Airport Limousine – Osaka, Japan

Hey guys, sorry for the lapse in posting. I had a work trip earlier this week and it was quite a doozy. I’ll probably share a bit more in a future post…because I got to eat at one restaurant! Hahaha, it really was a crazy trip. Just wanted to do a funny post from Osaka.

Have you folks ridden in an Airport Limousine before? If you have, you know the word limousine is a bit misleading. You’re essentially riding in a bus, albeit a comfortable one. My first experience with airport limousines were in Korea, very nice buses, with plenty of room for your luggage, nice seats and wifi access! And don’t forget that lovely air conditioning. Anyway, for Osaka, when we got there, we used trains/subways to get to the apartment. At that point, we only had one suitcase and it was very light. No problem. Well, it totaled four transfers and I wasn’t exactly feeling up to that for the return trip. So I sprung for a taxi ride to Osaka Station where we would store our luggage in the lockers for the day as we browsed around the station/neighborhood. Then when we were ready, we would go to the airport limousine stop located by the station and be on our merry way.

As always, the service and line for this service was very orderly. These guys were pros! We were kind of far back in the line but waited as they loaded up the bus…

Can you tell what is wrong with this picture????

They called us on and as we got on…we noticed all the seats were taken. Huh?? I wasn’t sure what was going on but the bus driver was totally fine and started pointing at the seats on the right. I couldn’t believe my eyes. They had mini seats that could pull out from the right seats to form a row of seats in the aisle of the bus.

Here was my view for the 40 minutes ride to the airport. It was….awkward and uncomfortable. I couldn’t help but get mad because here I am paying the same price as everyone else and we get stuck in these baby seats? The ride was bumpy and the guys on each side of me had a serious case of sleepy lean-overs. Bah! If I knew this was how it goes, I would have waited for the next bus! Have you guys rode in airport limousines like this?? At least I have a funny story to look back on…makes me wonder if I should have just done those train transfers…haha.

 

This entry was posted in Travel.

Yamauchi Farm – Osaka, Japan

For me, I have never had a bad meal in Japan. Even the cheapest restaurants offer quality food. While I love trying new restaurants, sometimes, since you are out all day, you just wanna get back to your hotel/apartment and eat something quick nearby. Luckily for us, Yamauchi Farm is a 5 minute walk to our apartment. We had just finished a full day at Universal, post to come soon, and we were famished and exhausted. What a great place to walk into, this restaurant has everything! Check out their menu, it is fully loaded! The servers weren’t great at English but they didn’t need to be, the menu had English in it and…they had an iPad for ordering! Yessss!

Yamauchi Farm Menu

So this was the starter served…uhhh?! The cabbage and daikon strips are not pickled in any way. It was served with this sauce…

This tasted like a miso paste with pickled vegetables. I didn’t quite know what to do so I just took some out and dipped the daikon in it because I was so hungry. Then I started wondering, was I supposed to lather this sauce on the veggies to ferment them quickly? Gosh I have no idea. I didn’t do it and the cabbage was totally wasted…

Passion Fruit Mojito • ¥480

You know I have a passion fruit drink and mojito weakness. The drink was good. And when I say good, it means I tasted no alcohol and it was just like juice. I’m so junk at drinking yeah?

Soft-boiled Eggs with Spicy Cod Roe • ¥350

Yummy, I will eat Japanese eggs all day everyday. While this dish was good, it was sooo salty. Definitely needed rice…

Freshly Shipped Sashimi Assortment • ¥1,380

This wasn’t my dish but most of the fish pieces were saba I believe. Lucky for me, my partner does not like saba so it was all mine.

Kyushu Kara-age Style Deep-fried Small Shrimp • ¥480

Collagen Loaded Salt-based Ramen with Free Range Chicken • ¥750

I needed some comfort food this night and this menu item drew me in! Not a big serving but for the price, it was great. I shared this with my dining partner, not sure how much collagen is really loaded in this baby but it tasted good.

[Kagoshima] Spicy Spring Bonito Yukhoe Donburi Rice Bowl • ¥580

Yup, I got this dish too. I was very curious about how this dish would taste. Yukhoe, I associate that phrase with the Korean raw beef tartar dish so I wasn’t sure what to expect. This restaurant serves raw chicken and raw horse I think?! So I was almost afraid of what I would get served. Well, I think it was actually the bonito fish…thought it was ahi. I don’t think I have had fresh bonito before, just the dried shavings on top of takoyaki. I really enjoyed this donburi – the orange yolk to mix in? Hey, I’m so there.

