While I loved the fine dining of Japan, it was also fun to try out the simple stuff from the corner store or little hole in the wall. Sometimes, I just walked by something that looked interesting, and figured, “why not try this?” It was fun to go into the little 7 Elevens and try out new treats. Here’s our group in the parking lot of a convenience store sampling the packaged ice cream. I didn’t check out the McDonalds, Baskin’ Robbins, or other American chain restaurants, because these ones were much better treats from the street:
Japanese people love ramen shops. They are set up in a really interesting way. Even though they are full restaurants, you start by ordering from a machine on the street, putting your money into a little slot.
It was cheap (less than $10 for a plate of dumplings, huge bowl of soup, and rice) — but still a bit strange to order from a machine. There was no robot making the food. The machine printed out a little receipt, and then you brought that inside, sat down, and gave it to the waiter. A few minutes later, he brought your food over, and you could eat and leave whenever (because you already paid at the machine). Yum! The soup was gigantic and delicious.
In addition to the food from machines, it was fun to try new beverages in cans and bottles. Sometimes, I could tell what I was getting, and sometimes I couldn’t. I decided not to try the Salt and Fruit drink here.
I did try a bunch of new juices. It was common for juices to have chunks in them! Sometimes, they seemed like pieces of fruit, but other times they were like little pieces of jello in your drink. Kind of strange to the unaccustomed taste buds, but I liked it.
Some sort of sweet (I have no idea what it’s called)
I got to see these cookie type things being made, but I don’t know the name:
I saw lots of deep fried foods. How can you go wrong, really? Except that fried chicken for breakfast is a little bizarre.
In Kushiro, we had dinner in a place called Moo, which was sort of like a food court. There were lots of little restaurants, and you ordered up there, and then sat anywhere. There was also a place like this 6 floors under a department store in Tokyo. Both were quick and yummy.
At the one in Kushiro, they had a machine where you could put in a dollar and get a fortune. Here’s our group crowded around our translator, Hatagami San, finding out what it said.
I’m sorry that you can’t eat this from the screen:
Weird Flavored Caramels
My personal favorite snack was caramel. Since Hokkaido has a lot of dairy cows, milk caramel was very common. And so good. And so many flavors.
They even had lamb flavored caramels! Gross! I bought some and brought some home if you want to try it. But I wouldn’t recommend it.
Personally, I liked the local caramels better than the green tea Kit Kats.
Doesn’t this look good?
Don’t get too excited. It’s plastic! It was common on the street to see these in restaurant windows. They show off what the food would look like if you ordered it, and are VERY helpful if you don’t read Japanese. But you probably wouldn’t want to eat the displays.
Want to see more?
I’ve already written about green tea / sweet potato ice cream swirl and conveyor belt sushi, which would both fit into the fast food category. And look out for a post on school lunches coming soon. I’ve got to get all of these Japan posts up, because my second trip of the summer is coming up. I leave for Iceland on Saturday!