Restaurant #39: Tototo, Sapporo

Totoro is one of my favorite restaurants in Sapporo station area. My friend and I went there for first time in five years. Menus were changed a bit, but still, they have fresh seafood and tofu! The restaurant is located in front of Sapporo JR station, so it is very easy to access.

My friend and I went there without a reservation, but since it was weekday, there were a plenty of seats. Unfortunately, this restaurant allows smoking. It is still common for people to smoke in public in Japan. Luckily, people around us didn’t smoke, therefore I didn't have to suffer from extra frustration. The décor was modern and elegant, kept Japanese Izakaya style. Jazz music was played and it would be recommended for a date or friends’ meeting.

Salad with Steamed Sesame Chicken

We started with a salad with steamed sesame chicken ( 蒸し鶏の胡麻たっぷりサラダ ) (609 yen). Some pieces of sunny lettuce, colorful bell pepper, shredded Daikon (Japanese radish), steamed chicken with oriental sesame sauce, covered with shredded Negi. Domestically raised chicken was steamed well, and it was so juicy! Veggies were fresh, especially paprika.

Ladled Tofu

This fresh tofu was named “引き上げ掬い豆腐” (504 yen). The worker brought just made tofu to us with a big wooden container, and served us some scoops of tofu. Of course it is okay to eat just a tofu, but usually enjoy it with some ingredients, called Yakumi (薬味). Four different yakumi were served; negi, ginger, salt, and katsuobushi. Tofu was great! Once I put it in my mouth, it melted right away with fresh soy bean taste.

Deep-fried Yuba Bundle with Prawn & Cheese

海老とチーズの湯葉包み揚げ (714 yen) was one of my favorites at that night. We wanted to eat more, but sadly just two pieces were served. Yuba was golden colored and crispy, and the taste of a big fresh shrimp and creamy melted cheese were really matched! They served right after they cooked, so it was hot and juicy!

Pork Yakitori

豚串 (one stick 189 yen). It was quite a long time since I ate yakitori last time. I love yakitori~! (^-^)

Kimo yakitori

砂肝串 (charbroiled gizzard) (one stick 189 yen). Very fresh!

Chicken & Negi yakitori

ねぎま串 (Negima: one stick 189 yen). I liked Negima the most.

Overnight-dried Aburi Squid

いか一夜干し (504 yen) was chewy enough.

Japanese pickles

漬け物 (Japanese pickles: 445 yen). My friend's favorite. She always order this. ha ha. Taste was fine, but I thought it was a bit expensive...

Chicken Rice

The last item that I ordered was Chicken Ochazuke (鶏飯) (504 yen). My “shime” item is always onigiri or ochazuke. This chicken ochazuke was lightly flavored, but the chicken was steamed well, and the broth was from this chicken. If you’d like, put a little bit of Wasabhi; it gives a surprising accent at the end of the great meal.

Overall, I really enjoyed the meal here. The only disappointment was that the restaurant was not non-smoking. Unfortunately, in Japan, many restaurants, especially Izakaya style, allow customers smoke. I really hope that they at least arrange some area for non-smokers…

Total: 4498 yen (for 2 people with some drinks)

Tototo Asty 45: 地鶏と旬魚 手づくり豆冨 ととと
1F Asty 45 Bldg. Kita 4-jyoNishi 5, Chuo-ku
Sapporo, JAPAN


Travel #02: Taipei to Sapporo

Yes, Sapporo trip! I miss Sapporo~! Several direct flights from Taipei bring us to wonderful city in Japan, Sapporo. I took China Airlines this time by using my friend’s mileage. Therefore, the airfare was for free this time. In addition, I could take a business class.

The privilege for flying for business class is that the usage of a lounge. I enjoyed the lounge at Narita last year, and their foods were pretty good. This time the lounge at Taipei international airport was okay. Unfortunately, there was no onigiri, but they prepared three kinds of noodles, pork, beef and vegetables. I tried vegetable noodle and some pieces of steamed dumplings. Noodle was good, the soup was simple and light flavor, but tasty enough for me to relax before the flight.

This flight was Boeing 737, so the business class is not quite same as the international flights. I thought the flight attendant was friendly and served us properly. The food was… interesting. I chose chicken as a main dish, with Takana rice and steamed veggies. Rice was in good condition, so as veggie. Chicken was too salty for me, though.

Salad was delicious. Lettuce was, I believe, fresh, and the crabmeat was wrapped by a slice of fresh ham.

Dessert looked fine, but I only ate fruits because I don’t eat sweet stuff.

After 4, 5 hours of flying, I safely arrived at Shin-Chitose Airport. I took a train and headed to meet my friend!