We were too tired to fully enjoy this restaurant experience and I kind of regret not being able to go back. There were some businessmen in there drinking and eating it up. Come to think of it, there were some really good restaurants right next to our apartment. We rented an Airbnb for this trip, I thought it was a great idea and the price is way cheaper than a hotel. Do you folks Airbnb when you travel? Anyway, this restaurant seems to be a chain so if you can find it when you are in Japan – give them a try!

 

Zuboraya Dotonbori – Osaka, Japan

I am back from Japan! It was four full days – and when I say full, I mean full. Sometimes vacations can be tougher than work, my feet are still recovering! So for our first day in Osaka, we decided to risk our lives, haha. We both have not tried fugu before and this was the day to try it. Yes, fugu contains tetrodotoxin and can cause asphyxiation…no big deal right? Okay, it’s somewhat of a big deal. But we found a popular restaurant, Zuboraya, and I knew we would be in good hands.

Fugu Sushi Combination • ¥1,300

Benntenn Course • ¥5,400

Two kinds of seasonal appetizer, raw puffer fish sashimi, puffer fish hot pot, puffer fish deep fried, zosui (rice added to the hot pot broth at the end, they also add raw egg!), seasonal fruit.

These are the two seasonal appetizers. They were interesting…the blue dish tasted like a crunchy part of the fish. Perhaps some type of cartilage or skin? The green sauce was sweet, almost tasted like a dessert. The yellow dish has a tofu-like dish that tasted a bit like coconut milk. Probably our least favorite part of the meal…

Fugu sashimi! Interesting texture, a bit chewy. The taste? Not much really, they serve it with a yuzu ponzu dipping sauce and the yuzu taste is quite strong.

Deep fried fugu, it comes with about four pieces of fugu (not boneless, so be careful), fried potatoes, shishito pepper and red bell pepper. The fish nuggets were delicious!

Here are the contents of the fugu hot pot, sorry I didn’t get a shot of it cooking! It didn’t look too impressive anyway…tasted good!

Raw egg, rice, and toppings ready for some zosui action!

The waitress cooks it for you – this was delicious! It was actually one of my favorite parts of the meal, it’s a shame it’s in the end because we were already full so we couldn’t finish it!

Seasonal fruit to finish off the meal, Japanese strawberries? Yes please!! They were so nice and sweet, perfect way to end the meal. I liked that this restaurant also gave you iced water to start automatically, they must cater to foreign visitors. And let me tell you, Osaka was FULL of foreign visitors.

 

Laverne’s – Waikele, HI

Laverne’s used to be a food truck at UH Manoa and I loved it. I was so sad when they left…they served up some awesome Hawaiian food plates and my all-time favorite Squid Luau. I did a quick shopping trip to Waikele last weekend and spotted their food truck as I drove in! They are located in the parking lot closest to Old Navy. Check them out if you can!

Regular Smoked Meat Plate • $10.45

This is the first time I tried a smoked meat plate and it was good! Perfect amount of smokiness, actually, they serve up a whole lot of meat and not too much onions. Though, that shouldn’t be a complaint right? Delicious!

Side Order Squid Luau • $6.95

Like I mentioned above, this is the best squid luau I have tasted. But the caveat is, I eat my squid luau with a lot of sriracha. It works so well together, the squid luau has a nice and sweet coconut taste. It’s sooo good. I wish I knew how to make this.

Sunset Smokehouse – Haleiwa, HI

I have waited and waited to try some good ole Southern BBQ. My prayers were answered when I found Sunset Smokehouse, they specialize in Texas Barbeque. Well, it is certainly worth the long drive out to Haleiwa to try them. The only pitfall? It’s a food truck with no seating…but…you’re surrounded by beach parks, so make a picnic out of it! Stay tuned to their social media, they are planning to open a restaurant soon! Currently, they are only open on Saturdays and Sundays. Follow them on their instagram, they post updates on their open hours through it.

You can find them in the Texaco Gas Station lot

Beef Brisket (1 lb. sliced) • $24
3 Beef Sausages • $6.00 each 

The beef brisket comes with rolls, to make your own mini beef brisket sandwiches! They also give you a container of pickles and onions. Don’t forget to grab your own BBQ sauce, they have the dispensers by the window. The beef brisket is an absolute glutton’s dream. He asked if I wanted fatty or lean meat, of course I said fatty. He was happy to hear it…haha!

