Sawassdee kha, I’m Fai a marketing executive at STA Travel Thailand and Japan’s number one fan. Believe it or not, I’ve only been to Japan a couple of times (the Kansai region mostly) but Kyoto already feels like my second home.
So why am I addicted to Kyoto? Well for starters, there’s a whole lot of historic sights, a chilled atmosphere and most importantly lip-smackingly delicious food! So, listen up foodies and take note of these six Japanese food and snack havens, recommended by yours truly.
1. Mouthwatering barbeque beef for only 500 yen!
Wander around Fushimi Inari and feast your senses on the mouth-watering smell of barbequed wagyu beef. Grab a stick from a side walk vendor or even a freakin’ tray because it’s only 500 yen a piece! Mmmmm tender.
2. Tofu like you’ve never had before
The iconic winter snack, Yudofu, served up at the Kiyomizu Dera temple is what foodie dreams are made of! Yudofu is a dish made up of tofu from yellow soy beans and a delicious dipping sauce. There are lots of places selling it in the winter season, each one using a different source of soy bean that gives the dish a unique aromatic flavour.
3. The Japanese Pizza of Kyoto
People might be familiar with pizza, but since we’re in Japan let’s try a Kyoto spin on it ‘Okonomiyaki’. Kyoto’s Okonomiyaki has a thin and crispy flour base with chopped leaks for the topping drizzled with a tongue tingling sauce that takes it to a whole new level of YUM. Hop on over to Gion and check out Iseen Yoshoku’s version. You won’t regret it!
4. A Matcha made in heaven
If it’s matcha icecream you’re wanting, you’ve come to the the right place, because Kyoto is the mothership of the stuff. Not far from Kyoto is a little town called Uji where high quality matcha (Japanese green-tea) is made. Try a scoop of the unique blend of matcha and cherry blossom flower, it doesn’t get much more Japanese than that.
5. Japanese sweet rice ball – the ‘Dango’
Around the station of Arashiyama you’ll stumble upon a round Japanese desert called the ‘Dango’ made from a light flour giving it a soft but chewy texture. The dango has different fillings including mashed red beans and green tea to give it a little added sweetness. So trade the builder’s tea and digestive biscuit for a cup of Japanese green tea and pair it with a dango. Now that’s sophistication.
6. A taste of Kyoto to take home
One of the most popular snacks in Kyoto and one to take home in your backpack is the Nama Yatsuhashi. Nama Yatsuhashi is a triangular shaped snack wrapped in a mochi-style dough which comes in different flavours of chocolate, cinnamon, and many more. Let’s see how long these last at the airport.