What to Eat at an Izakaya

Izakaya

The other day I took my chummy out for some Japanese food. There’s a Japanese ‘pub’ – izakaya – in Frankfurt and she’d never really Japanese food that wasn’t sushi before. Most people only think of sushi (and maybe tempura) when they think of Japanese food, so I thought I’d write a guide for what to eat at an izakaya.

These aren’t really pubs like an Irish pub, for example. You sit at long tables, either on the floor on cushions or on chairs, and order lots of little plates of food to share between your group. And of course, there’s beer. HUGE glasses of beer. So, what should one eat?

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This is my favourite – age dashi tofu. ‘Age’ means deep fried, ‘dashi’ is a stock made from fish, and tofu is tofu. It’s deep fried tofu in a sauce, basically. Spoon one block of tofu onto your plate then use your chopsticks to pull it apart by pushing each stick away from each other inside the tofu…if that makes sense.

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Japanese’s answer to KFC – kara age. ‘Kara’ has little meaning…it seems (I just did a search). But here we have the ‘age’ again – deep fried goodness. You won’t find bones in this chicken but it will be very very hot. Should be served with mayo, lemon and salt.

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Sure, you can have some sushi if you like. I don’t ever remember eating sushi at an izakaya in Japan before. though.

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But if you really want some rice, what I really recommend is a yaki-onigiri. ‘Yaki’ means ‘grilled’ and an onigiri is a Japanese rice ball. Usually these won’t have fillings in – you’ll be too busy picking the sticky bits of rice out of your teeth to be able to miss any kind of filling.

There are LOADS of other awesome things you can eat at an Izakaya – if you’ve ever been to one then I’d love to know what you liked the best!

Mangetsu Japanese Restaurant

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There was a time when every other week someone was arranging a trip to Mangetsu but it seems that it’s not really the flavour of the month anymore, and I’d like to bring it back.

Mangetsu is situated up near the messe fair hall and is a short tram ride away from the main station. It’s one of the few places in Frankfurt where you step inside the door and feel like you’ve been transported right to Japan – there’s even Japanese tv showing and a whole bookcase of manga I’m itching to dive into.

The staff can range from quite polite to “wow, she’s pretty rude!” but the food is excellent, and makes up for it. You can find your typical “izakaya” food but I went with some girlfriends for sushi the other week and that was some of the best sushi I’ve had in Frankfurt yet. Above is the “mika getsu” set which was around 15 euros if I remember rightly.

Mangetsu is always my first recommendation when people are asking for real Japanese food in Frankfurt.

You can find Mangetsu at

Varrentrappstr. 57
60486 Frankfurt am Main

 

Review – Sushimoto, Frankfurt

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Before Christmas I met up with the gorgeous Yolande for some yummy Japanese lunch! We went to Sushimoto, which I’d been meaning to go to for a long time since seeing it on the wonderful food blog written by my friend Toshi.

We went on a regular Thursday and it was pretty busy – it wasn’t packed with people, but the staff seemed really rushed. The waitress was pretty rude with us and I wasn’t happy about that, and my chosen lunch (the unagi – eel) wasn’t available to me. Never mind, I chose some mackerel instead.

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The food was really delicious, but as you can see, it didn’t come all at once so I had all the side dishes first and then the fish last.

The pricing of food was mid to high, and so I did expect a little higher level of service. However the food was authentic and tasted as good as if I was in Japan again. The chefs have obviously experienced Japan, but perhaps the waitresses could do with a visit to see how customers should be treated!!

I’d like to give this place another go because it could be that they were busy on that one day.

You can find Sushimoto at -

Konrad-Adenauer-Str.7
Arabella-Passage
Eingang: Gr.Friedberger Str.
(The Westin Grand Frankfurt)
60313 Frankfurt

 

Kamon Sushi

 

While I was clearing out a load of old photos the other day, I found a few on restaurants I went to last year that could do with reviews. This is one of them.

I went to Kamon sushi with a few friends before going to Pinocchio karaoke across the way, about a year ago. It wasn’t a planned trip, but a pretty good experience.

 

There’s a massive conveyor-belt sushi track in the middle of the restaurant, and then some tables round the side. If you go at the right time, you can order sushi and noodles from Kamon, but also other Japanese food from Iimori next door as well.

As you can see, the sushi is pretty expensive… I’d say for taste and size, Sushi Circle is much better.

 

My friends chose the ramen which they said was pretty good. I had a nice wheat free chirashi zushi, which was really good (I should go back again and have it soon…)

There are better Japanese restaurants in Frankfurt, but there are many, many which are worse and more expensive. It’s situation in Willy Brandt Platz makes it pretty easy to get to after a day of shopping and it doesn’t really break the bank.

