So looking back through my photos to put this post together it turns out that we ate basically nothing in Kyoto. So this is going to be a short Kyoto food diary.
We only spent 36 hours in Kyoto so here’s our food diary.
Bento boxes are by definition “a single-portion take-out or home-packed meal common in Japanese cuisine”. Thank you wikipedia.
So when you take the shinkansen/bullet train it’s practically the law that you get one. At least that’s what I told myself. Getting a 6.30am train from Tokyo to Kyoto meant that Topher and I needed breakfast so this was a both convenient and delicious solution.
I got myself a salmon onigiri (which is a filling like salmon, tuna, etc. surrounded by rice and wrapped in seaweed to make a triangle shape), a milk tea and a bento box. The bento box consisted of deliciously marinated beef on a bed of sticky rice.
One thing to mention is that this bento box was cold. And yet it was so delicious I still dream of it now. Bento boxes can also come hot but I went with this one. If you’re in Japan get one whether you’re riding the shinkansen or not.
As a lover of sushi and seafood, this salmon sashimi was right up my street. Perfection! The sea urchin on the other hand I could take or leave. We just wanted to tick it off our bucket lists. The taste was fine but the texture was…interesting. I’ll leave you with that.
I say torched because the guy literally blow torched them there and then before handing them to me on a stick. These were the best things I ate all day. I hadn’t seen them on any blogs or vlogs – I just saw a woman with them that day and hunted the market until I found them. Recommended.
Yes indeed that is an octopus you see. And not just an octopus; a glazed octopus. And not just a glazed octopus; a glazed octopus with a quail egg inside its head.
I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this taste-wise as much as I did. It was actually pretty nice. But only if you like seafood. If you don’t then steer clear of this eccentricity.
And unfortunately those are all the photos I have. For dinner and breakfast the next day we went to a convenience store (kombini) which you can actually see on our Kyoto video here.
And the next day for lunch we headed to another branch of our beloved Sukiya which I first spoke about in my Tokyo food diary. And that’s it!
Stay tuned for my next instalment where we head to Osaka.
If you can’t wait for that I’m happy to tell you that all of our Japan vlogs are up on my Youtube channel. Enjoy!
Sukiya is like staple Japanese fast food. They mainly serve gyūdon which is basically a beef and rice bowl. We found this next to our Shibuya hotel so we ran in out of the rain and it was exactly the kind of comfort food we were after.
We both had beef, rice and cheese. It was so good that we ate at two more branches on our Japan trip.
Street Food at Asakusa
When we went to Senso-ji on the first day we decided to try as many kinds of street food as we could.
These are little cakes filled with red bean paste. So cute and tasty! We both enjoyed them even though Topher isn’t a huge fan of red bean paste.
This doesn’t look like much but wow oh wow was it good. Dango is mochi balls on a skewer and comes in many different varieties. This type is covered in soy flour which tasted like peanut butter in my opinion. I think this is my second favourite type of dango.
Say hello to my favourite type of dango. These mochi balls are covered in a sweet soy sauce. Served hot from the street they were the best treat of the morning.
Daifuku is mochi stuffed with red bean paste. This particular type also came with a large strawberry on top. Topher was happy to find that this vendor also did a version where it was stuffed with thick custard instead of red bean. Both were delicious though a little messy to eat!
Our final bit of street food was a melon pan ice cream sandwich to share. Melon pan is basically sweet bread. It’s name comes from the outer shell which is a criss-cross pattern that looks like a melon. This particular shop that I got it from only had a few flavours of soft serve ice cream to choose from (despite having about 30 you could have in a cone!) so I panicked and chose matcha.
Topher does not like matcha at all so I had to eat a lot of this…oh well!
Korean BBQ has become pretty popular in Japan and I saw this restaurant on youtube so had to give it a go. This particular branch was in Shinjuku and we both went for the lunch set meals. You get a plate of meat and veg to cook, a bowl of rice, a bowl of miso and some little side dishes. It was one of our more expensive meals but pretty reasonable considering how much food you got.
This is a chain that was started by a guy originally from Japan in the USA but a branch finally opened in Japan. I’d heard it was good so we decided to give it a go. We both went for their wagyu beef ramen which was very good. The beef cooked itself in the broth!
A Happy Pancake – Shibuya
Ever since I discovered soufflé pancakes online a few years ago I’ve been dying to try them. So A Happy Pancake had to be added to my list. We showed up just after opening and had to wait about 20 minutes for a table. I just went with the original ones with maple syrup and honey butter and they were to die for!
Keep in mind if you ever go here that the pancakes take a while to cook so bring your patience with you. They are definitely worth the wait though.
Reissue – Harajuku
If you’re looking for something a little out of the ordinary then get yourself to this 3D latte art cafe. They have a book full of options and the creations are super cute. Rather expensive though!
Street Food in Harajuku
We also decided to try some random Harajuku food (minus their famous crepes as we were too full from breakfast) as we walked around.
