Japan Kyoto day 9: cultural differences Japan vs Netherlands

I feel that the photo stories are getting boring, so today I will talk about some interesting things I have noticed. Some cultural differences compared to the Netherlands.

Cultural differences

Stay left. In Japan they drive on the left side. Walking on the street is also on the left. Standing still on the escalator is also on the left. Walk on the right. In Osaka they do it the other way around. In the train and subway stations you will see arrows on the ground for guidance.

Run for the traffic light. People often run towards the traffic light when they see it is green or when they know it will be green soon. I have never seen this in NL. Only when the green light starts to blink, I will walk a bit faster.

Food lines. Often you see lines in front of restaurants, but I noticed, it doesn’t mean it is totally full inside. I think they do this so they can give you full attention inside. When we went to the 550 year soba restaurant with the line, there were quite some tables free inside.

Mind your own business. People in the train really keep their eyes to themselves. They won’t stare at Western people, unlike in China. Also people walk very considerate. They notice you from afar and will walk a bit the side. Europe and China experiences are more like *bump bump*.

Less bowing. 8 years ago they bowed more. These days no one has bowed for us. Interesting… But I like this much better. A lot of bowing made me feel uncomfortable.

Toilets. The toilets here are the best advanced inventions. A comfortable heated seat, water sprays for you bottom area, music for hiding pooping sound. Every station has very pretty and clean toilets: nice interior, better lighting than the station part and even a make-up area. I wonder when Japanese people go to Europe and try those cold seated toilets. Do they think: “Wow, what an ancient toilet.. but man! Do they have thick and soft toilet paper!” I wonder…

Also the showers are so comfortable. In our hotel we have a whole little room for scrubbing you body first in front of a mirror and a bath tub next to it. You can make the whole room wet, because every corner is water proof. And there is a very good exhaust system to get rid of the water.

Photos of the day

We went to the bamboo forrest. Was okay to see, there were a lot tourists of course. When I played Okami (PlayStation game) the bamboo forrest was more magnificent.

Shrine at a shopping area.

Ramen at Ippudo Nishikikouji. This was my favourite bowl till now. Chicken like broth, but is was pork, not too strong flavour. Medium thin noodles, firm bite. Fatty pork. Nice spice kick. Haaaa… I just love ramen <3

Tomorrow Kobe! To eat Kobe beef 😋 nomnomnom…

Japan day 3: entertainment in Odaiba

Today we explored the Odaiba area, which has a lot of malls and entertainment stuff. We saw a baby seal who has been petted alot. He is not that fluffy anymore. We also saw the big gundam and a small statue of liberty.

In one of the malls they had an interactive arcade themepark called “Joypolis”. They have a rollercoaster with a rhythm game, a hologram concert of an anime figure, racing in moving car and much more. In the photo you see extreme skateboarding. They are strapped in a safety thing and can rotate while gliding.

Food

For lunch we had tonkotsu ramen. The broth is made from pork bones. It was creamy and full of taste. The noodles however, were not that good. Not freshly made, it was still a bit raw.

Dinner was tonkatsu, deep fried pork with shredded cabbage. The meat was very soft, but the batter layer was a bit too oily for me. The first day we had a deep fried shrimps which had a very light batter, which was much tastier.

Toilet time

I am surprised by the all the manuals in the toilet. Every item has an explanation sign. You won’t get lost here. In our hotel we also have a bidet. It’s quite nice to clean your butt with the spray. You can choose the spray hardness and let it sway.

I have to say, it’s very clean in Japan; the things, the buildings and the people are very neat. There are no strange smells on the street. Usually a city has this city smell, but here I am sniffing very hard and not much to discover.

Odaiba area is a very nice spot for shopping, arcade halls, eating (okay food) and enjoying nice views. Today it was not that crowded. So visit on weekdays to avoid crowds.

Tomorrow we will be travelling to Kyoto.