Here is the 1lb. beef brisket in a previous visit, we ordered it with rice not knowing it came with the rolls! Drool…

Look at that meat!!!

Juicy sandwich live action shot!

Tori Ton – Moilili, Hawaii

How have I not tried Tori Ton all this time?? They are a relatively new restaurant but I read that they just celebrated their one year anniversary earlier this year. This restaurant is located in the same lot as Sweet Home Cafe on King Street. This small lot also includes like 5 restaurants and gyms so you can imagine what a nightmare parking can be. I came without a reservation before 5:30 on a Saturday night and they were able to get us a table, I would suggest reservations if you want to come. Even though I came so early, I had to circle the parking a few times. But man oh man, I enjoyed this experience so much. Let’s get to the pictures!

Anchovy Potato • $4.90

I had a real hankering for some fries and I personally love anchovy so it sounded like a perfect combination. It’s like McD shake fries for fish lovers, lol. It was delicious!

Pork Wrapped Flavored Quail Eggs • $3.20 (per stick)

Three quail eggs cooked perfectly wrapped in tender pork slices, this dish serves up exactly what you would expect.

Chicken Skin • $1.90 (per stick)

We can’t ever not order Chicken Skin. That’s just our thing. Was it good? Ehhh…not the best I’ve had and a bit burnt. There is much better food on the menu so I can forgo this next time.

Signature Big Size Tsukune w/Original Sauce • $6.80

Look at the size of that tsukune! We definitely shared this one. The egg yolk? They are from the Jalna made-famous Waimana TKG Eggs!

Assorted Sashimi 3 Items Chefs Selection • $9.80

I still can’t get over the price of this sashimi set, it is so cheap! You go to other restaurants and they can easily charge probably nearly $20 for this. This selection included hamachi, salmon and ahi. We asked what the selection was for the day and this was it, and I’m told it usually is these three. They were delicious!

Yummy Cucumber Sesame Flavored • $3.90

Oh. My. God. Okay, they ain’t lying when they named this dish Yummy. I wasn’t expecting much, in fact, I almost expected just cucumbers with like the kewpie goma dressing. THAT WOULD BE AN INSULT TO THIS DISH. Hard to explain the seasoning, the marinade was savory and salty with almost like a five spice seasoning. I can’t explain it…the sesame flavor is the actual sesame seeds. It was so good, but also…very salty. The have a dish on the menu, premium rice with the same Waimana Egg yolk….and I just wanted to get that and eat it with these cucumbers. Unfortunately, we were already full by this time. So guess what, I’m so getting this combo next time!!

Pork Wrapped Japanese Premium Rice • $3.50 (per stick)

Obviously, I’m saving the best for last. This was also so good! Each stick comes with your own yolk to dip in. I’ve had pork wrapped rice dishes at other restaurants but Tori Ton’s was by far the best. The pork was not at all dry or hard (other places tend to overcook and under sauce their pork), this meat was perfectly tender and nicely seasoned. Look at my gratuitous egg yolk shot, look at how orange that yolk is! This restaurant made me feel like I was in Japan. Great service too! Awesome wait staff. I can’t wait to return.

Tim Ho Wan – Hong Kong

Hey Folks. I gotta be honest, it’s been a tough week and tonight’s drive home was harrowing. I’m not ready to discuss it yet since I am still shaken but no worries, I was not hurt or hit in any way. But sometimes, the almost can be just as bad. Stay safe out there folks, get some crazy people out there who will be completely illogical in their actions.

Let’s move onto better news. I’m going on a trip next week, yay! I’ll try to get some posts scheduled up for next week but I haven’t even started to pack yet…so wish me the best! I am heading out to Osaka! My first time there and I think we are going to catch the full bloom of the Sakura there, fingers crossed! Hoping for some great grinds and great deals. For now, I gotta keep trucking with the Hong Kong updates! Today’s post is another restaurant I was dying to try! Tim Ho Wan is “billed as the world’s cheapest Michelin-starred dim sum restaurant.” Cheap? Good. Michelin-starred? Good. Tim Ho Wan is actually gearing up to open a location in the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center SOON! So how was it…?