We got this ginormous thing covered in soy butter and it was delicious though in some places a tad too salty.
We picked up this dango in Daiso which is a 100yen store. We spent a fair bit of money in here. They do all kinds of snacks, homeware and beauty stuff among other things. This was my least favourite dango but it did have a lot to live up to with the other two we tried. I just wanted to be able to hold an emoji!
Calbee is a Japanese snack maker famous for their different type of crisps. You can get fresh ones in their Harajuku store with different toppings. We got some crisps covered in chocolate sauce as well as some veggie flavour sticks. The pink wrapped one was a freebie we were given at the till.
We both enjoyed the potato stick things – the regular flavour were all sold out. And I loved the chocolate covered ones. It reminds me of when I was a weird kid who would put plain crisps and chocolate in my mouth at the same time.
The freebie was one we opened on the shinkansen (bullet train) the next day. They were prawn flavour crisps covered in strawberry flavour chocolate. Topher liked – I did not!
Food Show – Shibuya
Food Show is a food hall in a department store in Shibuya. We were low on time and money at this point in the day so I got this luxury egg sandwich I saw on Youtube and Topher got a pork bun and some pork gyoza.
My egg sandwich was amazingly good and I wish I’d been able to buy a second one. I will never be able to replicate this at home.
Topher loved what I will forever call his pork feast. And that’s everything we ate in Tokyo!
Ey up! So with it being January, naturally the world and their mother are trying to watch what they eat. Whether that be trying out Veganuary, Dry January or simply watching themselves eat more cake (nom!), you’ll be hard pressed to find someone not talking about it.
As a person who doesn’t eat pork, I have found myself trying to find sausages in this country that I can eat. Other meat types do exist but they don’t seem to be well stocked. So over the years I’ve found myself trying more and more vegetarian sausages.
If you haven’t heard of Heck, then where the heck have you been? #sorrynotsorry. Heck are a British food company who believe in making unique, healthy and delicious sausages – among other things these days! Having been a fan of Heck since I tried some of their chicken sausages a few years ago at a food festival, I was super excited when they offered to send me some of their vegan sausages to try.
Though I won’t be participating in Veganuary, Topher and I have been actively trying to eat less meat in the last few months. At the moment we’ve narrowed down our meat eating to outside the house only. So home cooking is all veggie for us now. I couldn’t wait to try the four type of vegan sausages that Heck offer.
So that we could compare but not overwhelm ourselves, we decided to try out a new kind each night for four days. Here’s how it went:
These are the ones I was most excited for. The package describes them as “Indian-style veggie bangers with cauliflower, green lentils, pulses and seeds. All spiced up with chilli, ginger, cumin and turmeric.”
So…this isn’t my photo. This looks a whole lot better than my photo. I’m good at following recipes but not so good at making it look pretty. You want to see the real thing I made? Well you asked for it…
Complete with chipped plate that I am sneakily hiding with my thumb, I digress. Anyway, you must be thinking, please tell me this tastes better than it looks? Yes. Yes it does. In fact it tasted so good that it ties for joint first place for me. I’ll tell you which one with in a bit! The combo of the sausages with the dahl and the cauliflower was just delicious. If you’re a fan of Indian food then I definitely recommend these.
Filled with quinoa, spinach, kale & ginger – I have to admit these weren’t at the top of my list of the types I thought I’d like. Blame it on an entire childhood of hating anything green. But I’m happy to say that these were my joint favourite with the bollywood bangers. Especially the way I served them. Loosely based on this Heck recipe, we ate the super green sausages Mexican style. Mexican is my second favourite type of food so it’s not that surprising that I loved the flavour of this.
So I was hoping that this would look a little prettier but that idea went out the window when the sour cream, salsa and guacamole glooped onto the top. Not particularly arty but tasty as well. We paired the taco boats with paprika wedges. I’m so pleased I saw the Heck recipe because I wouldn’t have thought to go in this direction with this particular sausage. Another meal I would definitely have again!
“Veggie bangers made with fragrant thai pesto, sweet potato & sticky rice” i knew straight away that Topher would love these sausages. Following another Heck recipe that would be perfect for BBQs in the summer, I have to once again state that it tastes better than it looks dammit!
My suspicion was correct and these sausages were Topher’s favourite of the whole bunch. An easy meal to throw together and something a little bit different from a plain old hotdog. These would also be lovely in a stir fry!
Now I’ll be honest and say I was pretty apprehensive about these sausages. I hate beetroot. I always have. So my plan of action was to give them a fair shot by finding a recipe I could hide them in. Yes I’m a child. Since jambalaya traditionally has pork in it I don’t get to have it I figured Heck’s jambalaya recipe would be a winner.
Ooh look another pretty picture definitely….not taken by me. Thanks Heck. Here’s what I actually made:
Unsurprisingly these were my least favourite but they were edible. I actually finished the whole thing and took some to work the next day. Topher does like beetroot and did agree with me that they had more of an earthy kind of taste so weren’t as nice as the other sausages we had this week. But to be honest the bar was pretty high in the first place. If you can’t get enough of beetroot then these are certainly worth a try.
