I have been to Tokyo twice before and I absolutely loved it! Plus I am such a HUGE Japanese cuisine fan so it’s no surprise that making a trip to Japan Town in San Francisco was top three on my must-go-to places.
As we walked towards Japan Town, the architecture around us had taken on a different look. It is as though we were teleported across the Pacific to Japan.
Even the road signs are in Japanese. There was a kind of serenity in the atmosphere that reminded me of the suburb areas that I visited in Nagoya.
There were restaurants, cafes, bookstores, banks, supermarkets and little bit of everything in this small vicinity. Not only were there Japanese plants and a huge Japanese pagoda, a group of young children were learning Taekwondo with their instructor in the square, making cute fighting sounds as they kicked the air. We were most definitely in Japan! *pinch myself
It was past lunchtime and we were feeling peckish. We decided on having some Ramen at this restaurant, Ramen Shalala, because the name sounded fun! And there were quite a number of tables inside so it should be decent food 🙂 (Singaporean mindset)
We both ordered the weekday specials Ramen (on a Saturday) and a Hotate Carpaccio for appetiser.
The Hotate Carpaccio was interesting – that Takoyaki sauce with Japanese mayonnaise seasoning was definitely different from the citrus oil seasoning I have had in Singapore. The thick slices of hotate were superbly fresh. Its natural sweetness shone through that sauce and the slight saltiness from the Ikura helped to complement the juicy scallops. A unique combination that somehow worked to my surprise though I couldn’t stop thinking about Takoyaki as I was savouring this dish.
The chef forgot our orders and we waited for more than 40 minutes for our two bowls of Ramen. The staff apologised profusely for it as they served the noodles.
The soup was a little fishy from the clams that weren’t really fresh; the Hanjuku egg was overcooked with no runny egg yolk as we opened it. The only consolation was that the noodles were decent with the chew in it, definitely house made. We both didn’t finish our ramen. The saving grace was that the staff gave us a discount due to the mix-up in the kitchen so overall still not too bad an experience.
I wasn’t feeling quite satisfied and then we walked past a sushi bar! The day’s special was Uni! How can I not try out fresh Uni in San Francisco?!
I sat down at the bar, ordered just the Uni Sushi and the Chef started laughing at me. I think he could tell that I had a strong craving hence the lavish toppings for the nigiri sushi on the plate. The sweet brininess of that fresh creamy Uni overwhelms me as I had the first sushi. This small plate made the entire walk to Japan Town worth while. I wished we had our lunch here instead 😦
After a fulfilling sushi experience, we walked about more to burn off the lunch. We then saw this Japanese shrine look alike structure.
Being in love with Japan culture and more so their food, Japan Town was definitely nostalgic to walk about and makes me want to go back to Japan soon. I am so looking forward to my next trip in October to Hokkaido!
We walked our way to Japan Town. However for the way back to Union Square, we got directions and were advised to take the bus. It was about a 15-minute ride and costs only USD2.50. This was definitely a kinder choice for our tired feet as the slopes of hilly San Francisco were no joke.
I will be featuring Union Square in my next entry, which will also be the last entry on my San Francisco trip. Look out for it this weekend!