This is the second video of the Japan video series and the last video about food. This time I want to show you my food experience in Kyoto and my day trips to Osaka and Hiroshima. I recommend that you watch the video first, and then read the post to get a better feel. Enjoy!

FOOD TO GO: THE BENTO BOX

When we travelled to Kyoto we had to go very early to the train station. We skipped breakfast, so before getting on the train I wanted to grab some take away. I always try to avoid sandwiches and pastries, so the bento box was very convenient for me. A bento box is not a type of food in itself, but a way of serving food that is typical of Japan.

The bento box idea came to be almost 1000 years ago. It was created to pack food for people who were not coming home for lunch that day. The early versions were not even boxes but a bag that usually contained dehydrated rice. The wooden box appeared between 15th and 16th hundreds but it was only used for storage. It was during the Edo period that Bento boxes became more mainstream and popular for packaged foods. Bento boxes are comparable to lunch bags that workers take to the workplace or students take to their schools for lunch.

Bento box, a convenient way to take away food in Japan.
Japanese style bento box

GYOKATSU DINNER IN KYOTO

Just like that sushi place from my previous video, we found a hidden gem in Kyoto with fantastic food. A restaurant around the corner from our hotel where they only serve katsus. Katsus are very similar to the fiete empanado (breaded fillet) that all Spanish kids love to have. I personally prefer the Japanese version since the bread crumbs are lighter. What I really liked about this restaurant is that despite the cheap price the meat was really tender, tasty and well cooked.

gyokatsu, typical Japanese  food
medium rare gyokatsus

STREET FOOD IN TOKYO AND OSAKA

On one of our days in Kyoto, we visited the food market and in the afternoon we went to Osaka. We ate street food all day long, and hey, was it good! 

But first of all, I have got to tell you about the coolest part of my trip. You would never guess what happened to me. While visiting a temple in Kyoto, I ran into a childhood friend whom I hadn’t seen in at least 10 years. What are the odds! After that, we ended up catching up again later in the afternoon and went to Osaka together.

street bar in Osaka

Before going to Osaka, we decided to walk around the Nishiki market (website in Japanese but decent translation provided by Google). Most of the street food comes in skewers, which is very convenient for a grab and go, and eating while you walk.

Takoyaki was my favourite of the day! Although I have to admit that I was expecting a bit more octopus in the batter. It reminds me of a big version of a croquette.

Another tasty and filling dish we tried that day was Okonomiyaki. It resembles an omelette stuffed with many varied ingredients. We tried ours in Osaka but the famous ones are in Hiroshima.

street food in Japanese market
prawn skewers at the market

SEAFOOD IN HIROSHIMA

We did a day trip to Hiroshima but honestly, the food at the crab restaurant wasn’t that great. The crab was frozen and didn’t taste good, but fortunately, the other items were decent.

If you are a non-smoker and hate cigarette smell as much as I do, check the restaurant before you decide to eat in it. In some places, they have smoking areas inside the premises, and the smell goes everywhere, which if you ask me, it is pretty disgusting.

TRADITIONAL BREAKFAST IN KYOTO

So, in the video, you are seeing breakfast at a standard Japanese restaurant. I found Japanese breakfast food really yummy, but I only got to experience the real deal at our stay in a Ryokan. Our hostess in our traditional accommodation in Kyoto made breakfast for us during our stay. It is most certainly the biggest breakfast I have ever had in my life. Because of all of its variety, it possibly is the most complete breakfast in terms of nutritional value. It has absolutely everything! However, the four breakfast staples are rice, miso soup, some sort of protein (like fish, egg, fermented soybeans), and some sort of vegetable. Even though it looks like a lot of food, it is a light meal. You will find nothing deep-fried or too greasy on the breakfast table. 

traditional Japanese breakfast at ryokan
breakfast in our stay at a ryokan

Well, that’s it in terms of food in Kyoto in particular, and Japan in general. In the next post, I will be talking about places to visit and my impressions on them. Until next week!

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