I’m a big fan of food experiments and this one was a successful one. I’ll definitely be hunting some more of these down in the future. It’s so nice to see more veggie and vegan food appearing in stores – especially when it’s so delicious!
Heck vegan sausages are available to buy in Asda, Waitrose, Booths and Ocado
Have you ever tried Heck Sausages?
*Sausages were sent to me by Heck free of charge in return for an honest review
Man oh man was it hot on Saturday when Claire and I trekked out to Heaton Park for the Manchester Eats Festival. But was it worth it? Hell yes.
It was around lunchtime when we strolled through the entrance and we were hungry! Luckily for us the festival was big but not overwhelming so we had plenty of choice.
We started by having a stroll around on the hunt for lunch. We mainly spent our time taking photos of things we wanted to come back for on the way out to take home. A strategy that worked out perfectly. The festival was busy but not too crowded – mainly down to the football being on (Yay England!). But something that I wasn’t expecting was that they had set up TVs dotted around with lots of seating so you could actually watch the game. Claire and I stopped at them every so often to keep an eye on the score but we were on a mission.
Our first stop was for a drink at Calyx. Their watermelon, apple and hibiscus flower mocktails were to DIE FOR! It was the perfect thing for the hot weather. So refreshing.
As for lunch itself, Claire spotted Cottonopolis’s Japanese offerings so how could we say no? Claire had a Chicken Kaarage Bao bun with kimchi, I had a Katsu Chicken Burger and we split some okonomiyaki fries.
Completely stuffed, we wandered some more in search of something a bit more alcoholic. For once I hadn’t driven so I could have whatever I wanted.
Claire being a big gin fan was instantly drawn into the gin garden where she had a cocktail from Tappers. She said it was delicious. I will take her word for it as I don’t like gin!
I do however like Pimms…
It was getting hotter by the minute so we sat in front of one of the TVs to drink our drinks. Perfect timing for one of our goals! Come on England!
Then it was time for dessert. Claire was fascinated by the concept of ice cream rolls so we visited The Ice Alchemists. They whipped up Manchester tart flavoured ice cream rolls and it was definitely true to taste. I might have had a little nibble.
Earlier on we had spotted something new in the dessert world so I had to make it my dessert choice. Milky Stax are a new company who specialise in hot pressed ice cream buns. Delicious brioche buns filled with ice cream. Kind of like a doughnut or ice cream sandwich. I definitely enjoyed mine (vanilla ice cream with chocolate chip cookie crumble on top) – the portion was just right and I loved the contrast between hot and cold. I hope to see them around again!
By this point we were pretty tired and hot so it was time to put our foldable shopping bags to good use and go round buying everything we wanted to bring home with us. Did I mention how much I like being employed full time again? It was mainly sweet treats and booze I bought and I regret nothing. Since Topher couldn’t come I had to get him this chocolate I spotted at In Truffle We Trust. He loved it and I also loved the pecan pie chocolate I got for myself. Delicious.
Overall both Claire and I had a great day. Food, drink, sunshine and England getting through to the semi finals! Thanks to Manchester Eats Festival for providing our tickets. I hope you’ll be back soon!
Long time readers of this blog will know I am a massive foodie. I am also a huge fan of food festivals. Topher and I are lovers of Disney World’s Food & Wine Festival at Epcot but can no longer go as it’s during term time and he works in a school. Sad face.
Much closer to home I was also hoping the Ideal Home Show would be back to Manchester this year and bring it’s Eat and Drink festival along with it but my dreams were shot. Another sad face.
That’s right, Manchester has a food festival coming up! My food loving heart is overjoyed. Manchester Eats Festival is in Heaton Park next weekend (7th– 8thJuly), tickets start from just £7.50 and kids under 14 go free. I will be there with bells on. And trousers that have a stretchy waistband! Plus the weather looks like it’s going to be just as hot as it’s been in the last week or two. So don’t forget the sun cream!
Highlights of the festival include demos with top chefs such as Marco Pierre-White, Ed Bainesand more, free workshops, street food, a prosecco tent, food marketplace, gin garden and vintage fairground rides. Plus one of their exhibitors is Reds True Barbecue. I’m sold.
It’s perfect for going with your friends or you can even bring the whole family along. There’s something for everyone – whether you’re into your alcohol or you can’t stop talking about healthy living. I’ll be telling my friends with little ones about the free cookery class for kids – maybe they’ll end up with a master chef? There’s even something for the vegans so don’t let dietary restrictions stop you from giving it a whirl.
I can’t bloody wait. I’ll be attending with my fellow foodie Claire and hopefully we If you end up going and see me around – come and say hi. I’ll probably have a mouth full of food but something tells me I won’t be the only one! Those who can’t make it check out my post about it in a couple of weeks.