Find Kamon at Friedensstr. 3, 60311 Frankfurt am Main, nearest station is Willy Brandt Platz

Brunch at Iimori

I’m a huge fan of Iimori, a Japanese cafe and cake shop chain here in Frankfurt. There are a few places in Frankfurt (including Kamon Sushi) as well as a restaurant in France – all owned by the same Japanese lady. She’s a real inspiration for people who want to make something of themselves.

I’ve eaten in the Iimori restaurant (on Dom Romer) a few times and consider it to be the most authentic tasting Japanese food you can get in Frankfurt without breaking the bank. The cafe below that restaurant is my idea of heaven – Japanese drinks and cakes in a cafe surrounded by British antiques and mismatched nicnaks.

I went with the gorgeous Yolande from Craftymemories and another girlfriend for Iimori’s Sunday brunch.

This isn’t Japanese food for westerners – though there is some sushi there. This is a buffet of Japanese food known only to those who have spent a lot of time there – Japanese potato salad, Japan’s take on mabo tofu (a lot sweeter than the Chinese version), cold rice noodle salad… The stuff that you wouldn’t get usually at the bog standard Japanese restaurants.

There are a lot more drinks to choose from downstairs so you might like to do as I did and carry it upstairs with you – this is my azuki red bean milkshake.

The buffet is 18 euros and sadly doesn’t include any drinks. The food is nice though so I guess it’s worth it once in a while. But there are other buffets just as nice for a smaller price.

You can find Iimori’s restaurant at Braubachstraße 24 60311 Frankfurt, near Dom Romer tram stop. Brunch is until 3pm.

The Wonder…. The Wonder of Japanese Food…

One of my favourite things about Japan is the food and drink there. They have an amazing culture where they take pride in their local foods, are interested in different and unusual dishes and are constantly spending money going out to eat. It’s a big business – much bigger than in the UK, where people tend to eat out only on special occasions. Eating out in Japan can often also be much cheaper than buying food from the supermarket and making it yourself.

So, I’d like to dedicate a post to the wonderful things I ate in my week in Japan. I have *SO* many other food photos from the 3 years I lived there, I may have to do these more often.

Speaking of unusual food (… drink), here is some bottled tea that contains the goodness of green vegetables. You can see the things in it on the bottle – broccoli, cabbage, spinach… and there on the top right, goya. I HATE goya. It’s a vegetable from Okinawa in the south, that tastes really bitter. I was interested in this tea, then saw that and refused to even try it. Such is my loathing of goya.

This here is soy milk icecream. My town also does some pretty good tofu icecream, which you really must try if you come across it. You can find some really crazy icecream flavours in Japan.. even wasabi!

Fried stuff. People think that Japanese food is healthy. That if you eat enough sushi, you’ll live forever and be really skinny.

WRONG.

First of all, Japanese people have 3 ways of preparing food – eating it raw (fish, beef, chicken -yes, chicken… that’s a story for another day), pickling it to death or deep frying it. There is SO much deep fried food in Japan. When I had to eat Japanese school dinners (oh, that would make a good post too… hmm, I’m on a roll…) I got SO fat just from all the fried stuff they gave me all the time. Now don’t get me wrong, I loved fried crap as much as the next girl, but it was a real overkill. Before Japan, I didn’t have any opinions on fried stuff. Now, I don’t eat it if I don’t have to. Well, maybe a burger monthly.

Ah, now this is the good stuff. I love these kinds of dishes. Fish done in soy sauce, probably crap loads of sugar with ginger, mirin and all that stuff. The pickled plums are there to keep the “fishy” smell away, apparently.

Sushi AND deep fried stuff!

Again, creative snacks – this is chewing gum with 7 flavours that you can taste in one stick, one after another. Ok, so I could only taste 2 or 3 vaguely fruity flavours. But, they are still trying and that’s what counts.

My karaoke staples. A packet of chocolate covered macadamia nuts, whatever limited edition milk tea flavour is on, and some non-milk drink to wash the milk down with before singing (milk is very bad for singers…)

Fried stuff on sticks at chinatown in Kobe.

Mmm steamy goodness of niku-man. Steamed buns with meat inside.

While to us croquettes are cylindrical potato goodies, to Japanese people they are similar to hash browns, I guess, but with meat or prawns in them too. I really like them (though are in the deep fried stuff category…) The one above is “niku jyaga” flavour.

This one was just a Kobe beef croquette, but I had seen people queuing for hours for them, and went past at a time when the wait was only 5 minutes. So, I had a go. Japanese people were walking by, saying “woah, even foreigners want them!” and I had to stand on the pavement eating it which is taboo in Japan, but it was really good so worth it.

I think that concludes my round up of the food I ate. I have so many photos from when I used to have a Tumblr, so I might do more of these themed photo dumps. It was quite fun to write.