Yokohama Ramen Saito ~ Authentic Japanese ramen in Schiedam

The most delicious authentic Japanese ramen in Schiedam? Yes, you read it well. Yokohama Ramen Saito has landed in this small city, next to big brother Rotterdam. Before my visit I was doubtful: “Will this be good ramen?” still remembering the average experiences at some other ramen shop…
BUT, I can conclude: you all need to visit my dear readers! It was so good! Here is the story…

First visit

The restaurant interior looks very simple, it reminds me of a snackbar. Inside the tables are almost all occupied. There is still one table free for us. We have a very good view into the open kitchen. Toshimi Saito is working hard on the dishes. So many big pots in the kitchen.

Chef working hard

History

Toshimi Saito (42) told me that the gods have send him to Schiedam. He once stayed in Schiedam in an AirBnb, there he fell in love with the small city. He saw the empty store on the corner of Parkweg next to water and windmills and he knew he wanted to start his noodle shop there. Now his adventure has started with Yokohama Ramen Saito.

Toshimi Saito comes from Yokohama. Before coming to Schiedam he has worked in Japan for 10 years at a company which makes noodles the traditional way. There he learned all the different methods of making noodles. From his blog I also learned that he has a noodle machine which he is customizing to perfection.

Noodle machine. Courtesy of Toshimi Saito

The menu

The menu has several ramen dishes and side dishes. Toshimi Saito is still experimenting and expanding his menu. On the day we visited (12 July 2017) he offers: pork broth ramen (soy sauce/miso), chicken broth ramen (soy sauce/miso), vegetarian soup and tantan ramen (a bit spicy, chicken, garlic, egg).

It is also possible to customize your ramen the way you like it. You can choose the chew level of the noodles, the amount of sauce and the amount of oil. I found the ramen a bit too oily, so the next time I will choose less oil. Also if you are a big eater, you can order an extra portion of noodles. You can even change the sauce and soup after serving. What an excellence service!

The food

I ordered the Tonkastu soy sauce ramen, a pork broth. I wanted to experience the most general ramen soup and in my opinion that is the pork broth. Also I wanted no other taste makers than the broth and some soy sauce.

The pork broth soup is very thick and creamy. A bit too much oil for me when slurping the noodles, but afterwards when I drank all the soup (kanmaku), it didn’t feel oily at all. The taste is soft, not too salty, just enough taste. The noodles are a bit wider than I have eaten before, but I like it! You have more bite. The noodles are all freshly made with local ingredients. For example, the flour comes from the windmill across his restaurant.

The pork meat was so thick and soft. Usually you get one piece of pork meat, but since we had to wait for some time we got some extra meat. I loved the burned onion pieces in the soup. There are also some vegetables, but I wish the next time there is also bamboo, because I love bamboo. Good to know: they only use halal chicken.

Price

The price is 9 euro per noodle dish. That is very cheap for the quality you get!
It is also possible to take out, but for now only non-soup items like gyoza, chashu rice and wok dishes. I like the fact that you can give your feedback about the food and other stuff. They keep on improving!

Quoting Lazy Bear:

“This was the best ramen I have ever eaten outside of Asia. I am coming back for more.”

Yes, we will… yes, we will…

Time for you guys to visit them. Let’s make this the most raging Japanese ramen shop from the Netherlands! 😀

Yokohama Ramen Saito
Parkweg 406, 3119 CV Schiedam
+31 (0)6 4112 9532

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Tue – Sat    17:00-21:00 (dinner)
Sun             11:30-15:30 (lunch)
Mon & Tue     Closed

Recipe: LazyPigPassion instant noodles

Today I craved for some instant ramen. But I didn’t have any at home, so I had to go out of my cave and buy them. I was so happy to eat instant ramen again, so I am sharing my go-to ramen recipe.

Ingredients: a package of instant ramen, tomato (for red coloring), spring onion (for taste), green veggie (for green coloring) and egg (for some protein).


I also bought some ‘new’ instant noodles to try, as you may have seen on instagram. Need to try some new things, to get new experiences, you know.

I still have a lot of (amazing food!) photos from my Düsseldorf trip which I want to share. Soon there will be a posts about Yaki-The-Emon, Takumi Düsseldorf & Rotterdam and something special. Something more design? You will see 🙂

Have a good Fridayyy!

Japanese food in Düsseldorf

I took a week off from work and went to Düsseldorf with Lazy Penguin to eat good food. Food trip! Today we ate a lot of Japanese food.

