Temakinho

I’m a big fan of cuisines that have been influenced by Japan – Peruvian food, for one, but Brazilian food too.

Temakinho SohoTemakinho Soho

I was excited to sample what Temakinho in Soho had to offer – and even more so once I found out that they source their seafood sustainably. I’m also a big fan of caipirinhas, and really enjoyed starting the meal out with a passionfruit caipifruta.

Temakinho Soho

Their plates are definitely made for sharing, and while I really enjoyed the espetinho Brasiliero (prawn and pineapple skewers), they paled in comparison to my favourite dish of the evening – the tacos de floripa. I kind of wish I hadn’t had to share these – they were excellent. Cassava tacos with guacamole, jalapenos, onion and lime, topped with different types of seafood – buttered salmon, tuna, lobster, scallops, and octopus. I loved the combination of flavours and textures – creamy and crisp, yet soft and tart at the same time. Seriously delicious!

Temakinho SohoTemakinho SohoTemakinho Soho

I went completely overboard with my main order, and ended up taking most of it home with me. My favourite rolls included the salmao completo ou picante (salmon tartar, chives, sesame seeds, flying fish roe), olho de boi completo ou picante (yellowtail, chives, avocado, creamy sesame sauce) and siri completo (breaded soft shell crab, flying fish roe, avocado, spicy mayonnaise, sweet and sour sauce).

I’m not a big dessert person, but ended up ordering the guava cheesecake and bolo de prestigio (chocolate and coconut cake). I can’t really do them justice, as I was so stuffed at this point, but the guava cheesecake really stood out.

Temakinho Soho

The service was excellent, and the restaurant was buzzing on the Saturday night – it’s a great addition to Soho, as its so convenient located.

I really enjoyed my evening at Temakinho, and will definitely be back for those tacos de floripas!

Temakinho Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Homemade Ramen at Sozai Cooking School

Ramen is definitely a weakness of mine, and definitely something I find myself craving. Salty, flavourful broth, delicate slices of char siu pork, delicious noodles topped with a runny egg – what could be better?

Sozai Cooking School Ramen MasterclassSozai Cooking School Ramen MasterclassSozai Cooking School Ramen Masterclass

Yutaka invited a few of us down to the Sozai Cooking School in Aldgate to try our hand at making ramen – from scratch. Yutaka products are stocked in most UK Supermarkets, with products including soy sauce, miso paste, gyoza, and even kimchi, and are definitely responsible for saving a few dinners at mine!

Sozai Cooking School Ramen MasterclassSozai Cooking School Ramen MasterclassSozai Cooking School Ramen Masterclass

We were at Sozai for the ramen masterclass, which included making the noodles and the broth for three different types of ramen: miso ramen, hiyashichuka (a cold, summer ramen) and my favourite – a soy-based ramen.

Sozai Cooking School Ramen MasterclassSozai Cooking School Ramen Masterclass

The whole experience was extremely therapeutic, especially making the noodles. Akemi, our instructor, was really great, packing in a lot of different techniques and flavours in a relatively short amount of time. It also turns out that she used to be TINA TURNER’S PRIVATE CHEF, which is possibly my new goal in life.

Sozai Cooking School Ramen MasterclassSozai Cooking School Ramen MasterclassSozai Cooking School Ramen Masterclass

The first ramen dish I finished making was the hiyashichuka, the taste of which reminds me of summer holidays as a little kid – cold noodles topped with cucumber, ham, egg, and sesame. It’s really refreshing, and great for a really hot day.

Ramen time! @ladiesblogging @yutakarecipes

A photo posted by Erin Longhurst (@erinniimi) on

Sozai Cooking School Ramen Masterclass

Next up was the miso ramen, which packed a lot more heat, especially with the pork mince added on top.

Sozai Cooking School Ramen MasterclassSozai Cooking School Ramen Masterclass

The best part of the entire evening, though, was of course the shoyu ramen, which had a soy-sauce based broth. This was on another level – Ippudo, eat your heart out. While the entire process might require getting a few more gadgets and implements (a pasta maker and pressure cooker are now firmly on my Christmas wishlist), it could all be pretty much recreated at home.

Sozai Cooking School Ramen Masterclass

Have you ever made ramen from scratch? What are your thoughts? Be sure to comment below, or let me know on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram!

Kyoto

 

Mt Fuji, Japan

Gion, Kyoto, Japan The unfortunate timing of our trip also meant that all the restaurants that were recommended to us – all fifteen – were closed. So we probably didn’t experience the best food that Kyoto had to offer, either.

