Trip to Kansai, Japan: Kobe and Nara (Part 2 – Food)

Our trip to Kobe was seriously all about the food. Nara was more about the culture, but they did have some of the softest, most delicious mochi (rice cakes) that I have EVER had.

Kobe

  1. Kobe Beef
    Kobe beef is famous all over the world. I remember signs growing up at fancy restaurants boosting to serve this coveted cow, but have also read it was all a farce. Either way, I never tried it before to know if hundreds were really duped or not. As for myself, I ate it here and I… just words fail me.We went to this place and it was phe-no-me-nal!
    C360_2015-07-15-15-06-14-912Just like everywhere else in the world that has tourists, there will be some who just say something that people who don’t know better will believe. Here’s my bit of advice. Look for this award in the restaurant:
    C360_2015-07-15-13-21-29-092This means that it is legit Kobe beef. DH and I went to eat lunch because it was a lot less expensive than dinner in the same restaurants. Here is the lunch menu:
    C360_2015-07-15-13-53-01-974 C360_2015-07-15-13-53-10-318Does that say 10,000 Yen (approx. 100 USD) for Kobe beef!? Like I said… we opted for lunch because it was less expensive. We also ordered an S Lunch as well for typical wakyu (Japanese style beef) to compare:C360_2015-07-15-13-49-15-186“S Lunch Menu” versus “Kobe Beef Lunch”
    The only real difference is any meat that is set in front of you, but DH and I split everything, I even nicely let him eat half of my Kobe beef.

    Wakyu:
    C360_2015-07-15-13-59-16-136Kobe beef:
    C360_2015-07-15-13-59-07-684The long, thin one is the Kobe:

    C360_2015-07-15-14-17-42-741Aside from the beef, the menus for both meals are essentially the same. Also, real hibachi cooking!
    C360_2015-07-15-14-08-22-722 C360_2015-07-15-14-13-04-801 C360_2015-07-15-14-12-46-234 C360_2015-07-15-14-07-59-366 C360_2015-07-15-14-22-30-003 C360_2015-07-15-14-24-08-991 C360_2015-07-15-14-47-11-051 C360_2015-07-15-14-52-16-675Butter in beef form is the best way to describe the wonder that is Kobe beef. It was worth the 100 buck price tag for the experience in my opinion.

     

     

  2. Akashiyaki (a.k.a. the original Takoyaki, or egg takoyaki)
    After walking a bit about Chinatown, we were not hungry at all and so unfortunately we didn’t eat any of the interesting Chinese street food that was sprinkles every dozen feet or so away from each other, we went to a small place that serves a special kind of takoyaki.

    C360_2015-07-15-17-18-13-337DH did not do his research enough because as soon as I ate it I asked if this was just egg with a piece of octopus in it. He checked online and said, “Yep.” Despite this, it was good. I just can’t stomach a lot of egg at one time so he had to eat it alone.

Nara

  1. Dango
    I saw a review of a dango restaurant in Seoul a few months ago and had always wanted to try. Basically, dango are skewered, grilled mochi (rice cakes) in a glaze.
    C360_2015-07-14-12-47-02-411From my guess the glaze was soy sauce and a bit of mirin, maybe a smidgen of sugar so it thickens up. I would have preferred some honey instead, but it was great none-the-less. Definitely something I plan to recreate at home.
  2. Cold Udon
    This was a restaurant with high reviews on the Japanese “Yelp” app that my husband was using. I do not really like udon, never have and probably never will, but we went here anyways. (Spouses make sacrifices because they love each other, right?)
    C360_2015-07-14-14-23-11-347There were hot and cold options of just about everything. This was eaten like soba, where you dip your noodles in the broth. Mine was a rich soy bean and pork broth. Not bad. Made me wish I liked udon more.
  3. Mochi 
    These guys are famous. If you are walking to (or from) Todaijidera and you hear men grunting like they are in a display of martial arts intermitten with smacking sounds, you are in for a treat. Look for the crowd and head there. This is where they are making up some nom-tastic green tea mochi.
    C360_2015-07-14-14-02-40-387Get them while they are fresh and it will be the softest piece of mochi you have ever experienced.
    C360_2015-07-14-14-03-40-887 C360_2015-07-14-14-04-22-966

 

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