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I went to Kyoto University November Festival and tried many sorts of food and goodies. Then I found this Japanese dango-style “Palitaw” sold in an international food stand. Palitaw is a Filipino food/snack made from rice flour topped with grated coconut, sesame seeds and sugar.

The taste was similar but it wasn’t soft or cooked enough. But nice job though! So I guess they made basic dango balls, then added the Filipino-style toppings in the end instead of kinako, anko or glaze sauce.

Amazing.

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I was able to participate in a subsidized study tour organized by the Graduate School of Biotudies, Kyoto University targeted for the international students. The tour was destined to Awaji Island by crossing the famous Akashi Kaikyou Bridge connecting the island to the mainland Kobe. We had a fantastic view of the sea, or maybe I was exaggerating it, because it’s been a while since I’ve seen one. I miss the smell and color of the sea!

The main goal of the tour was to learn how to make the Japanese thick chewy noodle “udon”. I actually like udon very much so I was very glad to make our own handmade noodles (although the staff made the dipping broth). The secret for the chewy consistency is kneading the dough several times by stepping on it! Then we cut the dough to 4-mm thick using a cool-looking knife.

After making and eating udon, we went again to the famous bridge and there was a promenade park underneath the structure. I have a bit of fear of heights so I had trouble looking below the glass pane overlooking the sea below. Then we went home after sunset.

That trip was certainly relaxing since I have nothing to do and worry about anything. But one thing I realized is that Kyoto is still more beautiful..

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Visiting Kyoto is definitely not complete without tasting its elegantly sweet and bitter matcha parfait using only the finest teas in Kyoto. A very Japanese approach to dessert, I must say. A Japanese friend of mine has kindly invited me to this beautiful store, Gion Tsujiri, tucked along the busy street of Shijo-dori. I thought this place would only be filled with women but I was wrong. I even saw some old local men and also male foreigners inside the shop. I think that is a sure testament of the shop’s success.

So here are the parfaits we ordered: Shiratama Parfait (白玉パフェ) and Fukiyose (吹きよせ).

You can see more of the parfait menu in their site: http://www.giontsujiri.co.jp/saryo/menu/kyoto_gion/pafe/

This time I took my sister to this local ramen house located in UP Town Center, Katipunan Avenue. Despite the fact that the (more legitimate) Ramen Nagi is just right next door, we chose to have our lunch in Ryu Ramen & Curry because of their cheaper menu.

So I ordered Spicy Miso Ramen while my sister ordered Karubi Ramen. Karubi might have been from Korean Kalbi.

I like my sister’s ramen but it’s too beefy in taste. Also the meat was too chewy to appreciate its taste. But, overall, we were satisfied. Afterwards, we were asked to fill up a review form in which we were given a free coupon of fruit shake (as a thank-you-gift) for our next visit.

My ramen buddies and I thought of eating ramen somewhere near our place (unlike Makati) so we found this ramen restaurant quietly tucked along the Sgt. Esguerra Ave. near Edsa. Go-en ramen’s location is not particularly accessible but we were still determined to go since we haven’t seen each other for a long time. It has a rather nice and homey atmosphere. I think the owner of the restaurant is also very fond of the hammer-shaped Japanese toy with ball attached to a string (forgot the name) because there were lots in display.

So we ordered right away. I had cheese-miso ramen while my friends had burnt shiyo ramen. I was instructed not to mix the cheese right away but allow it to slowly melt in my soup as I eat. The cheese-miso ramen also comes with soft-boiled egg, bean sprouts, ground beef (beneath the mound of cheese) and corn. Meanwhile, the burnt shiyo ramen comes with soft-boiled egg, menma (bamboo shoots), naruto (fish cake), char siu slices and nori (seaweed).

The ramen set is complete with appetizer side dish (small sweetened fish with sesame seeds), iced green tea and one scoop of vanilla ice cream. We weren’t expecting it coming, especially the ice cream so we were overjoyed. I was so full that I didn’t finish my share of gyoza and also had my leftover ramen packed. Still we had a wonderful time. I’ll definitely come back when I have the time (and money).

My co-workers were craving Japanese food one time and so while we weren’t that busy that day, we decided to dine out in a Japanese restaurant. We were choosing between “Roku Ramen and Sushi” in Katipunan and “Takeiya” in Maginhawa. We have already tried the former restaurant and we had very good first impressions with the food. Having eaten a lot of ramen, theirs isn’t in the high end but still tasted pretty good and satisfying. Their sushi rolls are also highly recommended. Meanwhile, no one haven’t tried “Takeiya” and I have read mixed reviews about this restaurant. Still, we decided to go to “Takeiya” mainly because we haven’t tried it yet and also for the convenience.

They offer so much variety, I was surprised! Anyway, my co-workers ordered the usual ones like katsudon, fish fillet, etc. while I tried their miso ramen (being a ramen fan). Also we ordered two kinds of sushi for group sharing.

 

I guess it’s okay. The sushi in “Roku Ramen and Sushi” is still better though. The miso ramen I ordered tasted nice but I felt the noodles should not belong there, maybe they’re kind of egg noodles instead of wheat? In general, the taste and ambiance felt like “Masshitta”  in UP Shopping Center but more expensive. But I don’t think I’ll be coming back here because there are far better alternatives.

Since I live in someone else’s house (hence, a boarder), I am limited to use the stove for boiling purposes only. Still, I really wanted to cook and concoct my own dishes. Also, I cannot forget the rich miso ramen broth of Roku Ramen and Sushi we ate just this Friday. So I decided to add some twists in a seemingly cheap taste of  just-add-hot-water instant noodles.

That night, I looked for whatever was available in my food container and decided to use Lucky Me! Supreme Jjampong as the base. In my bowl I added the noodles, soup powder, a little bit of Cowhead lactose-free milk (because I’m lactose intolerant) and Century Tuna Hot & Spicy for some meat ( and for more spicy kick!). Then I poured boiling water onto the bowl and sealed it until the noodle’s done.

Then came the moment of truth – tasting, and I’d say it turned out quite nice! Or was it just me with a weird sense of taste? It may not look like in the picture but it was really good. The spiciness was dampened a bit (might be because of the milk) but it still kicks in because of the Century Tuna oil. The soup was also creamier and had a slight taste of sopas. Overall, 4/5.

The one thing that really bothered me was that I ended up having lactose-intolerant symptoms after eating this. Maybe the hot water denatured the lactase enzymes in the milk? I might not do it again, sadly, because of that.