Takumi

We had to try the original Takumi. Review: they have better ramen broths than in Rotterdam. They had a pork bone soup, so tasty! And my miso ramen was also well-seasoned, not too salty. The amount of noodles was also good, a bit less than other places, just enough for me. Side dishes were so so here, good, but Rotterdam’s were more “wow”. (I will update this post later with more photos from my big camera)
Takumi rating: 7.5/10

Yaki-The-Emon

In the evening we went to Yaki-The-Emon, suggested by a friend of Lazy Penguin. This was a drinking/side dishes/yakitori (food on a stick) restaurant. We were still quite full from the lunch, so choosing small dishes was a better idea than a big meal.

Yaki really surprised us, every dish was really ‘new’ to us. Interesting tastes and textures. A ceasar salad grilled on the grill, a grilled eggplant with miso sauce, salmon sashimi, okra wrapped in beef, and beef stew with root veggies 🌈. Mmm. The interior design was in the style of a drinking/eating place in Japan. Really nice atmosphere. 🙂 The waiters at both places were very friendly.

Yaki rating: 8,5/10
We might go back to Yaki to try more dishes.

We saw some other cuisines we want to try: Vietnamese food, Korean BBQ and Korean shaved ice. Yes, that is mainly Asian food.

A dedication to ramen – Hinoki Noodle Soup – Rotterdam

Aah.. ramen, noodles, 拉面 (la mian). One of my favorite foods. Often, on a blogging Friday like today, I will eat a package of instant ramen for lunch. With an egg, tomatoes, vegetables and sometimes surimi sticks. Here is my go-to recipe.

instantramen

I grew up with the brand 出前一丁, so usually I have these at home. Today I am out, so I am a bit sad. In Chinese we call these noodles: “easy noodles”, because they are already pre-fried/cooked. You only need to boil them for about 10 minutes. Instant ramen is a simplified version of normal ramen, which consists out of a strong broth with chewy noodles. The Japanese learned about ramen from the Chinese, that’s why the name is similar to 拉面 (la mian) .

Actually with this post I wanted to tell you guys about a nice Japanese ramen restaurant in Rotterdam. Called Hinoki. They started around May 2016 across SanSan (Sichuan Chinese restaurant-> recommended!), near the Markthal. They told me that they are connected with Takumi Ramen, A famous Japanese noodles restaurant in Dusseldorf, Germany. And indeed, they have the similar menu graphic style. I still need to visit Takumi one day… [And I finally did! Here is the story..]

At Hinoki I have tasted several ramen soups. Some were a bit too strong for my taste. But I wonder then, do you usually drink the ramen soup, or is it only for giving the noodles some taste? I have to Google this..
Soon I will be able to taste the ramen from Japan, then I will let you know the differences.
hinoki-09
The other dishes at Hinoki are delicious. The edamame green soybeans were so fresh. The inkfish balls are deep fried, at least I think? The inside was still gooey. I actually liked it better than the balls I had in Japan…

Oh! And I have never eaten such delicious rice, spring onions and mayonnaise. It was leftover from a Chicken Teriyaki don, chicken over rice. The chicken and sauce was really nice on the rice. But I was so surprised that without any chicken, the rice still tasted good.

Time to visit them!

Hinoki Noodle shop
Keizerstraat 52
3011 GH Rotterdam
+31(0) 10-4133585 (No reservations)
hinoki.nl

Tue – Sun      12:00 – 21:30
Closed on Monday

Thailand day 14: Siam shopping, Art and Culture centre

Last day to explore Bangkok. Today we explored the Siam area. Siam malls from cheap small stores to high class fancy malls. Something for everyone.

We also went to Art and Culture centre across Siam. It had some nice contemporary art on the highest floor and cool design shops below. Also a lot of photos of the King. 

Soft cake with banana inside

Lunch at Japanese noodles store

I love Loft! It has designy stuff, bit like Muji, but more decorations. Hip stuff. Also from Japan.

Art & Culture center has nice photos, design shops and café’s

If you know this, high five! If you dont know, google Yotsuba&!

Cute cup drawings at Gallery Drip Coffee

Minced pork and carrot in a rice dough noodle. I am gonna make this one day

Tmrw: fly back home! 🛬