exceptional (130)
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Pxl 20201024 075258471

Yamayoshi Ippudo Ramen Chips: These tonkotsu ramen pork-flavored chips caught my eye at my local Aeon grocery store / konbini before I even knew they were from the popular ramen chain Ippudo. The special flavor is in celebration of Ippudo's 35th birthday. I went to Ippudo about a decade ago in NYC, and a branch opened up in Berkeley right as I move away from the Bay Area. I knew that the restaurant inspired long lines in the US, but the other day, while walking through Ikebukuro in Tokyo, I stumbled upon a queue outsi... (read more) 4.5/5.0

4.5 ramen ippudo yamayoshi japanese aeon chips exceptional
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三都屋商事 豆せいぞろい Rice Cracker Mix: I've always loved Japanese rice crackers, and these are the most colorful and delicious variety I've had. The rice balls are all glazed with soy and each contain a single roasted peanut; this mix has a variety of surprising flavors – some are covered in toasted sesame seeds, others with flecks of nori mixed with a seafood flavor reminding me of a milder shrimp cracker, my favorite almost looks like it's covered in moss, with a deep seaweed flavor, and there's even one that is slightly sweet... (read more) 5.0/5.0

5.0 mix cracker rice 豆せいぞろい seijoishii japanese exceptional
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Chokai Kogen La France Pear Yogurt: A local grocery store offers this unique yogurt made in Yamagata Prefecture, Japan. The 400g mini tubs of yogurt (offering around 3 servings) consists of two layers: a base layer of yogurt that is smooth and acidic, and a layer of fruit compote that sits on top. The first flavor I bought was the La France flavor, which is a type of pear from Yamagata I hadn't heard about before. Looking up more information on the pear, it looks a bit like a D'Anjou pear, but here it's been cooked down to ... (read more) 4.5/5.0

4.5 yogurt pear france la chokaikogen naniwaya japanese exceptional
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福丸饅頭 Kusa Daifuku : This mochi is from a small confectionary shop in Yanaka, Tokyo that serves a variety of fresh, seasonal mochi. I purchased this green mochi thinking it was matcha-flavored, but it’s actually made of mugwort, a type of medicinal plant of Chinese origin. It has a slightly bitter flavor that’s not at all sweet, like a mix of spinach and peppery parsley. It reminds me of a green smoothie in that people would enjoy it as a dessert, but it’s mostly savory. The texture of the mochi was perfect ... (read more) 5.0/5.0

5.0 daifuku kusa mochi japanese exceptional
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Hop Shu-Kuri-Mu Matcha Cream Puff: I randomly passed this pastry shop in Azabu Juban and made a mental note to return based on the quality of bread in their window. I'm glad I did, because their cream puffs are insane. The exterior has a crispy baked texture, similar in some ways to dutch crunch bread from San Francisco, and the filling is of the highest quality I've had in any bakery, with a creamy and not too sweet flavor and ideal matcha bitterness. The most interesting part to me was a bruleed base that resembled a nor... (read more) 5.0/5.0

5.0 puff cream matcha hopshukurimu sweets tokyo creampuff azabujuban exceptional japanese
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Sun Fruits Apple Juice: In the basement of the swanky Tokyo Midtown department store is a speciality fruit shop called Sun Fruits, the type of shop where sumo oranges (dekopan) are individually wrapped in a form-fitting web of styrofoam and boxes of pale white strawberries go for 8,000¥ ($73 USD). The one item I felt I could afford, and also I was most interested in trying, was a bottle of what I presumed to be a barely-pink fruit soda, which cost $3.50. It turns out that it was a bottle of apple juice, with frui... (read more) 4.0/5.0

japanese 4.0 juice apple sunfruits japan tokyo applejuice drinks exceptional