Japanese dating culture lover
Christianity may have been slow to catch on in Japan, but tempura was an instant hit. 9F, Ginza 5-5-13, Chuo-ku; 81 (0)3 5568 0923), deep frying is almost an art form: greaseless morsels of tender asparagus, delicately crisp kisu fish, and plump scallops still pink in the center.
More books, blogs and movies have been dedicated to ramen than any other noodle dish in Asia.
The specialty at Uogashi Senryo (Tsukiji 4-10-14, Chuo-ku; 81 (0)3 5565 5739) in Tsukiji is kaisen hitsumabushi, a kind of chirashi donburi tossed with various morsels of raw fish and topped with creamy uni sea urchin and ruby red ikura salmon roe.
Eating it involves a procedure that borders on ritual.
Minoya (Morishita 2-19-9, Koto-ku; 03 3631 8298), one of Tokyo's oldest shitamachi horsemeat restaurants, specializes in sakuranabe, a savory miso-based hot-pot dish of horsemeat simmered together with naganegi Japanese leeks and clear shirataki noodles.
Wiggly, jiggly, sweet and cool to the touch, warabi mochi is a lot like Jell-o, except much, much better.
Ironically, this iconic Japanese dish finds its roots abroad -- in Portugal.
When Portuguese missionaries and traders arrived in Nagasaki in the mid-16th century, they brought with them a taste for rich foods and the technique of deep-frying.
Originally from Kagoshima in Kyushu, these golf-ball-sized goodies can be made with a variety of vegetables -- slivers of gobo burdock root, chopped shiitake mushrooms and sliced onions.
Technically, "mochi" is a bit of a misnomer: Warabi mochi is made not from rice, but bracken fern starch.
The result is custardy, translucent, and delicious rolled in toasty kinako soybean flour.
We especially love the gindara saikyo-yaki at Ginka (Azabu Juban 2-19-2, Minato-ku; 81 (0)3 5439 6938).
It's a hole-in-the-wall shop selling himono dried fish with a small dining area hidden at the back. But, when properly prepared, horsemeat is tender, mildly sweet and not at all gamey. Dry aging, which concentrates the flavor and gives the meat a pleasing springiness.