Restaurant #38: 阿弟仔大腸麵線 Intestine Thin Noodle, Taipei

I am a noodle lover! As Japanese, I like Ramen, Soba, Udon, Somen, and now Taiwanese noodles. The good thing about Taiwanese noodles is that the soup is pretty light tasted—simple, quick but tasty. However, this time I found a strong flavored soup, intestine thin noodle. Yeah the name is… pretty direct, but the taste was amazing.

In the Taipei guide book, there is one famous thin noodle store at Ximending called 阿宗麵線. This comes with oysters, not with intestine. I would like to try oyster noodle someday soon, but I found a small, friendly thin noodle store right next to fried chicken store that I always go. I’ve seen the lady taking care of the soup everytime I visited the chicken store, and this day, I finally tried her noodle.

The store is so small, and a woman takes care of the soup at the entrance. Probably three or four people can sit there and eat. Nothing fancy, but the inside was clean. I ordered a small bawl of the intestine thin noodle, TW$ 35, for take-out. She asked me if I wanted all the ingredients. Well, it was my first time and didn’t know what she would put, so I said yes…

The noodle soup was cooked for a long time. Don’t know like… a day or even more. She added some slices of intestine, grinded garlic (yummy), some kind of sauce (soy sauce!?), spicy sauce (you can ask no if you don’t like), and 香菜 (cilantro).

I was afraid to eat in the beginning, but once I put the noodle in my mouth, it was amazingly delicious! The broth was different than other Taiwanese noodle soup. I tasted katsuobushi taste believe or not. I am not sure whether they put the oyster or not, but I felt some ocean flavor.

Noodle was thin, but still chewy. I don’t like overcooked noodle, like Taiwanese spaghetti, but this kind of noodle was still in good shape even though it was stewed for a long time. It was chewy, but was thin, so not difficult to eat.

Pork intestine was stewed enough; juicy and tender. The saltiness was perfect. I was right to add spicy sauce and grinded garlic, because those sauces erase the smell associated with intestines. Also, I didn’t smell the star anise. Yes! I am not a huge fan of that taste…

Overall, I was very satisfied with this noodle. Small bawl was actually enough to make me full. I am just wondering how they deal with those during summer time. All ingredients were simply put in the outside of the store. Should I go back there after summer?

Total: TW$ 35

阿弟仔大腸麵線: Intestine Thin Noodle
Lane 30, Young-Ji Rd., Xinyi Dist.,
Taipei, TAIWAN


Night Market #01: 士林夜市 Shilin Night Market, Taipei

The best sightseeing spot in Taiwan is the night market, and the biggest, most popular night market is this Shilin night market (士林夜市). This was my first time to visit there. Most tourists say that Shilin night market is an amazing place, so I was very excited.

To access to the market was convenient; take a red line subway and get off at Jiantan MRT station. Just follow the crowds so that you can reach the night market within about five minutes. The market was big! I found a big food court building, so I decided to find some snacks over there.

Inside of the building was full of small restaurants. Chicken, drinks, ice cream, sausages, beef noodles, oyster omelette, and so many other night snacks. I personally like those foods and was ready to try all of those, but once I saw how they made those, I noticed to be careful to choose the item. Some restaurants were fine, but some had a serious problem in their hygiene. Some tourist might not care because of the exoticness, but I do! I just can’t eat food right next to the rats… Just want to say, look at each restaurant and check how they cook the food…

I found a fried chicken store. I tried some other similar chicken, but this chicken was really huge! One chicken was the same size as my face! There were a long line for this restaurant, but it only took me five years to get a slice of fried chicken, TW$ 50.

Crispy Fried Chicken

It was fresh, and was hot! Outside was a bit greasy, but the meat was so tender. I felt that the chicken was marinated too much spices, though. I liked the strong taste. You must try this if you go to this market.

Since last summer, I became a fan of pan fried stuffed dumplings (水煎包). I found one store near by the chicken store. It was small, but it cost only TW$ 10, so I bought one piece.

Some sausage stores were there. The one near by the chicken store was interesting. The sausages were… HUGE! How can I eat that?!? I really wanted to try the big one, but I was already full with a fried chicken and a dumpling, so I tried a black pepper sausage, served with the mochi rice wrap. Next time, I definitely want to try the big one.

The only regret was that I didn’t eat oyster omelette, one of popular Taiwanese snacks. I tried to find a good store, but after I saw them cooking with the plastic plates directly putting on the heated pan (it’ll melt!) and saw them adding water to the beaten egg, I lost my appetites…

After I ate some snacks, I walked around the market. So many people were taking a walk and enjoying the evening by watching clothing and dessert stores. I would recommend this night market for a tourist. For me? Nah… I liked the atmosphere and some foods, but again, I couldn’t be a fan of their hygiene. Weird smell and the rats’ voice… Maybe I am just picky… I prefer smaller night markets but better hygiene or at least no rats…

Total: TW$ 110