Japanese sweets & street food

Japan is a glorious place if you love trying new foods. Everywhere you wander in Japan, there always seems to be an abundance of snacks and sweets and meals that will stave your hunger at any time of the day. Whether its wagashi, onigiri, bubble tea or ice cream, there was definitely no shortage of delicious Japanese fare on our trip.

The real Ramen experience at Ichiran Ramen, Tokyo (Shinjuku)

Ichiran is ramen on steroids. Gourmet ramen, if you can call it that. An amazing foodie adventure full of ramen, tempura, udon, ramen, soba, rice was the main highlight of our recent holiday to Japan and Malaysia (besides the occasional pizza, which turns out to be not that unusual in Japan..).

One of the most memorable eateries we visited was Ichiran, a popular ramen chain in Japan that focuses on savouring the perfect personalised Tonkotsu ramen experience. So focused on flavour and experience are the creators that most of the seating at their restaurants is single-counter seating at which you are to sit at your own personal booth and be served your steaming fresh bowl of ramen from behind a semi-concealed kitchen that sits just on the other side of the wall partition.

Our discovery of this specialisation eatery started with a queue. We quickly learned in Japan that any place that has a queue must be a hit among the locals, and therefore must serve top-notch Japanese food. One night walking around the dazzling lights and commotion of Shinjuku we came across a line that snaked all the way up the stairs from the basement level onto the street, and all the people in the line seemed to be locals who were waiting to get in for their dinner. Curiosities overwhelming us, we nonchalantly joined the line, the anticipation of what we were lining up for not yet revealed. But alas, once we reached the bottom of those stairs, it became clear that all the commotion and queuing was for the sake of ramen. And why not? The Japanese take their ramen very seriously.