Looking back on our trip, we did have a lovely time there, despite our initial frustrations. For one thing, it’s a fantastic city to cycle in. You’re allowed to cycle on the pavements, which are large enough for several bikes, and the drivers there really respect cyclists, so you feel safe on the road, too. It was really fun going from temple to temple, and exploring the city on two wheels (thanks, AirBnB rental!)

We also saw some stunning sights – I’ve listed some of my favourites below.

Gion

Gion, Kyoto, JapanGion, Kyoto, JapanWe headed toward Gion to see the famous Yasaka Shrine, and check out the nightlife. Gion is the famous geisha district, so you’ll find a lot of tourists there, but there’s lots to see and do – you can get some great coffee around there, too.

Gion, Kyoto, JapanKinkakuji 

Kinkaku-Ji, Kyoto, JapanKinkakuji temple was one of the most beautiful buildings I’ve seen in the entire world – it just looked like something out of a painting. It was stunning. I was in total awe, and the surrounding gardens were also idyllic.

Kinkaku-Ji, Kyoto, JapanKinkaku-Ji, Kyoto, JapanKinkaku-Ji, Kyoto, JapanA top tip for tourists – if you don’t want sleep deprived, hungry and grumpy half-Japanese ladies to scream and chase after you in near hysterics, it’s best to avoid dumping several unwanted receipts from your bag in front of something as beautiful as this. Some people are just unbelievable. Unfortunately the tourists in question sheepishly ran away, meaning I had to carry around other people’s trash for a while. I also shot daggers at the people in question, so I hope I ruined their tour by being totally insane. However, I still have no remorse about my behaviour that day. NO REGRETS.

Kinkaku-Ji, Kyoto, JapanLuckily, matcha tea and a traditional Japanese sweet was the perfect way to blow off all that pent up, trash-related anger – it was really peaceful and tranquil in the shade.

Kinkaku-Ji, Kyoto, JapanFushimi Inari Taisha

Fushimi Inari Taisha shrine is famous for its thousands of torii gates – thousands and thousands of bright orange structures, which line the mountain trails.

Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine, Kyoto, JapanFushimi Inari Taisha Shrine, Kyoto, JapanIt’s very impressive, and it has a great atmosphere – unsurprisingly, it’s a lot nicer the further up you go, as the other tourists drop off earlier once they’ve taken their selfies.

Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine, Kyoto, JapanJust walk a little further up to get a better view (and you can take yours up there, too).

Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine, Kyoto, JapanKyotoThere are also some great street food vendors just outside, too – I recommend the chicken skewers and the fish-shaped cakes with custard cream filling in particular. Absolutely delicious!

While our trip didn’t quite live up to my expectations, I did think there were some stunning sights to see in Kyoto.

Have you ever been to Kyoto? What did you think? Be sure to comment below, or let me know on  TwitterFacebook or Instagram!

A Weekend in Kamakura

After three glorious weeks in the Cambodian sun, I had to pack up my suitcase and prepare for a completely different climate all together.

Kamakura Hachimangu ShrineI wasn’t really that prepared, to be honest. After a few weeks of the heat I’d completely forgotten that, you know, I’d probably need my coat, prompting a mad dash back to Phnom Penh half a day earlier than I was supposed to from Kep. Oops.

I also would not recommend flying with Vietnam Airlines – almost every single flight I took with them was delayed (by five hours), and the service was not great. I did get a few rather hilarious stories out of the experience, though, so if you’re at all interested I’ll add that to the end of the post!*.

I finally arrived in Haneda Airport in just about one piece about 30 hours after I had left Phnom Penh. My family in Tokyo live in Shinagawa, which is really convenient to get to from Haneda – only half an hour away by train. The first thing I’d do before coming to Japan is getting the JR Pass – it’s a little pricey, but such good value, and you will save so much money once you are there by getting one. You can only get one outside of Japan, so it’s worth doing before you go. A 7-day pass set me back £154, and it was well worth every penny – I got mine here.

I arrived on the 31st of December, and spent about half an hour in Tokyo picking up my boyfriend (who had landed that morning) before I was on another train – this time, to Kamakura.

Kamakura is one of my favourite places in the entire world. It was the de-facto capital of Japan, years and years ago, and is absolutely beautiful. My grandparents would spend their weeks in Tokyo, where my grandfather would work, and almost every weekend they’d come back to Kamakura, which is around an hour away from Tokyo by train.