Black Bean Spareribs on Rice (Chicken Feet Garnish, lol)

Beef Balls

Beef Cheung Fun

Haw Gor (Shrimp Dumpling)

Siu Mai (Pork Hash)

So how was the food? Good! Nothing stellar though, and I still think the dim sum we have Hawaii is the best. Is that weird? That I prefer dim sum made in Hawaii over dim sum in Hong Kong?? Maybe the dim sum in Hawaii is made to suit our taste buds more, but I don’t think there’s enough flavor and depth in these Hong Kong dim sums. Siu mai is usually my favorite dim sum but the Haw Gor was my favorite in this meal – the skin was so light and soft. I am still excited for the Waikiki location to open and would love to give it a try when they do!

Ramen Gashoken, Honolulu, HI

Let’s start this post off with a bit of a fail. One of our student workers told me about this shop so I had to check it out. Any ramen recommendations will be taken seriously and probably immediately. Ramen Gashoken is located in the Shirokiya Japan Village Walk, I wasn’t sure of the location so we walked up and down every single aisle. Every. Single. Aisle. Well guess what? We finally asked someone and they are one of the first shops you see when you walk into the place…haha face palm right? So if you decide to check this place out, you will see it right when you walk in.

Original Ramen + Half Size Kaedama • $11.80 + $1.50

Pork bone broth (a rich and cream soup), original sweet & spicy sauce, char siu (sliced roast pork), green onions, and kikurage (cloud ear mushroom)

So how was it? Good! Not amazing but it was good to me! It actually reminded me a bit of Tenkaippin Ramen before I thought they went downhill. The broth is nice and rich but doesn’t have the same bone marrow taste as Tenkaippin, just a nice thick tonkatsu broth. They use the thin Hakata type noodles and the char siu isn’t anything special. It was a good bowl of ramen but nothing I would have a craving for…in fact, I was wishing for some raw garlic to add to my bowl. I must miss Tenkaippin, maybe I need to give them a shot again? Hmm I just looked them up and they no longer serve Kotteri ramen so maybe not. Gashoken also offers a pesto type ramen, interesting right? That may be my next choice, I always start my experience with their signature/original dish though.

Gyotaku Japanese Restaurant – Honolulu, HI

It has been years since I’ve dined at Gyotaku Japanese Restaurant. Nothing against their food, I actually enjoy their food, it’s just that I don’t think the prices match what you get. Okay, not a great start to the post but the food is actually good. Let’s review…

Hamachi Carpaccio • $16.25

Delicious! Good flavor, I guess the price is about right for Hamachi?

Salad served with Teishoku Sets, yummy wafu dressing

Miso soup served with teishoku sets

Combination Bento (three choice) • $24.95

Chicken Karaage, Nishime, and Misoyaki Salmon. Not my entree but where can you go wrong? I do enjoy the karaage chicken from Gyotaku a lot so thumbs up from me.

Assorted Poke Don & Tenpura • $24.95

My dish! I love their poke don, do I think it’s worth $25? Umm..no. But they season their poke very well and I enjoy it a lot. It’s nice to enjoy this dish once in a while. Their tempura? Nicely battered and fried, always gotta add it on!

Okinawan Sweet Potato Pie • $5.50

One of my favorite desserts of all time! This thing is soooo good. Everything works, looks dense but it is so light…not too sweet. I shared this with my dining companion but I’m sure I could have scarfed it down myself.

They’ve done a great job with their renovations and the food is delicious. To me, it’s just a bit pricey especially for a family-type restaurant but I know I will get ono food when I do go.

Hong Kong Mixed Plate

This was a brand new ice cream from Japan that they sold in Hong Kong supermarkets and of course 7-11. Hong Kong has a lot of Japanese offerings! So what’s so special about this ice cream? Shucks, I wish I had taken a picture of the contents! This is ice cream with mochi balls…and the mochi balls were soft! How do they do it? I tried the Hokkaido Azuki Mochi and it was delicious. If you have a chance, give it a try!

The sushi and sashimi is so cheap in Hong Kong supermarkets – we got this sashimi and sushi set from Market Place by Jasons. The quality was superb and the price was very affordable for the quality.

The next few pictures are from the Hong Kong Lego Store. I was amazed by the lego sculptures of Hong Kong! I am a lover of miniatures and the detail put into these structures is insane. Please view them in awe with me.

Last pic is just of a random night market. One of those night markets you are supposed to haggle prices with…my cousin did pretty well with it. I’m not much of a haggler but then I also don’t buy much…haha.