Japan Part Four
Happy Wednesday and welcome to the last of the travel diary series. As I move back into my more usual content after this, I am hoping I will be able to keep a more consistent posting schedule. And in other news, I have an exciting side project that I have been working on since the start of summer. Stay tuned for a little preview at the end of the month. Let's get into the travel diary.
Day five. We decided to spend our first full day in Tokyo jumping on the band wagon and visiting some trending animal cafes. First stop, hedgehog cafe!
Just nibblin' on some lunch.
Me with a little hedgehog -- ahhh. This was such a fun experience because the hedgehogs were all so cute and fun to play with. Although at first they were a bit intimidating because they are quite prickly, especially when they roll into balls, we eventually learned how to let them gradually feel comfortable and open up to us.
The place is called Harry Hedgehog Cafe and all the hedgehogs are also up for adoption.
The majority of the afternoon was spent walking around Harajuku Street. I did not get any photos, but after you get past the first more "touristy" street filled with bright and loud stores, the rest of Harajuku Street is actually quite interesting. There were some unique vintage shops, fashion creative stores, and cute boutiques.
burnt orange dress - TESSA // trainers - Isabel Marant // leather backpack - Baggu
Quick rest break at the hotel before dinner. And then after dinner, we visited an owl cafe. There were so many different types of owls, but here were some of favorites:
Owl feathers are actually a lot softer than I imagined them to be. And, it was quite funny to see them clean themselves and spin their heads all the way around. I would definitely recommend people to visit some sort of animal cafe when in Tokyo because it really is a special and fascinating experience.
Day six was mainly a shopping day, but that is what Tokyo is known for right? My main goal of the day was actually just to visit Cafe Kitsune, but then we ended up walking around the surrounding area and finding some other cool spots as well.
It is a pretty small cafe so they only have quite modest, but quality selection of drinks and then a few cookies for sale. And although the space is a bit tight, the atmosphere was pleasant and relaxed. I love how they only play music from their label and that you can find their store just around the corner.
And actually in this neighborhood, and in Tokyo in general, I noticed that it was quite popular to have cafes or small eateries included into the shopping experience. Whilst walking around, we came across this really fun store called H Beauty & Youth, which had a great collection of clothing and accessories plus an impressive vintage offering downstairs. They even had this hip pizza place connected to the store.
It was really cool to see this semi old-fashioned looking establishment mixed into tons of modern design around the area. Unexpected, but refreshing.
We ended the day with dinner at Tapas Molecular Bar in the Mandarin Oriental before a late flight. This was my first time having any type of molecular gastronomy and it was extremely entertaining and scrumptious. It was captivating to see Chef Ping play around with physical and chemical alterations to create not only these beautiful dishes, but also exceptionally delicious array of foods. The experience as a whole was not just a meal, but also a spectacular show.
Below are a few standout dishes. P.S. You can see more footage of the dinner on my travel diary video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1bPkkHYIGE
Slightly blurry, but I really wanted to talk about this one. Throughout the meal, Chef Ping played with the titles of his dishes to fool his customers. Even though this dish was called macaron and looked exactly like one, it was not what we were expecting at all. Using beet puree with some chu taro inside, he froze it in liquid nitrogen and then dusted some beet powder on top as well. This was quite exciting for us because we had to crack the macaron with a hammer in order to eat it.
This dish was really special because it is called onsen tamago, but that "egg" is actually made completely out of tofu and pumpkin puree. And, it actually tasted like an egg. I was so shocked. Paired with some orzo, barley, peas, and truffle, this was a really warm and comforting dish.
Meat from a tairagai clam pen shell steamed in 5 seconds with some ice and water plants. The glaze on top was made with some black beans and chorizo -- super yummy and refreshing.
For one of the desserts, he presented a typical yum cha or dim sum plate, but all of the elements were sweet not savory. They look exactly like the actual dim sum dishes though.
If ever in Tokyo, I would definitely recommend a visit to this molecular bar. Not only is the food extremely appetizing, but Chef Ping is really candid and talks you through his thoughts, ideas, and the whole meal. You get to learn a great deal about certain ingredients and their nature and have a splendid time.
This trip to Asia was packed with so many good experiences and exciting adventures. Thanks for coming along with me on this journey.