As far as cities go, it’s a pretty small one, but is full of some of the most amazing architecture in Japan, in my opinion, as well as being surrounded by natural beauty. It’s close to the sea, but there are several forests – and I can even get a great view of Mt. Fuji from my grandparent’s house in the Highlands.

Mt. Fuji, Kamakura, JapanNew Year’s is a massive deal in Japan – it’s kind of like how Christmas is in the UK – very family-orientated, and everything is shut. I was only in Kamakura for three days this trip, unfortunately, and spent it less on getting out there to look for things to blog, but more on spending time with family (sorry). I do think it’s a stunning place to visit, though, and I know it really well, so I just thought I would share some of my favourite places to go, see, and eat!

What to Do

Kamakura is filled with stunning temples – the biggest and most famous being Tsurugaoka Hachimangu, which is a five minute walk from Kamakura Station. I’m slightly biased towards this temple,  as this is the one I always go to to get my blessings (and my grandfather was a temple elder there when he was alive). Built in 1063, it is absolutely breathtaking. At New Year, around 30,000 people will gather to pay their respects, and it was absolutely rammed when I went. Being Japan, of course, it was the most civilised crowd ever, but if you are claustrophobic I strongly suggest not going there on January 1st!

New Year's Day, Kamakura Hachimangu Shrine, JapanNew Year Plaques, Kamakura Hachimangu Shrine, JapanKamakura Hachimangu Shrine, JapanHachimangu is filled with interesting street food vendors, too – so it’s worth checking them out if you’re a fan of street food – Japanese street food is awesome.

Kamakura, Hachimangu ShrineChoco Bananas, Kamakura, JapanChoco Bananas, Kamakura, JapanAnother place I’d strongly recommend is Hokokuji, a beautiful old temple surrounded by a bamboo forest. It was unfortunately closed at new year, so I didn’t make it this time round, but it is one of the most serene places I’ve ever been.

Going to Kotoku-in to see the Daibutsu (giant Buddha) is definitely one to tick off of your bucket list – there are regular buses going straight there from Kamakura station, and is really worth seeing. It’s hard to believe that the buddha was built in 1252 (and you can go inside it, too).

Daibutsu, Kamakura, JapanGiant Buddha, Daibutsu, Kamakura, JapanKamakuraA few honorable mentions, that I didn’t have time for this trip: The beach (in the summer months, of course); Zenarai Benzaiten shrine, where you go to wash your money so you can get rich; taking the Enoden electric railway along the coast for a great view of the sea; the Shakado pass; and the yagura tombs.

Where to Eat

I didn’t go to too many restaurants this time, as I was busy getting osechi ryori (traditional Japanese new year fare) at home. A lot of places were also closed around New Year, so we had to make do with stockpiling amazing fatty tuna sashimi, and doing a lot of cooking for ourselves, too!

Osechi Ryouri, New Year's Meal, JapanOsechi Ryouri, New Year's Meal, Japan4Osechi Ryouri, New Year's Meal, JapanSashimi, Kamakura, JapanKamakura does have some amazing places – and things – to eat. I highly recommend the shops and little izakayas (Japanese pubs) down Komachi-dori, which is just off of your left as you leave Kamakura Station.

They are all pretty great, but that’s where I got this donburi bowl of maguro tuna, natto (fermented soybeans) and raw egg. The way eggs and chickens are reared in Japan is of such a high standard that you can safely eat eggs and chickens raw, unlike the UK. Raw eggs in particular are a big part of Japanese cuisine, and something I miss the most when I’m back in the UK. Natto is an acquired taste. I absolutely love the stuff, and have loads in my freezer, but I’ve yet to meet a non-Japanese person who likes it. If you do, let me know!

Natto, Maguro and Raw Egg Topped Rice, Kamakura, JapanThe absolute best omelette rice IN THE ENTIRE WORLD can be found at Cafe Vivement Dimanche – it’s a must.

If you’re walking along Komachi-dori, it is absolutely imperative that you get ice cream, because I’m under the impression that you can’t get better ice cream anywhere else. Sweet potato ice cream might sound totally crazy, but it is my absolute favourite, and I’ve never seen it anywhere else. You can’t miss it – it’s purple, like sweet potatoes are in Japan – and has the most beautiful, subtle flavour.

Sweet Potato Ice Cream, Kamakura, JapanSweet Potato Ice Cream, Kamakura, JapanSweet Potato Ice Cream, Kamakura, JapanSweet Potato Ice Cream, Kamakura, JapanIf the thought of it freaks you out too much, you can always get matcha ice cream from the same place, or go a few doors down and try a black sesame one, too. It’s pretty great.

