultimately, I decided to try one of their udon dishes because life is too boring to not try. I ordered their Vongole Udon made with white wine, butter, garlic, clams, and black pepper. This dish is good! I’m really glad that I took the chance to try it out. The seasoning was perfect, and it doesn’t feel heavy or greasy, despite all the butter. The clams had the most flavor, and I’m surprised with the number of clams that was in this dish. I would definitely order this again.

The udon comes with a side of miso soup or corn soup, and salad. Out of habit, I asked for Miso soup, but the waiter asked me, “have you tried our corn soup?” and I haven’t. Going with what our waiter said would be a good soup choice for the udon, I ordered their corn soup. I’m being adventurous by trying something new haha. The corn was very smooth, not too sweet, and not too milky. I liked it, but it’s not something I prefer.

On the side, I ordered Takoyaki! One of my favorite Japanese snack/street food. ‘Tako’ means octopus in and ‘yaki’ means to fry or grill. It’s a popular ball-shape snack made with wheat flour batter, and usually filled with diced octopus, pickled ginger, and green onions. Topped with Japanese mayonnaise, takoyaki sauce, green laver, and dried bonito flakes.

After, my sister, her boyfriend, and I went to Cha for Tea to for Almond Milk Tea. This is the only place where my sister’s boyfriend and I like Almond Milk Tea. We’ve tried this drink at other boba shops, and we have yet to find a good one other than Cha for Tea. Also, this drink taste even better when it’s hot. We look like idiots walking out with hot drinks into 90 degrees Fahrenheit weather (32 degrees Celsius). He also has blog, so check it out: Traveling with Tech, he’s great at photography.

– Cindy

Japanese food & snacks from Tokyo Central Market

It’s Saturday, and I have the whole apartment (and dog) to myself since my sister and her boyfriend went to San Diego. I asked a good friend of mine from college to come over to watch movies. Last time, we tried to marathon The Hobbit – extended edition, and I did not make past the second movie (got sleepy). We did consider to marathon Lord of the Rings (extended edition) today, but that might go well into Sunday.  Instead, we’re just going to watch any movies that came out early 2017. For food and snacks, I went to Tokyo Central Market to grab some chips, onigiri, cold ramen noodles, salad, lemon tea, etc.

Yasai Salad chips are one of my favorite corn chips. It’s seasoned with vegetable powder, parsley, and Asian spices. The texture is very similar to cheese puffs chips. Yasai Salad Chips can be addicting, so I usually purchase 1 to 2 bags max.

Next, lemon ice tea. What I like about this lemon tea, is that it is not too sweet. It’s very nice and refreshing to drink during the summer.

Ochazuke is a dish made by pouring hot tea over rice. Sometimes late at night, I get hungry. I do not like to eat past 8:00 pm, but eating ochazuke is light enough as a snack for me. I bought the instant packet seasoning – salmon and pickled plum flavor. These individual seasoning packets contains the tea powder, nori, dried bits of salmon/pickled plum. All you need to do is pour the seasoning on top of your rice, and add hot water. But this these instant packs contains a lot of salt, so it’s better to only eat once in a while.

Many Japanese markets sells Onigiri or rice balls. I bought two – salmon and spicy tuna mayonnaise. There are many other different flavors that you can find in the market such as pickled plum, tuna mayonnaise, katsuo (dried bonito flakes), and mentaiko (seasoned cod roe).

Lastly, I bought spicy cold ramen noodles and beef shabu shabu salad. Since the weather has been very hot and humid, I wanted something cool to eat.

– Cindy