Black Sesame Ice Cream, Kamakura, JapanWhere to Shop

Basically, Komachi-dori is where it’s at in terms of shopping – the Ghibli store is a must (one of the first on your right), and the whole street is full of places selling traditional souvenirs. If you’re looking to take back confectionery, the Hatosabure Kamakura Dove Cookies are really iconic, and worth taking back.

It was so wonderful to go for a visit, and I’d totally recommend Kamakura as a place to check out when you’re in Japan. It’s authentic, without being spoiled by tourism – a stunning place that everyone should go to at least once!

Have you ever been to Japan? What were some of your favourite places? Be sure to comment below, or let me know on TwitterFacebook or Instagram!

*The first story was the rather hilarious, but perhaps only to me. On our first 5 hour delayed flight, I asked the much older gentleman who was also delayed coming in to Phnom Penh whether he wanted to email his son, who was meant to be picking him up from the airport. He didn’t have an email address, so I offered to send his son an email from my own address. I had to take a picture of the old man and attach it to the email, to prove I wasn’t an extremely unimaginative prankster, and I felt like someone that has kidnapped someone for ransom. This same old man, by the way, managed to sneak a ONE LITER BOTTLE of shower gel – not only through HEATHROW SECURITY, but also through Hanoi airport, too. It was only when we were going through security in Ho Chi Minh that anyone called him out on the “no liquids over 100mls” thing. Doesn’t fill me with confidence, really.

The second story was just so bizarre I felt as though I was hallucinating throughout. I was upgraded to premium economy on my flight from Hanoi to Tokyo, and was sat next to an old Vietnamese man. I had been reading a book on my iPad, watching movies with my Bose headphones, and using my own neck pillow. Every time I would get up to use the loo (it was a long flight, so this happened quite a few times) the old man would have taken one of the three from my seat, and would be using it. I guess he thought they came with the plane and I was just hogging it all, but it was so funny and really awkward having to get all my belongings back from him every time!

Jukai, NYC

A little over a month ago, I headed home for a week long, unbelievably overdue trip to my hometown of New York. It was such a fleeting visit that I spent most of my time meeting up with friends for drinks at old haunts, spending time with my family and stocking up on essentials in Sephora – nothing particularly blog-worthy in my opinion, with the exception of the tasting menu at Jukai, located in basement-level in midtown Manhattan.

Jukai, NYCJukai NYC - Oysters

For the quality of the fare, the tasting menu at Jukai is an absolute bargain at $55 per head. As expected, the menu varies depending on season, as well as the catch of the day, but the oysters – served with ponzu, spring onion, and lime – as well as the homemade tofu (in the assorted starters), the Chef’s choice sashimi (which included an amazingly fresh yellowtail and maguro tuna) were outstanding, and seem to be a semi-regular fixture on the menu. In terms of the quality of the sushi, I haven’t found anywhere in London that compares to the quality of the fish found in New York – it’s definitely worth keeping in mind for your next visit.

Jukai NYC - OystersJukai NYC tasting menu

The fillet steak was perfectly cooked to my liking (the rarer side of medium rare) – although the only drawback from the meal was the bland and unmemorable broiled fish, which escapes notice almost entirely.

Jukai NYC - SteakJukai NYC Tasting Menu - uni and ikura

As a rule, I tend to be all about the starters and the mains – I don’t have a sweet tooth, and could quite happily do without. But I’m so glad I went against my usual nature at Jukai – the white sesame blancmange and black tea pannacotta have easily become one of my favourite desserts of all time, although the white sesame blancmange has the edge over the latter, as it has the nuttiness of sesame but with all the creaminess and texture of a traditional blancmange – a true culinary feat.

Jukai NYC, SashimiJukai NYC, Sashimi

With the meal, we had a sparkling rosé from Long Island. I’m ashamed to admit that when it was recommended to me by my waiter, I grimaced – I am not the biggest rosé fan, and I know absolutely nothing about Long Island wines. It was, in fact, really pleasant, and a great accompaniment to the meal – I stand corrected! It’s worth keeping an open mind at Jukai – the gambles certainly paid off for me.

It’s worth booking a table in advance, especially for the tasting menu, as this cosy little basement venue gets quite packed – but in terms of ambience (very modern Japanese), quality of food and value for money you would be hard placed to find better.

Jukai, NYC

Jukai is located on 53rd Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenue, Manhattan, New York.

Click to add a blog post for Jukai on Zomato